Merriman: Rodgers' Vax Status is 'Nobody's Damn Business'

Merriman: Rodgers' Vax Status is 'Nobody's Damn Business'

Former NFL Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman is back to discuss the noteworthy headlines in the NFL, in addition to giving his picks for each Week 10 matchup.

We discuss the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay, whether Phillip Rivers could make a comeback and if there is any cause for concern for the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills after upsets last week.

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Rodgers Shell Game

Gambling.com: The main headline that’s dominated NFL talk has been Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his vaccination status. What is your take on it?

Shawne Merriman: The whole notion that he lied is inaccurate. He did not lie. I also feel that nobody, reporter or anyone, should expose whether you’re vaccinated or not. It’s your privacy. It’s your right to say whatever you want at that standpoint. I'm just more surprised that with everything going on it has received so much attention. Did he mislead? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely he misled people in what he said. But lie? He did not. But I think that most important thing out of that is it's nobody's damn business. If he talked to the NFL and doing whatever with them, that’s the only thing that matters. It’s not my business, the media’s business, it’s no one’s damn business.

GDC: What was your impression of Jordan Love’s performance in his starting debut for the Packers?

SM: I think they need to start being very nice to Aaron Rodgers from this point on. I think that they need to realize and own the fact that they made a mistake, and I think they need to do that publicly. Because what they did was if they embarrass Aaron Rodgers publicly. They didn't do what's in the best benefit of the Green Bay Packers by bringing in a first-round backup quarterback who will probably end up being a backup for the remainder of his career based off what I've seen unless they see something different. I don't have him ever being a star in the NFL.

GDC: How do you think the Packers locker room is handling the situation with Rodgers?

SM: I believe it is always going to make the media a bigger deal than what it is in the locker room. Now, what happens is, is that when cameras get thrown in a player's face, and they have to comment on Aaron Rodgers’ situation, that's when things will explode depending on how guys feel or may not feel about the vaccination process. But truth be told, majority of the players in the NFL got the vaccine.

Beckham Free To Go To Contender

GDC: Where would you like to see wide receiver Odell Beckham sign now that he has cleared waivers?

SM: First of all, Odell has to go to a contender. That's first and foremost. If you bring him into a team that has no shot at playing in a playoff, no shot at winning the championship, you're just going to run into the same problems as the Cleveland Browns ran into right now. Period. So, you'd have to bring him into a place where you have great veteran leadership and another star and quarterback where he can't overshadow the whole campaign or multiple stars on the team, but for sure the quarterback position. The team that I'm thinking about it, I want to throw it out there, I'm saying Seattle Seahawks. (Wide receiver) D.K. Metcalf and Odell would compliment the hell out of each other. They both have big-play ability, but most importantly, they have Russell Wilson throwing to them.

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Taunting Call Fallout

GDC: We saw a controversial taunting call during Monday night’s game between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. What needs to change with the refs and taunting incidents?

SM: First of all, the NFL needs to come down on that ref hard. I don't buy the ref's explanation that he was already throwing the taunting rule and he was running towards the sideline. What the ref did was intentionally stick his body out to the player. And if a player wants to do, he would be fined or suspended. The NFL has to come down and set the precedent that they are not above anything else because you see a lot of this happening with refs because they get away with a lot. And the NFL should do it just like they would do a player: Make an example that we would not have this. We're not gonna tolerate it.

Chargers Back on Track

GDC: We saw your Chargers bounce back against the Philadelphia Eagles. What was your biggest takeaway with them?

SM: That was a team the Chargers should have beaten. That’s pretty much it. But in order to play deep in the playoffs and beat the really good teams, they're going to have to stop the run. That has to be a problem that has to be fixed. They have to stop the run.

Cowboys Concern?

GDC: The Dallas Cowboys had a no-show performance against the Denver Broncos. Any cause for concern there?

SM: That is not a cause for concern because of the division they play in. They’re safe in that division no matter what. I wouldn’t be too concerned with that. The Cowboys just looked like they came out flat and not fully energized. Denver basically did what they wanted to do and the Cowboys seemed completely flat.

What’s Up With Bills?

GDC: Another upset was the Buffalo Bills losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. How shocking was that to see?

SM: It was weird. It was embarrassing, and it was embarrassing for Buffalo. But also too, playing teams like Jacksonville are the scariest teams to play. These guys have nothing to lose. They have everything to gain by going out playing teams like the Buffalo Bills disrupting their season. Those sometimes are the scariest games to play because they will honestly do anything. And you know, look, they didn't blow them out. They didn't do anything that stood out other than playing great defense, and they were just way more physical than the Buffalo Bills were. And to me, it looked almost like the Buffalo Bills looked at the schedule and saw they were playing Jacksonville and thought they were going to come in and walk all over.

