Brandon Meriweather

VIDEO: Brandon Meriweather just obliterates Jordan Matthews

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather: No more fines, just fun

Giants defensive captain Jon Beason is the unit's quarterback on the field, the traffic cop who keeps everything running smoothly. He's the guy the players look to for guidance and leadership.

But where does he turn when he needs to see those things?

"In Brandon we trust," he said. "And I trust."

That would be veteran safety Brandon Meriweather, whom the Giants took a flier on during the summer when they were nearly depleted at the position because of injuries -- and who has rewarded their gamble by becoming one of the most important pieces to the defense. He's started every game, played nearly every snap and made some big tackles as the Giants have compiled a 3-2 record.

When the Giants first signed him, that wasn't the kind of impact people wanted to talk about. The buzz was that the desperate Giants had to stoop down and bring in a washed-up headhunter who had run afoul of the NFL, been fined and suspended multiple times for illegal hits and likely would continue to play his reckless brand of football to the detriment of himself and the team.

That couldn't be further from what has happened. Meriweather has not drawn any penalties, nor has the league had to reach out to him regarding any of his hits.
"Not yet," Meriweather said with a smile. "Let's pray that it doesn't become an issue."

The Giants are happy it hasn't. "As the years go on, the fines get heavier, so he doesn't want to pay the fines," rookie safety Landon Collins said. "It's definitely been a good thing that he's been playing within the rules because then I get to keep him alongside of me and they don't kick him out of the game and stuff like that."
Meriweather said he doesn't feel as if he has changed his play as much as his attitude toward playing.

"I grew up a little bit," he said. "I'm not thinking about it anymore, I'm not harping on it, I'm not trying to prove the league wrong anymore. I'm not doing any of that . . . I'm not the same player I used to be. I'm not out trying to just bring pain to everybody. I'm actually trying to enjoy the game and have fun during the game and get to have fun with my teammates and win."

It's that word, "fun," that Meriweather says over and over when he talks about this team and this season. Maybe it's because he was out of football until the Giants called. Maybe he's been rejuvenated by his teammates and position-mates -- Collins and third-year backup Cooper Taylor, whom he collectively calls "hilarious."
Or maybe he's just found his happy place with the Giants.

"This is a little different than every other team I've been on," Meriweather said.

He's been on a few -- the Patriots, Bears and, for the previous three seasons, Washington. Now he is with the Giants in what might be his last best chance to be a key player for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

"I would prefer to get [a ring] this year," he said. "You never know when it's going to be that chance. You never know when your last play is going to be. If I can get one this year, that'd be great. But you never know."

The Giants have embraced Meriweather not only as a player but as a leader. They've even entrusted one of their most valuable young defensive players -- Collins, a second-round pick last spring -- to his care.

"He's a great role model, a great captain and a great person," Collins said. "He's taught me a lot, especially on the field. Just knowing things off the field and what to do, it's brought me a perspective of how to play the game and how I should be able to read and pick up concepts very quickly."

Because he has played so much football in his career, he also is a valuable resource for the coaching staff.

"I love that guy," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's really smart and he'll come over [to me] all the time. When he first got here, I had to calm him down a little bit. But now that he's got a little comfort level, he's great to bounce things off of. I always believe in checking with guys who actually play the game when you put in something new or you decide to do things a certain way, and he's great that way. He's good for the other players."

That Meriweather experience factor might be heightened Monday night against the Eagles. With Philadelphia's rapid-fire offense, the Giants will need someone at the back of the defense who has seen just about everything an NFL team can possibly run.

"Obviously where your eyes are, how quickly you line up, how quickly you see what you have to see, knowing full well the ball is going to be snapped quickly," Tom Coughlin said of the challenges the Eagles present. "Knowing that a lot of what you're dealing with is an attempt to distract, that's where the veteran part of it helps."
Said Beason, "In the secondary, it's all about communication, signals, getting guys on the same page so then you can go play fast, you can go be special. He's a leader. In my eyes, he's a captain."

That's quite an evolution, from scrap-heap pickup to trusted veteran. But it's nothing like the evolution that Meriweather himself has gone through. The player who once seemed unwilling to adjust to the new, safer rules of the NFL has mellowed. The player who used to call himself "the party-starter" for sparking his team with out-of-control plays is now the chaperone.

Instead of creating chaos, he now contains it. "The most important thing that he's brought to us is he's able to settle things down," Spagnuolo said.
Do it within the rules. And do it with a smile.

"It's just fun," Meriweather said. "It's fun to see the young boy [Collins] evolving, it's fun messing with Coop [Cooper Taylor] every day. It's just fun. I'm having fun with it and I'm going to have fun until it's over."

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather laughs at question about Kirk Cousins

Have you heard the joke about the Washington starting quarterback?

Apparently Brandon Meriweather has, because when he was asked for his impression of Kirk Cousins after being a teammate of his in Washington for three seasons, he laughed. And laughed some more.

"It's just a funny question," he said finally.

It remained an inside joke, with Meriweather not expounding on the humor. At least until one side or the other gets the last chuckle on Thursday night.

"Kirk is a gunslinger," Meriweather eventually said. "He's a good player, an all-around good player. He's smart. He's got a very strong arm. He believes in his arm. He's more athletic than people think he is. Kirk is an all-around good dude."

He's having a good start to the season, too. He's completed 75.9 percent of his passes in two games with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Washington is 1-1.

Of course, Cousins came into an early primetime game last year against the Giants playing just as well and wound up throwing four interceptions. Meriweather laughed at that, too.

"That's a good thing, right?" Meriweather said even though he probably didn't see it as such when it occurred to his team a year ago. "I'm a Giant now."

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather Contract Details

EAST RUTHERFORD ‐ Safety Brandon Meriweather came to the Giants with no strings attached. The veteran wasn't guaranteed a single dollar when he was signed earlier this week. 

Meriweather's deal with the Giants is for one year and the veteran minimum of $870,000 with no guaranteed money, according to a person familiar with the contract. The individual requested anonymity because terms of the deal were not officially disclosed by the team. 

Meriweather, a two-time Pro Bowl safety, did not receive a signing bonus or any guarantees. It's a completely risk-free move for the Giants, who were short on players at the position because of injuries to rookies Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson. 

The deal with Meriweather is considered a "minimum salary benefit" signing. That means even though he would make $870K if he's on the roster for the regular season, he will only count $585K against the salary cap. The "minimum salary benefit" was designed to make low-level veterans more attractive to teams.

Meriweather did receive a split deal that protects him (to some degree) in case of injury. 

The details of the contract show where the Giants stand on Meriweather. He's a wait-and-see proposition who is by no means guaranteed a spot on the roster, despite sprinkling in with the first-team defense after two days. 

Even wide receiver James Jones, signed several weeks back, received some kind of guarantee from the Giants. He pocketed a $30K signing bonus and has another $50K due if he makes the 53-man roster. 

Meriweather simply received an opportunity to impress the Giants, free of charge, for the summer.  

Bookmark and Share

Robert Ayers Jr. says 'enforcer' Brandon Meriweather 'brings a lot to the table'

EAST RUTHERFORD — Brandon Meriweather's reputation as a big hitter that tends to find himself on the wrong side of the rulebook has been fleshed out thoroughly since he signed with the Giants on Sunday. 

So far, all the right things are being said. Meriweather promised to play within the rules on Monday, and Tom Coughlin is going to make sure he has a chat with Meriweather about the issue. And obviously, given this is the era of concussion enlightenment, no one is going to endorse illegal hits.

But at the same time, football is a inherently violent game. And as long as Meriweather's physicality falls within the parameters of legality, it is going to be something the Giants' defense will appreciate and feed off. There is an excitement about adding Meriweather to the team, according to defensive end Robert Ayers Jr.

"He was an enforcer," Ayers told NJ Advance Media. "He's a very good player, and he's going to be a great add for us. He has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge of the game, and he can help bring the young guys along. I think he brings a lot to the table. I'm excited to see him out there doing damage."

Signing Meriweather is an attempt - some will call it a desperate one - by the Giants to bring stability to a position that has seen the opposite so far during training camp. Meriweather is 31, and there are plenty of arguments he is well on the downside of his career, in addition to his history of four fines and two suspensions for illegal hits. He only played in 10 games for the Redskins last season due to injury and suspension.

But Meriweather also has started 68 games in his NFL career, a staggering number given the Giants only had three NFL starts - all by Jeromy Miles - among their safeties before Meriweather arrived. So if the Giants can catch lightning in a bottle with Meriweather, it could be a calculated risk that pays major dividends. 

Ayers said Meriweather's presence will definitely give the Giants' defense a different dimension and edge. 

"He brings a mindset and he packs a punch. Things like that are contagious," Ayers said. "When you see a guy flying around, being aggressive and knocking people's heads off, that's contagious. The competitor in anyone, if you see another guy do that, you want to, too.

"He's definitely going to impact us not only as a player, but as a mindset and a character and a personality, and with his demeanor."

Bookmark and Share

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.”


6 things about Brandon Meriweather, including all his fines and suspensions

EAST RUTHERFORD ‐ With the safety position in flux, the Giants had to dig deep for reinforcements. What they found was a troubled 31-year-old with an extensive disciplinary file.

The Giants signed Brandon Meriweather on Sunday after losing two safeties in their preseason opener. Rookie Mykkele Thompson (Achilles) is out for the season and rookie Landon Collins (knee) is likely out several weeks. \

Meriweather adds a body and experience. And a bit of controversy.

1. Meriweather played four seasons and made two Pro Bowls (2009-10) with the Patriots, but was cut prior to the 2011 season. It was a curious fall from grace.
As ESPN's Mike Reiss explained at the time:

"Meriweather's shaky status on the roster first came to the forefront when he played the entire first half of the preseason opener. He was the only Pro Bowler on the team to do so ..."

There didn't seem to be a reason for his release other than performance. Meriweather spent one season with the Bears and the past three with the Redskins.

2. Meriweather has six career safety-related violations that resulted in fines/suspensions.
-- Fined $50K for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens tight end Todd Heap in 2010
-- Fined $20K after a Week 4 helmet-to-helmet hit on wide receiver Steve Smith in 2011
-- Fined $25K the following week for a late hit against the Detroit Lions
-- Fined $45K for a Week 2 helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers running back Eddie Lacy in 2013
-- Suspended for a game later that season after two illegal hits on Bears wide receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall in a Week 7 contest.
-- Suspended the first two games in 2014 for an illegal preseason hit on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.

