Brandon Meriweather not going to change headhunting approach

Brandon Meriweather can’t tell you how he’ll operate with the Giants defense and he can’t tell you how long he’ll take to learn coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system.

The longshot savior of the Giants’ battered safety corps can only tell you this: He’s not abandoning the headhunting approach that defined the first eight seasons of his NFL career.

“I think every player you ever ask will say you play your game the way you play your game,” Meriweather said Monday. “Do you play within the rules? Yes. I’m going to play my game the way I play my game, but I’m also going to respect the rules.”

This is what the safety position has come down to for the desperate Giants: On Monday, the club introduced an enforcer-type safety who may not even fit into Spagnuolo’s schemes, a player known almost solely for his penchant for making helmet-to-helmet contact and drawing league fines.

This is the player who was called out by Jets receiver Brandon Marshall, who in 2013 suggested that Meriweather’s style of play was so violent he should be kicked out of the league. Meriweather countered that Marshall, then a Chicago Bear, should be kicked out of the league for beating his wife, although on Monday the safety insisted he held no grudge against Marshall.

“Listen man, that’s in the past,” Meriweather said. “I’m not one of those guys to hold grudges. I forgot about that a long time ago.”

Meriweather is the latest unknown quantity in a safety corps of question marks. He believes his physicality can be a “good” fit in East Rutherford, even as Tom Coughlin pointed out that the veteran must tweak his over-aggressive approach. Coughlin said he plans to speak to Meriweather about his playing style.

“The toughness part you want,” Coughlin said of Meriweather. “The penalties and the issues, you don’t want... He’s competitive, he’s very competitive. And to a certain extent, obviously, we want that. But we don’t want what goes with it, obviously.”

Yet that’s what’s long defined Meriweather, 31, who had few suitors until the Giants came calling Sunday.

Ever since his days at the University of Miami, his abundance of aggression compensated for his lack of size (5-11).

“We used to call him ‘Little B’,” said Giants linebacker Jon Beason, who played with Meriweather in college. “As he transitioned to a starter, his nickname became ‘Killer B’ because he literally would take people’s heads off. That’s the type of guy you want back there in your secondary.”

Meriweather is more than a hitter, too, said Beason.

“He will be coaching one day,” said Beason. “You’ll see a guy who understands what he’s doing.”

Beason added that he believes Meriweather’s approach to the game has changed, and that he’ll be able to play a cleaner, less penalty-filled brand of safety for the Giants.

“Nine years later, he realizes the target (for tackling) has changed,” Beason said. “It’s a violent game, unfortunately. I think Brandon’s learned his lesson.”

The Giants need Meriweather to find a way to fit. Rookie Landon Collins (sprained MCL) is losing valuable practice time to injury, and right now, Jeromy Miles, never a full-time starter in Baltimore, is the veteran in the safety corps.

Somehow, Meriweather must be more than a fine waiting to happen.

“Very aggressive football player, experienced, has started in the NFL,” Spagnuolo said, assessing his new safety. “I think all those things are good attributes. We’ll have to find out where he is with all the other things. He hasn’t been in football for a little bit right now.”

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