Gruden has high expectations for Meriweather-Clark pairing

After two weeks of trying to make do at the strong safety position, the Washington Redskins get starter Brandon Meriweather back from suspension, and he’ll make his debut on Sunday.

Bacarri Rambo started at strong safety in place of Meriweather, but he struggled mightily in the tackling department. Rambo surrendered a 76-yard touchdown reception in Week 1 and a 63-yard touchdown in Week 2.

But now with Meriweather back in the mix, Coach Jay Gruden believes that the eight-year veteran will help solidify the secondary, giving Washington a talented, versatile, hard-hitting safety duo.

“It’s another guy to communicate, another guy to help handle the defense,” Gruden said of Meriweather. “Ryan Clark has done a great job of holding the fort down. Now you throw another guy out there who knows the defense inside and out and can communicate with the linebackers and the defensive line and they really play well together. You can see that all through training camp. When Ryan and Meriweather are out there together, they really do a great job at communicating and working well. He’s another physical presence to our defense. You throw Ryan Clark out there and Brandon Meriweather out there, two guys that’ll bring the funk so to speak, tackling-wise, it makes a big deal when receivers go across the middle.”

Washington released Rambo on Tuesday to make room for Meriweather. Along with Meriweather and Clark, the Redskins kept backups Trenton Robinson (who replaced Rambo in the second half of Sunday’s game and recorded an interception), Akeem Davis and Duke Ihenacho.

Gruden didn’t offer much of an explanation on the decision to waive Rambo, whom Washington selected in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

“Well, when Brandon came back, we had to release somebody and I think Trenton Robinson has done such a great job on special teams, same with Akeem Davis, that they were going to stick,” Gruden said. “Then, we got [Ihenacho] just now. We had to release a safety and that’s what we chose.”

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