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I always thought Ray Lewis was more style than substance and that he was overrated. Maybe Marvin Lewis was the real reason their team was once good and once won the SB.
Merriman and Lewis are different players anyway. I would put Merriman more in the Pittsburgh mode (Gildon, Porter, Lloyd, Brown). Which is fine by me. It's just ridiculous he lasted to the 12th pick of the draft. It's more an affect of his size, being a "tweener" LB-DL. That is what's so great about the Chargers playing a 3-4. They can get these kinds of pass rushers because they don't have prototypical DE size. Shawn Phillips was the same deal.
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but the defense has been a lot more physical since Merriman has been in the lineup. This clearly was the intent of AJ Smith, who may or may not have had to convince Marty to go along with the idea. Just look back to when Jue was named the starter over Wilson. Jue is much more physical. Even Sammie Davis is hitting people now. It's contagious! Look for more of the same kind of players in the future.