3. Probably isn't close with Marshall, who now plays for the Jets. After Marshall suggested that Meriweather be suspended or taken out of the league completely for his dirty play in 2013, Meriweather fired back.

"He feels like I need to be kicked out of the league. I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too," Meriweather said.

"You tell me who you'd rather have?" Meriweather added. "Someone who plays aggressive on the field or someone who beat up their girlfriend?"

4. Holds the University of Miami tackle record for a defensive back with 293. Some pretty good defensive backs (Bennie Blades, Sean Taylor, Antrel Rolle, etc.) played at Miami. 

5. Was involved in a shooting incident and stomped several times on an opposing player on the ground while at the University of Miami. He was suspended for he latter incident. 

6. Responded "I know I am" on Sunday to a question about whether he was still among the NFL's best safeties, according to quotes distributed by the Giants. He sure doesn't lack confidence for a player who was without a job until mid-August. 

Bookmark and Share

How Brandon Meriweather deals with head-hunter rep

He knew it was coming, which is why Brandon Meriweather smiled and nodded his head. The newest Giants player was asked about his reputation as a head-hunter.

“How did I know that was coming up?’’ Meriweather said Monday afternoon before practice. “Can we get them out of the way now, go ahead so we can leave ‘em alone for the rest of the year?’’

Entering his eighth NFL season and joining his fourth team, Meriweather has been suspended twice by the league for illegal hits and has violated the NFL’s rules against hitting defenseless opponents in the head six times, costing him more than $100,000 in fines.

Is he a changed man?

“I think every player you ever ask will say you play your game the way you play your game,’’ Meriweather said. “Do you play within the rules? Yes. When they make new rules, do you have to adjust a little bit? Yes. So I’m gonna play my game the way I play my game, but I’m also going to respect the rules.’’

In two weeks, the Giants face the Jets in their annual preseason meeting, meaning Meriweather will take the field opposite Jets receiver Brandon Marshall. Back in 2013, Marshall suggested Meriweather be thrown out of the league because of his vicious hits.

“Guys like that really don’t understand that there is life after football,” said Marshall, then with the Bears. “I respect the league trying to better our game, and guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely.”

Meriweather, 31, anticipated being asked about Marshall, too.

He laughed.

“Listen, man, that’s in the past,’’ said Meriweather, who was on the Redskins at the time. “I’m not one of those guys to hold grudges. I let things go. That’s in the past. He might be holding a grudge, I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to him. But no, I forgot about that a long time ago.’’

Linebacker Jon Beason played four years with Meriweather at the University of Miami and declared his former Hurricane teammate can make an immediate impact.

“I think every player can make an immediate impact,’’ Meriweather said. “What your impact is is depending on you and depending on the coaching staff and what they expect from you.’’

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather reunites with Jon Beason

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Jon Beason and Brandon Meriweather enjoyed the NFL’s version of a family reunion today at Giants’ training camp.

The linebacker and safety were teammates for four seasons at the University of Miami (2003-06). They share a birthday, Jan. 14. The two players were selected 24th (Meriweather) and 25th in the 2007 NFL Draft.

And now they’ve reunited. The Giants today signed Meriweather, a nine-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler, to shore up the back of their defense, which has been depleted by injuries.

“Once a Cane (Miami Hurricane), always a Cane,” Beason said after practice. “So to me, it’s about putting the band back together. We played all four years together, he was All-American, he was the quarterback of our defense and got everybody lined up. Extremely intelligent player, could be coaching one day. Understands fronts, run fits, coverage, entry angles, how to break on the ball. That’s how you get big hits, taking the proper steps and anticipation. He’s going to help us tremendously, a veteran, another voice back there, and I think it’s going to make our secondary a lot better.”

“That’s my brother,” Meriweather said. “It’s like going to a family reunion. It’s like getting back with your brother. In his and my case, getting back with my little brother.”

Meriweather was the New England Patriots’ first-round draft choice in 2007. Beason was chosen moments later by the Carolina Panthers.

“We had an ongoing bet who was going to go first, and he one-upped me,” Beason said. “It was all good.”

“I beat him, he knows that,” Meriweather said. “I actually thought he was going to go first, but yeah, I beat him.”

Meriweather spent four seasons with the Patriots and has also played for Chicago and Washington. He was a Pro Bowler in 2009-10. So was Beason, who was traded here on Oct. 4, 2013.

Of course, the Giants are far less interested in their friendship than they are in how well Meriweather can play. With Nat Berhe (calf), Landon Collins (knee) and Mykkele Thompson (Achilles tendon, out for the season) sidelined, they need help at safety.

“I’m excited, man,” Meriweather said. “Anytime you can come to a great organization, you’ve always got to be excited and ready to help.

“I’m going to go in and I’m going to put my all into it. I’m going to get with coach every day until I get it the way I knew every other defense.”

Asked if he is still the player who was selected to two Pro Bowls, Meriweather said, “I know I am.”

Meriweather was thrown into the fire in the full-pads practice, taking far more reps than he anticipated.

“They actually threw me in and I didn’t know I was going to get that many reps at all,” he said. “I thought I was going to do some running around, but not that.

“It’s always good to learn on the fly. It’s always good just to learn, just throw them in and let them sink or swim. That’s the way you learn.”

Bookmark and Share

Giants sign two-time Pro Bowl Safety Brandon Meriweather

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today reinforced a secondary that has been thinned by injuries when they signed veteran free agent safety Brandon Meriweather, a former first-round draft choice and two-time Pro Bowler.

To make room on the roster, the Giants waived kicker Chris Boswell.

In addition, rookie safety Mykkele Thompson was placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on Friday night in the preseason opener in Cincinnati. Because Thompson is not a vested veteran, he will continue to count toward the Club’s 90-man roster limit.

The Giants have lost several defensive backs to injuries, including safeties Landon Collins (knee, day to day), Nat Berhe (calf, day to day) and Thompson. In addition, four cornerbacks are currently on the shelf: Prince Amukamara (groin, day to day), Trumaine McBride (hamstring, day to day), Chykie Brown (knee, week to week) and Jayron Hosley (concussion protocol).

Meriweather, 5-11 and 204 pounds, has played in 99 regular-season games with 68 starts. His career totals include 402 tackles (277 solo), 15 interceptions, 6.0 sacks, nine passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.

In 2014, he started all 10 games in which he played for Washington. He finished with 53 tackles (34 solo), a career-high 3.0 sacks, 4 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Meriweather, 31, was a teammate of Jon Beason’s at the University of Miami. The New England Patriots selected him with the 24th pick in the first round in 2007; Beason went 25th to the Carolina Panthers. In his four seasons with the Patriots, Meriweather played in all 64 regular-season games with 40 starts, and in five postseason games with three starts.

Bookmark and Share

Five things you need to know about Brandon Meriweather

1. Heading into his ninth NFL season, safety Brandon Meriweather comes to the Giants after playing his first four years in New England (2007-10), one in Chicago (2011) and, most recently, three with Washington (2012-14). In 99 career games (68 starts), Meriweather recorded 424 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 15 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), nine forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

2. Originally a first-round selection by New England in 2007, Meriweather made back-to-back Pro Bowls with the Patriots in 2009 and 2010, a span in which he had 151 tackles and eight interceptions.

3. Meriweather made his first career start in Super Bowl XLII against the Giants, lining up as the Patriots’ nickel cornerback. Overall, he has played in five postseason games with three starts, recording 10 tackles and a pass defensed.

4. Last season with Washington, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound veteran started all 10 games that he played before being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 19 with a toe injury. Despite missing the final quarter of the 2014 season, Meriweather notched career highs in sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (three).

5. A native of Apopka, Fla., Meriweather played at the University of Miami, where he holds the Hurricanes record for tackles by a defensive back with 293. His 182 solo tackles broke the Miami all-time record for safeties that was held by Bennie Blades (155), and his 77 solo tackles in 2005 broke the old Miami season-record for safeties that was first set by Daryl Reeh (68). Meriweather also became the first defensive back to ever lead the Hurricanes in tackles in a season (115 in 2005).

Bookmark and Share

proCane Free Agent Signing Roundup

A lot has happened in the last 48 hours in the NFL as far as Free Agent signings and our proCanes have been at the center of it all with several proCane stars joining new teams. See a recap of all the action below:

Former 49ers RB Frank Gore signed a 3-year $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Former Texans WR Andre Johnson signed a 3-year $21 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

TE Jimmy Graham was traded from the New Orleans Saints to Seattle Seahawks.

Former Giants S Antrel Rolle signed a 3-year $11.25 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

Former Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson signed a 1-year $1 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

OT Eric Winston re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Former Broncos OL Orlando Franklin signed a 5-year $36 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.

OT Jason Fox re-signed with the Miami Dolphins.

MLB Jon Beason re-signed with the NY Giants.

Notable proCane Free Agents still available: Chris Myers, Brandon Meriweather, Santana Moss, Colin McCarthy, Reggie Wayne, Vince Wilfork, DJ Williams, Darryl Sharpton.

Bookmark and Share

Washington Redskins Do Not Plan to Re-Sign Brandon Meriweather

The search for players to play safety for the Washington Redskins continues into 2015. Dianna Russini of NBC Washington is reporting that Redskins sources have informed her that they do not plan on bringing strong safety Brandon Meriweather back next season.  This follows the news from a week ago that free safety Ryan Clark was retiring from the NFL, and moving on to a job with ESPN.  Meriweather has been with the Redskins since 2012, but has been injured and suspended often.  He started last year suspended for two games for a hit in the preseason, and ended the year on IR for a toe injury.  His best game of the year came against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8 when he had 7 tackles, 2 sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.  But he has been inconsistent throughout his career and takes too many penalties.

This leaves the Redskins without both of their starting safeties from last year, and they have very little playing/starting experience on the roster with Phillip Thomas, Trenton Robinson, and Akeem Davis.  Safety continues to be a problem for the Redskins, and they seemed to be devalued in Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett's defense.  Haslett wanted safeties who could be interchangeable, and wanted a strong pass rush to cover the deficiencies in the secondary.  That pass rush wasn't strong enough last season, and the secondary was routinely abused, allowing the most TDs in the NFL, and allowing opposing QBs to have one of the highest QBRs in league history.

