I suppose there certainly could be an argument as to the surprise team early on in the NFL season. On the bad side, you have teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts, but they’ve been decimated by injuries to this point. On the good side, you could probably argue the Detroit Lions, but they certainly appeared closer to a 3-0 start than the Buffalo Bills.
But it’s the Bills who have shocked the nation, particularly with their dramatic comeback against New England on Sunday. They don’t have a ton of big names, and those that are seemed to be figured by many to be nearing the end of their careers. Instead, they’ve assembled a team of guys who look hungry to make it to the postseason.
Shawne Merriman joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros & Money to discuss the hot start, the key to the defense making in-game adjustments, rookie Marcell Dareus, how close he is to where he was when he was dominant in San Diego, facing the Bengals and rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, the Maryland Terps’ jerseys and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Why are you guys off to such a good start?:
“It’s just the type of guys we’ve got in the locker room right now — a bunch of guys walking around confident. We came into this season being overlooked by a lot of teams and we just set out to make a point.”
What’s been the key to the Bills’ defense coming out strong in the second half of games thus far?:
“We’ve got to come out and start fast, there’s no question about that. But one of the key things in this game is being able to adjust to what teams are doing. So far, we’ve been handling that pretty well, coming out in the second half and making some of the corrective things that we made mistakes on and getting it done.”
What have you seen from rookie Marcell Dareus to this point?:
“He’s one of the most mature guys to come into the league ready to play football. One of the first questions he asked me was, ‘What does it take for me to be the Rookie of the Year? What does it take for me to be a dominant player?’ When he asked those kinds of questions, I already knew where his head was and you’ve seen some of the things he’s done for us already.”
Are you healthy and can you produce like you once did in San Diego?:
“I feel good. Over the past two years, I just had some things that was banged up and I just didn’t have the explosiveness that I was looking for and now everything’s just coming back to me again. The numbers are not back where I want to be just yet, but every week, if you watch film and watch the games, I’m being more explosive, more disruptive.”
What do you guys have lined up now going up against rookie quarterback Andy Dalton?:
“Even though he’s a rookie, he’s still been able to complete some very difficult throws and making those throws look easy at times. We understand he’s a rookie, but he can also go out and play. We’ve got to put pressure on him and get him moving around in that pocket a little bit and be disruptive in the backfield.”
You went to Maryland, what was with their uniforms?:
“Well, the unis, it’s a Maryland thing. You’ve got to understand it’s the Maryland flag. You’re not going to be able to understand it too much if you don’t come from that city and the state of Maryland. … Personally, me, I loved them. I think it accomplished exactly what they wanted to accomplish because in the next few days, they were the talk of the country.”
What’s Ryan Fitzpatrick like?:
“We love him because he’s a fighter and he’s a competitor and he goes out each and every week and prepares during the week. … As long as we keep doing that and getting fired up and getting everybody else fired up, we love it.”