Praise for Peterson

GDC: The Tennessee Titans scored the big win at the Los Angeles Rams with Adrian Peterson making his Tennessee debut. How did Tennessee look in its first game without Derrick Henry?

SM: Everybody's talking about Aaron Rodgers and what's going on with that whole thing, but I think there's something was very, very, very, very underrated, and that's Adrian Peterson coming back for his 16th year. Scoring, too, on top of that, so it wasn’t like he was just out there. I think that was a story that’s underrated. The best running back and possibly MVP in the year, goes down to a team and they get Adrian Peterson back there who picks up the load. That to me is incredible.

Stay Safe Out There

GDC: Now that we’re past the halfway point of the year, what are some things you’re going to be looking for in the second half of the season?

SM: Health. This is the point of the year where you guys are banged up. You get mid-season and you're mentally and physically just drained, especially the rookies who had an early start. We're gonna see how they play the second half of the season, because right now, their college season is about to be wrapped up for the year.

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This Week’s NFL Picks

Here are Shawne’s picks for this week’s games. All moneyline odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins

SM: I’m taking the Ravens. If (Baltimore coach) John Harbaugh keeps winning like he’s winning, I believe he should be up for coach of the year. What he's done with the injuries that they've had on that team, is just remarkable. And not only have they lost players, but he lost potentially some of the best positions in the game. Half of the offensive line is depleted. (Cornerback) Marcus Peters was lost at the beginning of the season. (Running back J.K.) Dobbins goes out and he was your workhorse, so for them to even be in a position that they're in right now is just incredible.

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys

SM: Dallas. I have to think they bounce back. There is no way after that Denver loss that they’re going to go and shit the bed again. With Dallas, they have to start fast. Once teams feel like they have the momentum over them, they have a hard time fighting back.

New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

SM: Depends on if the Saints bring on in Phillip Rivers this week. By the way, I think they should. I absolutely think they should bring in Phillip Rivers. If worst comes to worst, it’s a safety blanket for you. You get some experience, and I think he’ll come in and start, but they should absolutely think they should bring Phillip Rivers in. With all that being said, I’m going with the Titans.

GDC: Do you think Phillip would want to come back now?

SM: I know he will. He said it publicly, but him just being around the field. The high school football season is over and he was a coach out there. And I know 100% he’s been throwing the rock around and working out with those kids down there. I know 100% he has.

I expect him to be on somebody’s roster before the season is over.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

SM: Taking the Colts. I think the Jaguars had the Bills’ number, but I don’t expect that to happen week in and week out.

Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots

SM: I’m taking the Patriots. And I also think that controversial play with (new England quarterback) Mac Jones was not a dirty play.

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

SM: I’m taking the Bills. I think they stomp the Jets after having that loss to Jacksonville.

Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers

SM: I’m taking the Steelers. I think the Lions will win two or three games, but it won’t be this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team

SM: Going with Tampa. I don’t know who made Tampa’s schedule, but it is perfect for Tom Brady. To have a bye in the middle of the year is absolutely the best thing that could happen to Brady at this stage of his career.

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals

SM: I’m taking Arizona. There’s no more of a confident feeling knowing that if your star quarterback (Kyler Murray) and star wide receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) goes down, you can still win football games. (Defensive lineman) J.J. Watt goes down and they can still win football games. That is a very confident feeling knowing that you can go out there and get it done without your main guys.

Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers

SM: Taking the Chargers. The only thing that I worry about is (Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook) running against that defense. I feel that Minnesota won’t have a lot of passing yards against them, so I think they’ll do OK. But if adjustments aren’t made this past week after the last game against the run, but it could be a long day with the run game. But regardless, I think if it gets to that point, it’ll be a shoutout and the Chargers will still take it.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers

SM: I’m taking the Packers. Once you’ve done it how Rodgers has done it and for how long he’s done it, coming off a layoff isn’t a concern. There’s no rust factor there.

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders

SM: I’ll take the Raiders. I think that (wide receiver) DeSean Jackson will have some impact in that game. I also think that (Las Vegas defensive ends) Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby are going to get after (Kansas City quarterback) Patrick Mahomes.

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

SM: Rams, and I think the Rams come out firing after how they played this last game.

With (defensive end Von Miller), it’s his health. That’s the No. 1 thing I’m watching with him. But they will put him in position to go out and make plays. It’s not like he has to know the playbook in and out. They’re going to primarily use him as a rusher, so he’s not going to have a lot of responsibility. They’ll take the leash off and tell him to go get the quarterback until he gets acclimated to that playbook.

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