Jim Haslett is gone, and Defensive Backs coach Raheem Morris has moved on to Atlanta.  The Redskins hired former Chargers LB coach Joe Barry as the new DC, and hired former New York Giants DC Perry Fewell as the new secondary coach.  The Redskins will need to use free agency and/or the draft to restock the safety position.  Will Fewell lobby to get his former safety Antrell Rolle in free agency.  Rolle is close to Fewell and recently said he would follow him after he was fired, but also said he wants to remain a Giant.  Will the Redskins trade back and take Landon Collins in the first round, or address the position later in the draft like GM Scot McCloughan has done in the past.

Bookmark and Share

Is Meriweather a risk Washington can afford?

Many were surprised when Washington re-signed strong safety Brandon Meriweather to a one-year deal following the 2013 season.

Jim Haslett’s defense desperately needed an upgrade at safety. But after Washington’s front office concluded the long-term solution wasn’t available on the free-agent market, the team brought Meriweather back on a one-year deal that suggested he was a stop-gap measure for 2014 — a hedge against the possibility that Phillip Thomas wouldn’t be ready for starting duty after missing his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury.

It wasn’t bad thinking. Meriweather proved more durable than Thomas, who struggled with injury throughout, and more capable than Bacarri Rambo, the other backup in line to challenge for his job, finishing with 55 tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

But for the third consecutive year in Washington, Meriweather failed to log a full season for familiar reasons. He missed the first two games because he’d been suspended by the NFL for an illegal hit on Baltimore’s Torrey Smith during Washington’s loss in its third preseason game. And he missed the last four with a sprained big toe, finishing the year on injured reserve.

Heading into his ninth NFL season, Meriweather is a free agent once again. And for several reasons — some familiar, others new — it’s difficult to picture Washington bringing back the secondary’s aggressive, hard-hitter once more.

Here’s why:
• Meriweather hasn’t managed to play a full NFL season since 2010 because of various rules infractions and ailments. He missed all but one game of the 2012 season, his first in Washington, with knee injuries. In 2013 he was slapped with a two-game suspension for illegal hits against Chicago but managed to get it reduced to a one-game ban.

• Washington’s short-term solution at safety in 2014 — re-signing Meriweather and adding veteran Ryan Clark — merely forestalled a problem rather than fixed it. Though Clark provided leadership and stability on a defensive backfield that needed it, the unit gave up far too many big plays, whether because of missed assignments or a lack of speed. With Meriweather and Clark now 31 and 35, respectively, Washington probably needs two new starting safeties.

• A new defensive coaching staff is in charge, with Haslett replaced by former San Diego Chargers linebackers coach Joe Barry. Gone too is defensive backs coach Raheem Morris. So continuity among personnel isn’t necessarily a virtue as Barry goes about re-making a defense that gave up 27.4 points per game (tied for 29th in the NFL) and 357 yards per game (20th). Moreover, Washington’s new general manager, Scot McCloughan, has a record of favoring big, rangy defensive backs; Meriweather is 5-11, 197. McCloughan also prefers developing young players through the draft.

• Finally, while aggression is essential for safeties, Meriweather’s unchecked zeal has earned him a reputation as a dirty player. With the NFL cracking down on contact by defensive backs, Meriweather vowed last fall to lower his strike zone and lead with his shoulder rather than the crown of his helmet. But amid the explosiveness of live games, checking a reflex is difficult to do. Meriweather’s helmet-to-helmet hit on Smith during the preseason resulted in his sixth infraction for an illegal hit in his pro career.

Given his history, Meriweather has lost any benefit of the doubt among NFL officials. That was evident when the NFL denied his appeal of the two-game suspension to start the 2014 season, standing firm rather than reducing it.

The suspension cost Meriweather dearly. His forfeited checks for missing the Sept. 7 season opener at Houston and Sept. 14 home opener against Jacksonville totaled $100,588.

But the suspension cost the Redskins dearly, as well.

Rambo filled in for Meriweather and gave up a 76-yard touchdown in the loss at Houston and took a bad angle that led to a 69-score against Jacksonville. Rambo was waived once Meriweather was cleared to play.

Although Meriweather’s services could likely be had for a reasonable price, that price is likely too high for Washington’s new decision-makers. A struggling defense in need of a new culture and greater discipline and physicality can’t afford the risk Meriweather represents.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather Celebrates Birthday With Redskins Cake

Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather knows how to throw a party — just check out the birthday invitation above.

While Meriweather’s birthday is Jan. 14., he decided to wait a day later to celebrate in preparation for the weekend.

The party included a nicely decorated burgundy and gold Redskins cake –featuring his number and some action shots– and allowed Meriweather to enjoy time with some family members.

Spending time with relatives seems to be a theme for him this offseason, as he’s often sharing numerous photos of his daughter, nephew and niece at home and at the basketball gym.

Happy bday to me. Something to keep me sweet lol. Cake made by @pro_cakes

A photo posted by meriweather31 (@meriweather31) on

Bookmark and Share


Washington puts Brandon Meriweather on IR

Brandon Meriweather has been dealing with a toe injury that’s kept him inactive the last three weeks, and now it’s going to keep him out for the year.

Washingnton announced that the veteran safety was being placed on injured reserve.

They filled his roster spot with linebacker Steve Beauharnais, promoting him from the practice squad.

Meriweather’s about to turn 31, and will be a free agent this offseason, and the toe injury won’t help his market.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather has setback after testing out toe

Strong safety Brandon Meriweather was unable to practice in any capacity on Thursday, the day after testing out his injured big toe on Wednesday, and appears unlikely to play Saturday when the Eagles visit FedEx Field.

Meriweather took part in a limited number of position drills on Wednesday, but had a setback, coach Jay Gruden said.

Meriweather on Thursday revealed that he had an MRI exam on the toe the previous afternoon, but said that he didn’t know what results those tests turned up.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather Misses Another Practice

Meriweather didn't take part in practice Thursday.

Meriweather is on track to miss a second consecutive game due to a sprained toe. If he remains sidelined, Phillip Thomas would be the likely beneficiary after racking up 10 tackles (six solo) in the last two contests.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather’s status ‘not looking good’

Safety Brandon Meriweather’s availability for Sunday’s game is also in doubt. The safety sprained his big toe and is “probably going to be questionable for a little while,” according to Gruden.

“We don’t know his status yet, but it’s not looking good,” Gruden said.

Meriweather said x-rays on the toe came back negative. However, he did not remember when the injury occurred and its extent was not explained to him.

“To be honest, I have no idea,” Meriweather said. “They actually didn’t tell me anything except I need to put it in the cold tub.”

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather Sets Redskins Record

Gruden was asked about only the two cornerbacks, he threw in some appreciation for his strong safety as well.

“The guy who really didn’t get a lot of love was [Brandon] Meriweather,” he said. "He had probably his best game since I’ve been here. He had tackles. He had sacks. He had fumbles, fumble recoveries, forced fumble, he was all over the place so it was great to see him show up in a big way the way he did.”

Meriweather became the first Redskins defensive player to record two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery in one game. 

Meriweather finished with seven tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather evaluated for concussion

Washington safety Brandon Meriweather has left today’s game at Arizona to be evaluated for a concussion.

Meriweather tackled Cardinals tight end John Carlson on the first play of the game and was shaken up. He walked off the field slowly and went to the locker room.

Meriweather has a history of concussions and also has a history of giving other players concussions, and he’s been suspended for violating the league’s rules on helmet-to-helmet contact. But his hit on Carlson was low and not illegal.

After serving a two-game suspension to start the season, Meriweather has started the last four games.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m. ET: The team announced that Meriweather was cleared to return

Bookmark and Share

Gruden wants reinstated Brandon Meriweather to 'bring the funk'

Maybe they’re not Batman and Robin or any other dynamic duo you can think of. After all, Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather haven’t yet lined up on the field together for a regular season game. But now that Meriweather has served his two-game suspension for repeated violations of the NFL’s safety rules, Redskins coach Jay Gruden is excited to get both of his team’s starting safeties onto the field.

“It’s another guy to communicate, another guy to help handle the defense,” said Gruden. “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.”

And Gruden likes more than the communication aspect of the two safeties playing together. He likes the fact that the middle of the field might be a very inhospitable place for opposing receivers.

“[Meriweather is] another physical presence to our defense,” said Gruden. “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.”

If Clark and Meriweather do indeed “bring the funk” when they tackle the defense will have a dimension it hasn’t had in quite some time. As long as both safeties stay with the NFL’s safety rules it could be fun to watch.  

Bookmark and Share

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.”

Bookmark and Share

After two game ban, Brandon Meriweather returns to Redskins Park

Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather returned to Redskins Park on Monday after serving a two-game suspension for a helmet to helmet hit.

The suspension was the second in two years for Meriweather, who took responsibility for the illegal blow and said he’ll continue to work on giving the “NFL what they want” when it comes to hits.

“Very, very hard,” Meriweather said, asked how hard it was to sit out the Redskins’ first two games. “Especially seeing them guys out there that I went to war with all of camp, to see them out there without me, it was heartbreaking. I’m just happy to be back. It’s a blessing to just to be in this locker room again.”

It’s unclear if Meriweather will immediately return but given the team’s inconsistent play at safety while he was suspended--his replacement, Bacarri Rambo, saw his playing time cut significantly on Sunday--it would seem likely that he’ll line up next to fellow safety Ryan Clark when the Redskins visit the Eagles on Sunday.

And, assuming that he does, Meriweather says he’ll continue to try to lower his target.

“I think I changed,” he said. “I just have to do it a little more. I can’t give it a chance where it could be even close. I have to go even lower.”

Meriweather added: “Don’t make no excuses. Give the NFL what they want and do my job.”

Meriweather also seemed to realize that after two bans and numerous fines for high hits, he could be running out of chances.

“I have no choice but to consciously tell myself to do it now,” he said of avoiding helmet-to-helmet strikes. “It’s nothing I’m willing to chance. I’m not trying to get kicked out of the league just to hit somebody hard. It’s something I have to do.”

The ninth-year pro was suspended for a hit on the Ravens’ Torrey Smith in the third preseason game.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather loses appeal of suspension

Washington safety Brandon Meriweather is officially suspended for the first two games of the regular season.

Meriweather, who was suspended for his sixth violation of the rules against hitting defenseless opponents in the head, has lost his appeal of that suspension.

