Yesterday saw the return of the prodigal safety Brandon Meriweather to action, as the 2012 free agent acquisition was suiting up for just his 2nd regular season game as a member of the
Washington Redskins. In his first contest last year, he made a memorable impact as he intercepted a bad pass and had 9 tackles, before tearing his ACL in the 2nd half the game. This year Meriweather’s impact was felt again, though this time in a negative way. The end result was the same as he left the game after just 25 snaps due to a self inflicted concussion. With the Redskins opting to keep just three safeties active, the Redskins were short-handed the rest of the day and forced into some poor situations.
While Meriweather’s medical status may not be cleaned up for a couple of days, the Redskins could still be without him even if he passes his concussion test. He had two helmet-to-helmet hits, and was clearly leading with his helmet. On the first onee he knocked out Eddie Lacy and the 2nd time he himself was knocked out so the NFL will definitely be taking looks at these hits. Given that Meriweather has a long track record for these types of hits, and was one of the catalysts in the NFL adopting a more stringent policy, not only should Meriweather expect a fine but a suspension is likely.
Some may point to that being unfair to the Redskins and an excuse for their issues, but that is shortsided. Even if Meriweather had played in both of these games so far, it would have had very little if any impact. Meriweather isn’t as good as Redskins fans want to make him out to be, and we saw the poor tackling, coverage and angles that he takes before he was injured yesterday. Between that and his head hunting, penalty inducing style he’s as much of a liability back there as what the Redskins have been playing on Sundays.
The Redskins need to make a decision about what do do with Meriweather when he returns from injury/suspension, but to me the decision is clear: Cut him. He’s not worth the issues on the field and they can’t trust him to stay healthy.
The Redskins essentially played yesterday’s game down a man do to his style of play. That is unacceptable to force this defense to be short-handed, particularly when you aren’t making much of a positive impact. The Redskins also should send a message to Meriweather that his style of play is unacceptable.
Not only that, but by having him on the team you are giving license to opponents to head hunt right back. Do we really want to see opposing defenses taking cheap shots at RGIII, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon? If Meriweather were to come back and continue to play that way, not only will the Redskins see an increase in flag thrown on them, but you will see other teams respond with cheap shots of their own. Cutting Meriweather could also shake up some things on this defense and let them know that more is expected out of them or they will be shown the door.
In addition to cutting Meriweather the Redskins need to look at moving Jose Gumbs to the practice squad. Back-to-back weeks now the Redskins have gone thin at safety instead of letting Gumbs get a chance to play. I get that he had a nice camp, but he’s pretty much a lock to clear waivers and he can then be assigned to the practice squad. In place of Meriweather and Gumbs I would look to sign two of the following:
Of those I’d probably look to sign Nate Clements and Chris Crocker. They are a pair of former teammates so they will have some familiarity with one another. Also both are veteran players and could come in quickly to help out. Their veteran presence would be a good influence on young guys like Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas as well. There isn’t a magic solution out there at this time so the best the Redskins can do is stop the bleeding as much as possible.