It was a decision that was probably not expected by most, but after two preseason games the Bills made the call releasing veteran pass rusher Shawne Merriman.
Merriman was trying to return from offseason Achilles surgery and was a surprise participant in the spring workouts. He claimed his trademark burst had returned, which helped to make him a three-time Pro Bowler earlier in his career.
Unfortunately when the pads went on at training camp Merriman did not put that burst on display in practices or in the Bills' first two preseason games. Moreover, there weren't many times when the defensive end won one-on-one battles in pass rushing situations.
Merriman had one quarterback hit and three tackles in Buffalo's two preseason games.
The writing appeared to be on the wall in last Friday night's game at Minnesota. Merriman, who had been running with the second team defense all summer, did not line up with that unit initially. Mark Anderson and Kyle Moore both got more time with the second group than Merriman, who played with both the second and third string units in the game.
The Bills took a flyer on Merriman two years ago, claiming him off waivers in the middle of the 2010 season. Battling a damaged Achilles, Merriman was injured 15 minutes into his first practice with the club and was placed on injured reserve.
In 2011 Merriman's workload was reduced and brought along slowly last preseason. He appeared in five games registering nine tackles and a sack before his Achilles problems resurfaced and he was again placed on injured reserve.
It was hoped that surgery to repair a frayed Achilles would solve the problem that had plagued him for the last three years, but the Bills coaching staff obviously felt he did not look like the same player.
Moore the beneficiary
With Merriman released it dramatically enhances the chances of DE Kyle Moore to make the 53-man roster. Moore has performed well as a rusher off the edge and has been getting consistent snaps with the second team defense. At 6'6" and 263 pounds, Moore is a long-limbed pass rusher that's adept at keeping the hands of opposing offensive tackles off of him.
The 25-year old is a former fourth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009). He's appeared in 32 NFL games in his career, including four last season with Buffalo.