The appeal was heard by Ted Cottrell, who is hired jointly by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. Cottrell was an NFL linebacker and had a long career as a defensive coach, so he’s not opposed to tough, physical defensive football. In fact, Cottrell reduced another suspension for Meriweather last year, from two games to one. But Meriweather has crossed the line too many times.

Meriweather will be eligible to re-join Washington for Week Three.

Bookmark and Share

Troy Vincent explains Redskins’ Brandon Meriweather’s suspension

In the course of strongly defending suspended teammate Brandon Meriweather this week, Washington safety Ryan Clark also took a jab at Troy Vincent, the longtime defensive back who’s now the NFL executive vice president of football operations.

“It’s tough,” Clark said, via “You get a guy who played ball, even though I think Troy Vincent played it softly, he didn’t play as aggressive and violent as Brandon. Maybe that’s part of it, not having that mind-set. It’s just sad.”

Is it smart to take a personal shot at the guy responsible for judging future Redskins hits? That’s for wiser minds to decide. Regardless, Vincent — who spent the last year of his career playing for Washington — went on NFL Network on Tuesday to explain his Meriweather decision. And he was asked if it’s hard for him, as a former defensive back, to come down on defensive backs.

“It’s not difficult for me,” Vincent said. “I believe that I have the [wherewithal], the professionalism and the athleticism at the time — a good understanding, a practical understanding of what it takes to play the position. And again, I’m going back to 2009 in Brandon’s situation — and just looking at the progression, what we’ve seen, there has been no altering in his play, his style of play.

“And frankly, some of the acts are impermissible: the helmet-to-helmet blows, hitting in that head, that shoulder and neck area, are impermissible,” Vincent said. “We want to remove that from the game, and we want to protect Brandon himself, and we want to protect his opponents from unnecessary risks.”

In explaining how the decision was made, Vincent said that officials viewed footage of Meriweather both from this month and from the past.

“Brandon has been someone that has been in this particular [situation] multiple times,” Vincent said. “We’ve just cited the four or five most recent. But in this particular case, Brandon hit a player in that area that we consider a very sensitive area, which is that head and neck area. So we went back from 2009 to current, and this is technique that we want to remove from the game.”

Bookmark and Share

Torrey Smith didn’t think Brandon Meriweather should have been suspended

Brandon Meriweather’s teammates were displeased with Monday night’s news that the Redskins’ safety would be suspended for his hit on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith on Saturday. That’s not surprising.

More surprising, perhaps, was that Smith also said he wouldn’t have suspended Meriweather.

“No need I’m straight,” Smith wrote on Twitter in response to the news. “Buttt since it was illegal he can donate to my foundation haha.”

Later, Smith expanded on his thoughts, writing that he wouldn’t have suspended Meriweather if he were in charge.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather suspended two games for helmet hit

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather will miss the first two games of the regular season after being suspended by the NFL on Monday for a helmet-to-helmet hit he made against the Ravens on Saturday.

According to the league, Meriweather's hit on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was his 'sixth violation of unnecessary roughness rules relating to hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet.'

The two-game ban marks the second straight season that Meriweather has been suspended for a hit. The Redskins safety was also suspended one game in 2013. Last season's suspension was originally a two-game ban, but Meriweather got it reduced to one game.

As for this season, should Meriweather have been suspended? You can judge for yourself below (via @CJZero).

Forget about the suspension for a second though because after the game, Meriweather said he didn't even think he should have been flagged. The Redskins safety was asked directly if he thought he should have been penalized.

"No, I don't," Meriweather said. "But at the same time, I'm not the one who wrote the book on penalties. I tried to aim at his numbers. I kind of seen the pass go, and I went in and aimed low, and I hit him with my shoulder. I did everything my coaches taught me to do, and I got the flag."


Redskins teammate DeAngelo Hall doesn't think Meriweather did enough to warrant a suspension.

Fair is Fair. I can't speak on @BMeriweather31 past hits but from what I saw that hit was not malicious. @nfl please review your decision
— DeAngelo Hall (@DeAngeloHall23) August 25, 2014

As things stand, Meriweather is eligible to play in Washington's final preseason game, he's also allowed to practice with the team from now until the preseason's over. The 30-year-old's suspension will begin on Sept. 1 and Meriweather will be eligible to return to the Redskins' active roster on Sept. 15.

Under terms of the CBA, Meriweather has three days to appeal the suspension.

Bookmark and Share

Another suspension could be coming for Meriweather

Washington coach Jay Gruden has said he’ll yank safety Brandon Meriweather from practice if he hits teammates too high.  When it comes to opponents, the league office will now decide whether Meriweather will be removed from play.

After Saturday night’s penalty for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, some league insiders believe Meriweather will face another suspension.  One league source predicted that Meriweather will get a multi-game ban.

“I tried to aim at his numbers,” Meriweather said after the game, via John Keim of  “I kind of seen the pass go, and I went in and aimed low, and I hit him with my shoulder. I did everything my coaches taught me to do, and I got the flag.”

Whether he gets a fine or worse will be determined by the league office, subject to appeal.  Given the NFL’s system of progressive discipline, Meriweather’s one-game suspension in 2013 makes him susceptible to a multi-game suspension in 2014.

“I don’t know,” Meriweather said regarding whether further discipline is coming.  “That’s not for me to judge. That’s for the NFL. . . .  I’m trying to do what the NFL asked me after going through the offseason, and working on the things I need to work on, and the first chance I get, it seems like I failed.”

Last year, Ted Cottrell reduced Meriweather’s two-game suspension to one game via the appeal process.  Meriweather could soon by relying once again on Cottrell or Derrick Brooks imposing something less than what the league office initially does.

Meriweather has an extensive history of illegal hits against receivers, including a helmet-to-helmet hit on former Ravens tight end Todd Heap on October 17, 2010, a day that included a trio of helmet-to-helmet hits throughout the league in real time, prompting the NFL to enforce the rules regarding hits against defenseless pass-catchers more aggressively.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather Honors Michael Brown

The Washington Redskins played against the Browns on Monday night football and that game saw the defensive backs for the team pay remembrance and support for Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri, as Brandon Meriweather and his group of players came out pregame through the tunnel with their hands up at FedEx Field.

According to USA Today and CBS, Meriweather organized the move and not the team (Dan Snyder and the Redskins have enough on their plate) and along with his defensive backs, the players raised their hands, which is a rallying move that has been going on in Ferguson after Brown allegedly had his hands up when he was murdered in the street by a white police officer.

Meriweather said after the game that it was the players' idea and that he wanted to show "support" about what is going on.

"We just want to show our supporters what's going on in St. Louis," Meriweather said. "We just wanted to show support."

"That could have been any one of us," said free safety Ryan Clark. "That could have been any one of our brothers, our cousins... When you get an opportunity to make a statement, and be more than a football player, it's good."

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather sits out

Linebacker Darryl Sharpton (high ankle sprain) was also sidelined, as was Brandon Meriweather, who was nursing a minor toe injury.

“He hurt his toe,” Gruden said of his starting strong safety. “Got a little blood underneath his toenail, limping around a little bit. But he should be okay.”

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather: ‘This is Work, Man. I’m a Professional’

RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC) — If the uniform fazed Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, he would not let on.

A first-round draft pick and two-time Pro Bowler while with the New England Patriots, Meriweather was cut by the club in 2011. Monday, he saw old friends when New England arrived in Richmond for three days of joint practices with Washington. “This is work, man. I’m a professional,” Meriweather said. “But it’s just another team. I’m a Washington Redskin now and that’s all that matters.”

That didn’t stop him from jawing with former teammate Tom Brady as the Patriots quarterback efficiently moved his team downfield during 11-on-11 work. That’s just Meriweather’s personality.

“Yes! Every day, man,” Meriweather said. “I talk junk to my own teammates, you don’t think I’m gonna talk junk to everybody else?”

Another former teammate, Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, just chuckled when told Meriweather’s comments.

“Some people run their mouth, some people just play,” Wilfork said. “He do both. You just have to know what you’re dealing with when you’re dealing with Brandon.”

But at 30 now, this is a serious season for Meriweather. He is on a one-year contract. Last year he spent the majority of his time at free safety, a  position he’d played before, but didn’t always seem comfortable in. This year, with veteran Ryan Clark added at that spot, Meriweather can stay exclusively a strong safety. That means more time helping stop the run, more chances to blitz and cause havoc.

“I never was in the box last year. At all. I was always deep middle,” Meriweather said. “This year it’ll be a lot more fun because now I get to do a little bit of both. You can’t pinpoint and tell us where I’m gonna be at every play so it’s gonna be fun….It wasn’t uncomfortable. It was just hard for me to get into the game plan because I’m always deep. I’m never blitzing. I wasn’t never doing anything.”

He’s exaggerating some there. Meriweather saw time at both safety spots, though not as much as he wanted. But to play that new role full time he has to keep himself on the field. There was much talk last week about the NFL’s crackdown on illegal contact by defensive back. But the league has already tried to punish repeat offenders for illegal hits to the head.

Meriweather earned a one-game suspension last season for a pair of Oct. 20 hits on Chicago wide receivers. He’d been fined earlier in the season $42,000 for an illegal hit that knocked Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy from a game on Sept. 15. “Brandon, he plays a very physical style of football. That’s all he knows. But there is a rule now, obviously, and he’s had to pay the price for it,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “And he understands the next one is going to be a longer suspension.”

Gruden told Meriweather early in camp that he’d get a two-practice suspension if he doesn’t find a way to lower his target when hitting opponents.

“[Meriweather is] tough, he’s physical, he wants to do the right thing, but sometimes at that position the ball is in the air, he’s trying to knock the ball out and sometimes they unfortunately make contact head-to-head and it’s not intentional,” Gruden said. “I don’t think he has the intent to injure people. I think he has the intent to get the player down and get the ball out. Sometimes those instances look worse than they are, but he does have to really watch his area of target and hopefully we will keep him on the field for 16 weeks because he is much needed in the secondary.”

Meriweather credited new teammate Ryan Clark, a veteran safety, for showing him new ways to approach the game. Everything from diet to how he watches film to how he carries himself in meetings.  But one thing Clark did not address was Meriweather’s style of play.

“I tell Brandon to keep playing, we’re going to try and save him some money,” Clark said. “I’m going to try to talk him out of as many fines as I can this year, but I don’t want him to change his game. I want him to lower his strike zone the best he can because that’s the rule. But other than that, man, just keep playing football.”

It remains to be seen if Meriweather can do that. His track record in that area isn’t good and the NFL is vigilant about fining and suspending repeat offenders. But he can still play. And with Clark along side him and promising, healthy Phillip Thomas ready to step into a reserve role, the Redskins feel far more comfortable at safety than they did at any point last season. Meriweather, back at a more natural spot on the field, is a big part of that.

“I feel great. But, for me, it’s me getting better every day,” Meriweather said. “I’m not trying to worry about the one-year deal. I’m not worried about the deal. I’m not worried about anything. I’m just worried about me getting better every day.”

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather, fan interrupt Clark's press conference for autograph turned tattoo

Ryan Clark started off his press conference on Sunday morning joking about how he's done too much media and wondered why people still wanted to hear him talk. So, Brandon Meriweather interrupted his press conference to agree.

"We need you to stop being such a media guy, and start being Ryan Clark the football player," Meriweather said.

To get his point across, Meriweather joked that a fan wanted to get his name tattooed after already having a few others, but would settle for an autograph. 
Clark made it clear that it wasn't special though if he already other players names tattooed on him.

"Imagine if I had like six tattoos of women's names on me, and then asked my wife once we got married if I could her name," Clark said going down an interesting path, "Is that going to be special to her? No." 

Brandon Meriweather wouldn't settle for that."Don't be Ryan Clark, be a Redskin. Be a part of the team," Meriweather joked. 

Clark, being the great sport that he is, signed the fans arm right in the middle of his press conference before announcing that he would take over Brandon Meriweather's press conferences in the future.

Ah, training camp hijinks. 

UPDATE: The fan went and got the autograph turned into a tattoo.

Bookmark and Share

Jay Gruden warns Brandon Meriweather not to hit high in practice

Washington safety Brandon Meriweather was suspended for a game last year for helmet-to-helmet hits. Washington coach Jay Gruden is warning Meriweather that the same offense will get him suspended from practice as well.

“Brandon, he plays a very physical style of football,” Gruden said. “That’s all he knows. But there is a rule now obviously and he’s had to pay the price for it. And he understands the next one is going to be a longer suspension. We talked about that today, actually. I told him he is going to get a two-practice suspension if he doesn’t lower his target.”

Gruden expects Meriweather to be a big part of Washington’s defense, but only if he can remember to avoid helmet-to-helmet hits.

“He’s a good football player,” Gruden said. “He’s tough, he’s physical, he wants to do the right thing but sometimes at that position though and the ball is in the air, he’s trying to knock the ball out and sometimes they unfortunately make contact head-to-head and it’s not intentional. I don’t think he has the intent to injure people. I think he has the intent to get the player down and get the ball out. Sometimes those instances look worse than they are but he does have to really watch his area of target and hopefully we will keep him on the field for 16 weeks because he is much needed in the secondary.”

The NFL doesn’t take kindly to repeat offenders, and if Meriweather hits another opponent high in a game, he’s likely looking at a multiple-game suspension. Gruden is hoping to break Meriweather of the habit permanently.

Bookmark and Share

Both proCane Redskins' thirtysomethings must produce

They’re hardly a new Over the Hill Gang, but they do have a lot of thirtysomethings on their roster. Which can be viewed in multiple ways: A) They didn’t get younger after a season in which they went 3-13 and needed to rebuild, at least defensively; B) A lot of teams ahead of them in this ranking are quite successful; with age comes experience and savvy.

September will be when we’ll start to see which way the Redskins go. But, for now, we’ll just take a look at their players who are at least 30 years old. Washington is tied for eighth in the NFL with nine such players, according to ESPN's Field Yates. Oakland leads the way with 13, and you never want to be in Oakland’s company, but among the other teams ahead of Washington: San Francisco (12), New Orleans (11) and San Diego (10). All made the postseason. Arizona (10) went 10-6; Chicago (12) and Pittsburgh (10) both went 8-8.

But at the other end: Super Bowl champion Seattle has three such players while AFC champion Denver has six.

So what does it mean? Your players over 30 had better produce. Seven of their nine thirtysomethings play defense; four play along the line. Is it good that a defense coming off a tough season has that many older players? The Redskins appear to have taken a win-now approach with the hope of finding young guys in the draft to groom. That’s fine, but it had better work, otherwise they’ll just be old and slow.

Another note: The Redskins have four players who are 29 (three on offense, all linemen). Their offensive nucleus is young and can help now and in the future. But elsewhere the roster will be in transition for a couple years.

Anyway, here’s the Redskins' thirtysomethings:

WR Santana Moss (34): He’s not a lock to make the roster and if he does it’ll be as a backup, barring injuries. If Leonard Hankerson is healthy Moss would have to be sixth on the list at receiver (also behind Aldrick Robinson). At this point Moss is insurance.

S Brandon Meriweather (30): Signed back on a one-year deal. With Clark here, he’ll be able to play more in the box, where he’s best suited. But he needs to improve his consistency with tackling and positioning. Maybe a year further removed from knee surgery will help, too. But his troubles didn't all stem from being slow or late. Had Phillip Thomas not been hurt last summer, Meriweather might not have returned. But he was hurt, so the alternative was to re-sign Meriweather or find another player in free agency. They did not view the non-expensive options as better. As for Thomas, Lisfranc injuries can be tricky, so it’s tough to know how he'll look this summer.

See the rest of the 30 somethings here.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather, Redskins reach contract

The Washington Redskins have added a few veterans on defense, but the secondary is still riddled with the same question marks as it was last season.

The Redskins have agreed to bring back strong safety Brandon Meriweather on a one-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Meriweather, 30, started 13 games in an overmatched defensive backfield last season, totaling 69 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. After gaining a reputation as a head hunter, he had a two-game suspension reduced to one.

Although he fills a much-needed enforcer role in Jim Haslett's defense, Meriweather has long been inconsistent in coverage.

The veteran will have to hold off 2013 fourth-round draft pick Phillip Thomas, who missed all of last season with a Lisfranc injury.

Bringing back Meriweather shouldn't preclude the Redskins from also signing former Steelers free safety Ryan Clark, who reportedly has engaged in contract talks with the team.

Whether or not the Redskins add a declining Clark to the mix, safety will once again be a weak spot for Haslett's unit.

Bookmark and Share

Redskins could bring back Brandon Meriweather

BrandonMeriweatherRedskins's John Keim "wouldn’t be surprised" if the Redskins re-signed SS Brandon Meriweather.
Per Keim, the Redskins don't view any of the current free-agent safeties as better than Meriweather and could bring him back as a veteran to compete with second-year SS Phillip Thomas. Washington also hasn't ruled out re-signing Reed Doughty to provide depth.

Bookmark and Share

Skins not showing interest in S Brandon Meriweather

ESPN Redskins reporter John Keim reports the team hasn't shown much interest in re-signing free agent SS Brandon Meriweather.

It's hard to imagine the Redskins wanting Meriweather back after he continuously was flagged for illegal hits. Washington is potentially in the market for two starting safeties, depending on how it feels about second-year S Phillip Thomas. Meriweather shouldn't find more than one-year deals on the open market.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather wants to return to Washington

In a radio interview, free agent SS Brandon Meriweather said he "really would love to be back" in Washington.

Meriweather better hope the Redskins feel the same way. Meriweather showed zero remorse after being suspended one game in 2013 for repeatedly hitting opposing players with the crown of his helmet. In fact, his solution to the problem was, "I just got to take people's knees out." To top it off, Meriweather is not even a good NFL safety. He should find a soft market this offseason. Meriweather is our No. 25 free agent safety.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather’s contract voids five days after Super Bowl

Safety Brandon Meriweather’s contract with the Washington Redskins voids next week to make him an unrestricted free agent this offseason, according to a person familiar with the deal.

According to that person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the contract details publicly, Meriweather’s contract voids five days after the Super Bowl and there is no option year in the deal to potentially tie him to the team next season.

That clause to void Meriweather’s contract this offseason was not changed when he and the team agreed last year to rework the deal, the person said.
The Redskins still could retain Meriweather by re-signing him. He will be eligible to sign with another NFL team in March.

Meriweather has spent two seasons with the Redskins since signing with the team as a free agent.

Bookmark and Share

GIF: Colin Kaepernick takes a big shot from Brandon Meriweather

One of the reasons that Colin Kaepernick was so successful for the San Francisco 49ers last year as they made their improbable run to the Super Bowl was his elusiveness. He never really took a lot of shots last season from defenses.

But, we sort of knew coming into this season that opposing coordinators would find some schemes to implement that would put Kaepernick in the position to take some cracks.

Tonight, of all people, Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather got one of those shots.

Now Meriweather is one of the guys that has been at the forefront of this whole targeting initiative. He’s notorious for going in on the person with the ball with some bad intentions.

Tonight, though, this hit on Kaepernick was completely okay. Well, it was for Meriweather at least, not so much for Colin:

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather didn't back down

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather didn't draw a penalty. At times he changed up the way he hit; other times he still went high -- albeit lower than he had in the past. Whether he'll continue this style will be answered in coming weeks. But for one game, Meriweather exited without any issues (though San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews didn't like one hit).

Meriweather did not head hunt or knee hunt, though he certainly tackled low at times (as do many defensive backs). Here's a breakdown of his tackles:

• Second and 10, Redskins' 42-yard line, second quarter. Meriweather is about seven yards off the ball at the snap and runs up to tackle Mathews up the middle; Meriweather hits him under his pads and tries to wrap up as Mathews leans forward, bringing him down after six yards.

• Second and 1, Chargers' 37, second quarter. Mathews bounces outside and Meriweather lines him up, sprinting from deep middle. Meriweather lowers his head on his approach but appears to first hit with his left shoulder, hitting Mathews just below his right shoulder pad as the Chargers' back lowers his head a little as well. It's a bit close for comfort. Mathews exchanges words with Meriweather after the play, pointing at him as officials separate the two.

• First and 10, Chargers' 15, second quarter. Meriweather, playing deep half on the right side, reads a swing pass to running back Danny Woodhead in the left flat. Meriweather aggressively pursues and hits the 5-foot-8 Woodhead in his legs, just above the knees. It's his only tackle attempt that low. I wouldn't say he was aiming for knees considering this was his only tackle in that area.

• First and 10, Redskins' 45, second quarter. Another pass to Woodhead with Meriweather in deep middle. Again, he pursues aggressively and hits Woodhead just under his shoulder pads.

• Third and 3, Chargers' 30, fourth quarter. Rivers dumps a short pass over the middle to receiver Keenan Allen, with Meriweather about 10 yards downfield. Allen spins away from one tackle, running away from Meriweather. The Redskins' safety hits him between his waist and shoulder pads, wraps him up and tackles him. A good tackle.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather: I aimed a little lower

Safety Brandon Meriweather returned to the Redskins defense last weekend with a whimper rather than a bang.

Meriweather didn’t draw any penalty flags for drilling opposing players in the head and/or neck with his own helmet, a longstanding habit of his that resulted in a one-game suspension earlier this season. He also didn’t go after the knees of his opponents, something he said he’d do in order to end careers of others rather than earn another suspension for himself.

Meriweather explained on Tuesday how he was able, for one game at least, to play Goldilocks and hit just right. 

“I think I played the same,” Meriweather said, via the Washington Post. “I still was aggressive. I aimed a little lower. I celebrated with my team. We got the win…To be honest, I didn’t even think about it. I just went and just let what happens happen. I’m not trying to think about it and say, ‘I’m gonna aim lower. I’m gonna aim higher. I’m gonna do whatever.’ I’m gonna just play and whatever happens happens.”

We’ll see if Meriweather can continue to avoid the temptation of the hits that got him in trouble with the league, but last Sunday’s game certainly provided Meriweather with evidence that one can play a game of football without going out of one’s way to hurt opposing players in the head or knees. 

Bookmark and Share

Shanahan: Brandon Meriweather 'brought it'

ASHBURN, Va. -- Brandon Meriweather didn't hesitate and did not take repeated shots at opposing players' knees, a tactic he hinted he might have to adopt given the NFL's new rules and his own penchant for high hits.

In his first game following a one-game suspension, Meriweather was not penalized, nor did he look less aggressive in the Washington Redskins' overtime win Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.

"A lot of times when a guy comes back after being fined, he's a little tentative when he hits," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "[Meriweather] brought it. He brought it both in the running game and the passing game and made some great open-field tackles, and he was ready to play. Really proud of him, the way he handled himself."

Meriweather was credited with six tackles, including four solo stops. None of them drew a penalty, although Chargers running back Ryan Mathews appeared to take exception to one of Meriweather's hits.

"He had one of his better games that I've seen him play -- very physical, was really on-point in the passing game as well," Shanahan said.

Meriweather was suspended for a Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos for repeated violations of the NFL policy on hits. He has been fined multiple times in the past for his hits, including after a Week 2 loss at Green Bay.

Meriweather indicated last week that he would target opposing players' knees in order to avoid further discipline from the NFL.

"I guess I just got to take people's knees out," he said. "That's the only way. I would hate to end a guy's career over a rule, but I guess it's better other people than me getting suspended for longer."

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said after the suspension that his concern was not on the fines or suspension, but on Meriweather's style of tackling.

But against San Diego, Meriweather handled his job to the Redskins' liking -- as well as the officials.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather’s tackle at the knees


Brandon Meriweather remained in the news on Sunday, both before and during the Redskins’ win.

First, the before: Michael Irvin had some harsh words for Meriweather on NFL Network’s pregame show, in reference to Meriweather’s comments last week about taking out guys’ knees and ending careers.

“I don’t ever want to hear you talk about taking that opportunity away from another man,” Irvin said to Meriweather. “That is not what we are about.”

Criticism or no criticism, Meriweather did as he promised on Sunday; his biggest hit of the game was this open-field tackle on Danny Woodhead, in which the safety went low and made the play.

That led to a spirited halftime discussion on CBS about head shots vs. knee shots, with at least one analyst saying he’d rather be hit in the head than in the knees.

Bookmark and Share

NFLPA says Brandon Meriweather ‘sorry’ for comments

According to the NFL Players Association, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather is “sorry” for the comments he made this week.

“I spoke to Brandon,” DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director, said in a written statement released by the union. “He is passionate about the game, and I know he is sorry for what he said. He is concentrating on helping his team win the rest of the season. Brandon knows that all players have a responsibility to each other and to play within the rules of the game.”

Meriweather said Thursday at Redskins Park that he’d spoken to Smith but declined further comment.

Meriweather, coming off a suspension imposed by the NFL for illegal hits, said Monday that “you’ve just got to go low now. You’ve got to end people’s career. You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now…. You can’t hit them high any more. You’ve just got to go low.”

The league originally suspended Meriweather last week for two games, with the penalty being imposed one day after Meriweather was penalized twice for illegal hits in a game against the Chicago Bears. Meriweather appealed and had his suspension reduced to one game by appeals officer Ted Cottrell. Meriweather sat out the Redskins’ loss last Sunday at Denver.

Meriweather also suggested Monday that Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall perhaps should be banned from the league for his off-field conduct. That came in response to Marshall, who absorbed one of the hits for which Meriweather was penalized, saying that Meriweather needed to be suspended or “taken out of the game completely.”

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday that he expects Meriweather to make the appropriate adjustments to his playing style when he returns to the lineup.

“Brandon is a good guy,” Haslett said. “He’s a good person. I don’t think he’ll do anything that’s gonna harm the football team. He said something out of emotion, the way he felt. But just knowing Brandon, the way he practiced yesterday, he’ll stay within the rules and try to do what’s best. He’s not gonna hurt our football team.”

Bookmark and Share

Ray Lewis suing bank over nearly $4 million in alleged investment losses

Retired Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis is among a group of 16 current and former NFL players who are suing BB&T Bank for nearly $60 million in alleged investment losses.

The Baltimore Sun has obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which was first reported by Yahoo! Sports. The lawsuit alleges that Lewis, a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year who retired following the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII victory in February, lost $3.778 million.

Lewis' agent, David Dunn, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In addition to Lewis, former Ravens linebacker Tavares Gooden allegedly lost $515,000 through an unauthorized bank transfer, according to the lawsuit.
Several NFL players are accusing the bank of allowing disgraced financial advisor Jeff Rubin and his former firm, Pro Sports Financial, to open accounts in their names and place tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized investments. The majority of the money went to a failed casino bingo project in Alabama that was deemed illegal under Alabama law in July of 2012.

"While we have not had the opportunity to review the allegations in detail, we understand this case concerns actions taken by BankAtlantic prior to its acquisition by BB&T in 2012," David R. White, BB&T's vice president of corporate communications, told Yahoo. "Because this is pending litigation, we cannot comment further."  

Rubin, whose firm provided financial-related services to professional athletes, has since been banned from the securities industry.

The other NFL players who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit and the money allegedly lost by each individual includes: former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jamaal Anderson ($5.813 million), former St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans offensive guard Jacob Bell $3.339 million), former wide receiver Derrick Gaffney (2.295 million), San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore ($8.745 million), New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes ($1.159 million), linebacker Greg Jones $2.006 million), former Titans and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jevon Kearse ($7.958 million), former Washington Redskins defensive end Kenard Lang ($1.648 million), Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather ($3.645 million), Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss ($4.852 million), former Redskins running back Clinton Portis ($3.136 million), former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard ($5.011 million), former Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots running back Fred Taylor ($2.993 million) and former Cleveland Browns and Patriots defensive tackle Gerard Warren ($3 million).

The lawsuit alleges that BB&T developed a "close business relationship with Pro Sports, Rubin and other Pro Sports employees," including a special division "dedicated to targeting and servicing athletes and others in the sports industry,"

According to the lawsuit, Pro Sports deposited tens of millions of dollars of the plaintiffs' money in BB&T accounts opened and maintained in the plaintiffs' names with "illegitimate accounts that were opened with signature cards containing signatures that were forged by Pro Sports’ employees."

"After the monies were deposited, BB&T allowed numerous unusual, suspicious and extraordinary withdrawals from accounts opened in the name of each plaintiff that were neither within the scope of the service identified in the client services agreement nor authorized by the plaintiff in whose name the account was opened," the lawsuit alleges. "BB&T had actual knowledge that certain transactions on the plaintiffs’ accounts were unauthorized and exceeded the scope of the plaintiffs’ client service agreements with Pro Sports."

Former Ravens cornerback Duane Starks also had a relationship with Rubin’s firm.

Bookmark and Share

Ryan Clark defends Brandon Meriweather comments

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has defended Washington Redskins' safety Brandon Meriweather over comments he made regarding the league's policy on helmet-to-helmet hits.

Meriweather threatened to target receivers' knees having been given a one-match ban for repeatedly hitting defenceless players in the head, arguing that the league's rules encouraged players to "tear ACLs".

Clark admitted that Meriweather's comments may have come off a little strong, but insisted that there was a lot of truth in what he was saying.

"Obviously the position that he's in makes him sound angry, makes it sounds a little more cruel than it truly is. But what he's saying is extremely true or has a lot of fact to in the sense that the one place we know we can hit guys and you won't get fined is extremely low," Clark told reporters.

"What he says makes a lot of sense to me. You just wish he was in a better position emotionally to where people can really understand it and really know that he's only saying he's trying to be as safe as possible as far as not getting fined, not getting suspended, not getting penalized."

Clark also backed Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant after he was criticised for a couple of sideline confrontations with teammates at the weekend.

Bookmark and Share

Antonio Gates says he can understand Meriweather’s frustration after suspension

SAN DIEGO — Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said he can understand Brandon Meriweather’s frustration after being suspended for multiple helmet-first hits against defenseless receivers.

Meriweather has been vocal this week, saying, “I guess I’ve just got to take people’s knees out.”

“Now whether he does it or not, you understand at one point when they fined you $100,000 and you start losing that kind of money, I’m quite sure you second-guess yourself on making certain plays,” Gates said. “It’s not that you’re not playing or you’re pulling back, but I feel for that situation because when I was a kid I played on defense.”

Monday was Meriweather’s first day back with the Redskins following the suspension, which was cut in half after an appeal, and he’s expected to be on the field Sunday when Washington faces the Chargers. Asked if he plans to change how he plays, Meriweather said: “I guess I’ve just got to take people’s knees out. I’d hate to end a guy’s career over a rule, but I guess it’s better (for something to happen to) other people than me getting suspended for longer.”

Meriweather should see plenty of Gates, the Chargers’ leading receiver with 42 catches for 497 yards and two touchdowns.

Gates said he’s not against rugged play, it’s just when hits are delivered.

“If I have the ball and see you coming and I know what’s coming, that’s football,” Gates said. “But if I’m in the air and I’m not looking and you ear-hole me that’s (different). That is the whole concept of being a defenseless player and getting hit that way.”

Bookmark and Share

No discipline for Brandon Meriweather’s comments on attacking opponent’s knees

Coming off a one-game suspension for repeated violations of the player safety rules regarding blows to the head of defenseless players, Brandon Meriweather vowed to start aiming lower at opposing players to avoid getting fined.

Meriweather said he’ll have to start targeting players’ knees at the risk of ending their careers instead of shots to the upper body of opposing players.

“I guess I’ve just got to take people’s knees out,” Meriweather said, via Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “That’s the only way. . . .  I’d hate to end a guy’s career, you know, over a rule.  But I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. . . .

“To be honest, man, you’ve just got to go low now.  You’ve got to end people’s careers, you know?  You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now.  You can’t hit them high no more.  You’ve just got to go low.”

According to Tom Pelissero of the USA Today, the league will not levy any further discipline against Meriweather for the comments.

“We are not approaching it as a matter that requires discipline,” league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email.

Meriweather was initially suspended for two games before an appeal reduced the suspension to just one game.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather has a point

Filter out the noise. It is tough to do. Brandon Meriweather calling out Brandon Marshall is sexy. It was an incendiary -- and unnecessary -- slap. It was player-on-player crime. That sells.

But listen to exactly what Meriweather said Monday about how he is going to change the way he plays the safety position for Washington. It, too, was bold. It was honest. It was real.

And it is a problem for the National Football League, because Meriweather certainly isn't alone. He simply was unafraid to put his name and his voice to a subject that has been brewing for years.

Meriweather is going to start targeting opposing players' lower legs. That's right. He said he is going to target knees. He is going to try to tear ACLs. Because he has a history of hitting opponents too high -- he just served a one-game suspension for two hits he made against Chicago on Oct. 20 -- Meriweather vowed to no longer aim high. He is going to aim low, the consequences be damned.

"I guess I just have to take people's knees out," Meriweather said. "That's the only way. I would hate to end a guy's career over a rule, but I guess it's better other people than me getting suspended for longer. You just have to go low now, man. You've got to end people's careers. You got to tear people's ACLs and mess up people's knees. You can't hit them high anymore."

No, you can't. That much the NFL has made clear. You can't hit high. You can't target the head. You can't lead with the crown of your helmet. You can't hit a defenseless receiver.

The price for doing those things ranges from a 15-yard penalty to a suspension, which carries with it the loss of a game check. That is severe, but that is how much the NFL is trying to take the head out of the game. The league should be applauded for that.

If Meriweather is any indication -- and he should be, given that he just had to sit on the couch and watch Washington lose to Denver on Sunday rather than help his teammates defend Peyton Manning -- the message has been received.

Yet there is an unintended consequence for altering the strike zone. There will be other injuries. Different injuries. Not crippling head injuries, but potentially career-threatening injuries. Knee injuries.

That's not good, either. That will have its own set of ramifications.

So far since the regular-season started, at least 54 players have gone on injured reserve with lower leg injuries. There are plenty of big names on the list: St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford, Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne, Houston linebacker Brian Cushing, Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones, New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork, Denver left tackle Ryan Clady and Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey, among others.

It hurts the game when stars go on the shelf for a season. If defensive players now intentionally shoot low -- which is what some will inevitably do to avoid fines and suspensions for hitting too high -- more injuries will follow, which will dilute the product.

Just imagine if offensive players think defensive players are intentionally trying to hurt them by aiming for the knees. A blow to the knee could be a career ender. It could potentially cost a player hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

That would not go over well. That could be beyond ugly.

And that could definitely happen.

The measured response to Meriweather's newfound approach is to tell him to just aim for the middle. Attack an opponent's core. Try to wrap him up around his middle. Rely on technique.

But even Washington coach Mike Shanahan said that if a player is going to err on the side of caution, "you would rather go low than you would high."

The reality is that in a collision sport where things happen at accelerated speeds between players who are bigger, stronger and faster than they were 10 years ago, knees are going to be in play. Nutrition and training have evolved. The game has changed and continues to change. Lower leg injuries are going to be a consequence.

Defensive players are frustrated by all of the rules changes they think benefit the offense. They are frustrated by all of the flags and all of the fines. They think the league has tilted the landscape to favor offenses, because prolific offenses are more exciting to the ticket-buying public than stingy defenses.

Meriweather just voiced that frustration. He was wrong, but he was real.

The next step in this evolution will be for the NFL's competition committee to act, and surely it will. Every offseason, the committee studies injuries. This spring will be no different. If defensive players intentionally target lower legs, the committee will legislate a new rule, because the game can't have a rash of torn ACLs and blown Achilles tendons.

That wouldn't be good for anybody, Brandon Meriweather included.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather rips Marshall

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather, who served a one-game suspension Sunday for the way he hits, vowed to begin targeting players' knees and fired a shot at Chicago Bears star receiver Brandon Marshall, saying players who beat their girlfriends should be out of the NFL.

Meriweather has received numerous fines over the years for his helmet-to-helmet hits. After two more incidents against the Bears on Oct. 20, the NFL suspended Meriweather for two games until an appeals process reduced the ban to one.

"I guess I just got to take people's knees out," Meriweather said Monday morning in the Redskins' locker room. "That's the only way. I would hate to end a guy's career over a rule, but I guess it's better other people than me getting suspended for longer.

"You just have to go low now, man. You've got to end people's careers. You got to tear people's ACLs and mess up people's knees. You can't hit them high anymore."

Then Meriweather turned to Marshall and Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, who both publicly criticized the hard-hitting safety last week. Marshall received one of Meriweather's hits in the game on Oct. 20.

"I respect the league trying to better our game," Marshall said after that game. "Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely."

Bennett said later in the week that he wanted to punch Meriweather. But Meriweather's ire was directed more at Marshall.

"He feels like I need to be kicked out of the league, I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too," Meriweather said.

Marshall has been arrested multiple times on alleged domestic-abuse charges but has never been convicted.

"You tell me who you'd rather have?" Meriweather said. "Someone who plays aggressive on the field or someone who beat up their girlfriend?"

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan did not approve of Meriweather's comments.

"I'm not sure I would have used those choice of words," Shanahan said.

When contacted by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the NFL said it was aware of Meriweather's comments, saying that they were inappropriate.

Marshall took to Twitter on Monday shortly after Meriweather's comments.

On ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy Show," Marshall continued to downplay Meriweather's shot at him.

"I'm praying for that guy," Marshall said. "He actually reached out to me last week and I told him that I was more concerned about him and his health, because I think a few weeks before our game I saw him lying on the field just out cold. It was a scary situation. I never want to see him or any player laid out like that.

"As far as what he said today: you can only pray for someone with those feelings. So that's all I have to say about that."

Meriweather said he thought the appeals process was handled well, citing former NFL coach Ted Cottrell's role in reducing the penalty.

Meriweather was fined $42,000 for a hit against Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy in Week 2. He also was fined $50,000 for a hit in 2010 with New England and accrued $45,000 in fines a year later with Chicago.

"The NFL do what they have to do," Meriweather said. "I guess they felt like suspending me for that game was the right thing to do, so they decided to make an example that they won't tolerate aggressive plays."

Meriweather maintained that he did not use his helmet on either hit against Chicago. That was the case he made during the appeals process, which occurred over the phone.

Meriweather agreed that he did launch into the defender on one hit, though he wasn't sure which one it was. Replays showed that he launched into Marshall after the receiver dropped a pass in the end zone.

"I know everybody's looking at the tape and saying, 'He's a dirty player, he's this, he's that,' which I get," Meriweather said. "But if anyone goes and looks at the tape, I didn't use my head in either hit. I'm moving on from it."

Meriweather said he has changed the way he hits but will have to do so even more now to avoid a worse suspension in the future.

Shanahan said safeties, more than cornerbacks, will attempt to tackle higher, taking runners head-on.

"Nobody's going to try to hurt anybody," Shanahan said. "But if you're going to err on the side of caution, you would rather go low than you would high. Brandon knows that he's got to go lower or he's not going to be playing in the National Football League."

The Redskins say they have focused more on tackling drills the past several weeks, and Meriweather said he'll work harder to stay low.

"Once you do something so much, it becomes habit," Meriweather said. "I think if I go in practice and simulate going low, it'll become habit and I'll be able to do it in a game."

But Meriweather wasn't done.

"They told me to use my shoulder, I use my shoulder. I still get fined and they still say I used my head," he said. "I mean, defenseless running backs ... I never heard of a defenseless running back."

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather's ban reduced

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather's suspension for illegal hits in Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears was reduced to one game without pay Wednesday from the two-game ban he received earlier this week.

Meriweather's appeal was heard Wednesday by hearing officer Ted Cottrell. He will now be forced to sit out the Redskins' game Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Meriweather was flagged twice for personal fouls in the Redskins' 45-41 win over the Bears. He was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Alshon Jeffery at the end of a 28-yard catch late in the third quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Meriweather launched into receiver Brandon Marshall after he dropped a pass in the end zone.

It's not the first time the NFL has punished Meriweather. He was fined $42,000 for two hits in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay. And he was fined $50,000 for a hit in 2010 with New England and accrued $45,000 in fines a year later with Chicago.

Earlier Wednesday, Meriweather's teammates fired back at comments from the Chicago Bears, with Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall saying he has no respect for tight end Martellus Bennett.

Bennett said on his radio show on WSCR-670 in Chicago on Monday, "I still want to punch him in the face."

Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said after Sunday's game that the NFL should consider banning Meriweather from the league.

"I don't know [Bennett] personally, but he had a chance to say whatever he wanted to during the game, after the game -- and the kid didn't open his mouth," Hall said. "No respect for a guy who wants to take a shot after the fact. No respect for a guy like that."

"Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely. ... I understand big hits. That's part of our game," Marshall said Sunday. "But when you have a guy that does it week in and week out, that's when it becomes a problem."

Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson scoffed at the idea that Meriweather should be kicked out of the league. He and Hall both pointed to safety Reed Doughty, who took a vicious hit while diving for an onside kick and suffered a concussion.

"Brandon Marshall would be kicked out of the league for pushing off every time he gets to the top of the route," Wilson said. "Every time a receiver comes in and cracks on a safety, he should be kicked out of the league for hitting him. The guy that hit Reed Doughty on the kickoff -- I could hear it from the sideline ... no one says anything about punching [that player] in the face. It has nothing to do with anybody having a vendetta against anyone. We're just out there trying to play football the best way we know how.

"Let the league decide what they do. Let the refs throw the flag, and let's just play the game. ... It's football. You signed up for this."

Bookmark and Share

Martellus Bennett: I want to punch ‘scumbag’ Brandon Meriweather in the face

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather has been one of the most notorious head-hunters in the NFL since he entered the league in 2007. Almost every rule that has been put into place over the past several years to protect receivers prevents Meriweather from playing the only way he knows how. And for that, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett hates him.

Meriweather received a two-game suspension from the NFL on Monday after he was flagged twice for unnecessary roughness for illegally hitting both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. He was also fined $42,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy earlier this season. During his weekly appearance on 670 The Score in Chicago, Bennett went off on Meriweather.

“The scumbag,” Bennett said, via Sarah Kogod of DC Sports Bog. “What it comes down to, at the end of the day, the players have got to look out for the players. There’s a way to go out there and be a beast when you hit people, and have nobody want to come across the middle. But then there’s a way not to do it, where you’re deliberately hitting guys [high]…

“Then it just becomes wrong. It’s not ignorance, because he knows what he’s doing, or guys know what they’re doing. Some guys are making these attacks on other guys.”

Prior to those comments, the host joked with Bennett that he should consider Sunday’s game a victory because didn’t get illegally clobbered by Meriweather.

“Oh, I still want to punch him in the face,” Bennett replied.

Meriweather has been blasted by current and former players for the way he plays the game. He’s dangerous and has hit with intent to injure on more than one occasion. If he does it again after returning from suspension, the NFL is going to have to consider an unprecedented penalty.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Marshall: Kick Brandon Meriweather out of the NFL

Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather will be suspended for the next two games for head-hunting hits in Washington's win over Chicago, which is, of course, pending appeal.

However, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall thinks the NFL should inact a stiffer punishment for Meriweather, who's notorious for targeting offensive players in the head.

“Guys like that really don't understand that there is life after football,” Marshall said, via the Chicago Tribune. “I respect the league trying to better our game and guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely. I understand. I get it. I was one of those guys. I played defense growing up. I was a headhunter. Even sometimes on the offensive side, I played that way. But with rules in place, you've gotta respect it."

Throughout his career, Meriweather has received fine after fine. Earlier this year, the NFL docked Meriweather $42,000 for hits to the head in the Green Bay game. Meriweather wound up sustaining a concussion in that contest too.

For Marshall, he wants to know when the NFL will draw the line.

"I am not venting or anything. I understand big hits, that is part of our game," he said. "But when you have a guy that does it week in and week out, that's when it becomes a problem. That is the only reason I am talking about it.”

Bookmark and Share

Report: Brandon Meriweather appeal will be Wednesday

The NFL suspended Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather for two games on Monday for repeated violations of rules governing hits to the head and neck of defenseless receivers and, as expected, the safety has decided to appeal the penalty.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that the appeal will be heard on Wendesday by either Ted Cottrell or Matt Birk, the officers appointed by the NFL and NFLPA to hear appeals of discipline meted out for on-field behavior.

If Meriweather’s suspension is upheld, it will break from the recent trend for safeties disciplined for similar infractions. Ed Reed was suspended last year and Dashon Goldson was suspended earlier this year, but both players wound up getting their bans overturned on appeal. Both players were suspended for one game initially and wound up being fined for their misdeeds instead.

With Meriweather suspended for two games, there’s a chance he could still wind up sitting out a game with a successful appeal. Cottrell or Birk would have the right to cut the suspension in half in addition to overturning it completely or upholding it.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather suspended

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather was suspended for two games Monday after yet another Sunday marked by personal fouls. It will also cost him $141,176 -- in addition to costing the Redskins their starter.

Meriweather was flagged twice for personal fouls in Sunday's 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears. He was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Alshon Jeffery at the end of a 28-yard catch late in the third quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Meriweather launched into receiver Brandon Marshall after he dropped a pass in the end zone.

If Meriweather appeals, as expected, there is precedent for winning an appeal. Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson had his one-game suspension overturned earlier this season after a helmet-to-helmet hit, though he was still fined $100,000. Last season, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed won his appeal and his one-game suspension was reduced to a $50,000 fine.

After Sunday's game, Marshall said of Meriweather, "I respect the league trying to better our game. Guys like that, maybe he needs to get suspended or taken out of the game completely."

It's not the first time the NFL has punished Meriweather. He was fined $42,000 for two hits in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay. And he was fined $50,000 for a hit in 2010 with New England and accrued $45,000 in fines a year later with Chicago.

Meriweather said Sunday, "No matter what I do I feel I'll be in the wrong. If I hit you in the shoulder and slipped up, they still say it's head to head. If I hit them too low, I think somebody just got flagged for hitting somebody too low. It all depends on who's watching. I don't think we can be right.

"I think they're trying to be safe and I think the only way to be safe is to do what they're doing. But at the same time this is tackle football. A job of a safety is to instill fear and you can't do that with pulling up."

The Redskins play at Denver and then host San Diego in the next two weeks, meaning a team already thin at safety must play quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers without their starter.

Washington's other starting safety, Reed Doughty, exited Sunday's win with a concussion. They have no proven starter behind Doughty and Meriweather, and have been forced to often play three corners and one safety.

The Redskins can get a roster exemption until Meriweather returns.

Bookmark and Share

NFL U Week 3 Photos

Ray Lewis on the Ravens Sideline.
Redskins S Brandon Meriweather.
Patriots DL Vince Wilfork.
Saints TE Jimmy Graham enter the Superdome through the smoke.
Panthers TE Greg Olsen runs out of the tunnel before Carolina’s game versus the Giants.

Bookmark and Share

Redskins players supportive of Brandon Meriweather through injuries

Safety Brandon Meriweather has failed to start and finish a single game for the Washington Redskins after signing with the team as a free agent prior to last season.

Meriweather suffered a season-ending knee injury in the lone game he played last season. He made his 2013 season debut last Sunday at Green Bay but left the game with a concussion. His playing status for this weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions is not clear.

Yet fellow members of the team’s defense continue to express support for him.

“It’s tough, man,” cornerback Josh Wilson said Wednesday. “The guy is definitely a fighter. He’s gonna do whatever it takes. … This guy played a long time, made a lot of plays, played in Super Bowls and things like that. This right now has just been unfortunate.”

Said linebacker London Fletcher: “It’s just sometimes things happen, man. Brandon’s had a tough go at it from a health standpoint the last couple years. It’s not because he’s not working to get himself in shape to be able to play and be out there on the field. He’s running around trying to make a tackle and the guy gets a concussion. It’s happening around the National Football League and it’s unfortunate that you have a guy who’s trying to play and hasn’t been able to get a full game in for us yet.”

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather returns to practice field

Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather returned to the practice field on Wednesday after leaving Sunday’s game with a concussion and going through a series of tests Monday and Tuesday.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much of a workload Meriweather received. But he took part in the first 20 minutes of practice, which is dedicated to positional drills and open to reporters.

Meriweather did not speak to reporters during the Wednesday morning open locker room session.

Meriweather suffered his concussion 30 seconds into the second quarter while trying to tackle Green Bay running back James Starks along the sideline. Meriweather came in from the side, and his helmet struck Starks’ helmet. Meriweather went down in a heap and did not move. Trainers immediately rushed across the field to tend to him. After several minutes, Meriweather sat up and eventually walked off the field under his own power. He headed straight for the locker room flanked by a trainer and team doctor. He was diagnosed with a concussion shortly after.

Meriweather in the first quarter knocked running back Eddie Lacy out of the game with a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather fined $42K for Week 2 blow to head

We've been waiting several days now to find out what sort of punishment awaits Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather after he knocked out Packers running back Eddie Lacy and then subsequently knocked himself out when he hit James Starks. Now we know: a league sources tells CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora Meriweather's been fined $42,000 by the NFL for a blow to the head.

Just a guess, but Dashon Goldson probably isn't too thrilled with this. Meriweather, like Goldson, is a repeat violator of the NFL's rules against leading with your helmet, delivering a blow to the head and striking a defenseless receiver. It was stunning Tuesday when we heard he might not be suspended.

Unlike Goldson, though, Meriweather didn't face a one-game suspension for his hit. Goldson had that suspension overturned but was ultimately fined $100,000 by the NFL for his hits in Weeks 1 and 2 (as well as previous issues).

Meriweather will also be eligible to play in Week 3 but his wallet is about half as light as Goldson's today.

Given that Meriweather managed to violate the NFL rules on leading with his helmet in back-to-back quarters, it's particularly surprising that he was fined the same amount of money as a pair of defensive backs in the Texans-Titans game Sunday.

Bookmark and Share

Brandon Meriweather to be fined

Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather will be fined, but not suspended, for his helmet-to-helmet hit Sunday that knocked Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy out of the game with a concussion, sources told ESPN.

Meriweather wasn't penalized during the game for the hit on Lacy.

Meriweather suffered a concussion himself later in the game when he led with his helmet to try to tackle Packers running back James Starks. A flag wasn't thrown on that play, either.

Meriweather has a history of fines for illegal hits. While a member of the New England Patriots, he was fined $50,000 in 2010 (later reduced to $40,000 on appeal) for hits against defenseless receivers. In 2011, when he was with the Chicago Bears, he was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit and $25,000 for unnecessary roughness.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was asked Monday whether he thought the two plays involving Meriweather were legal hits.

"To be honest with you, on the first one it looked like the running back was kind of going downhill, and when Brandon went for the tackle it looked to me like it was perfect and then all of a sudden when [Lacy] ducked his head, I couldn't tell -- I didn't see the TV copy, I just saw the video -- and that's exactly where the contact was," Shanahan said.

"The second one on the sidelines, that's what you're supposed to do. That's a legal hit," he said.

Shanahan said Meriwether was undergoing tests for his concussion and that the Redskins would have a better idea of how he's doing on Wednesday.

Lacy's status for the Packers' Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals was unclear. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he wouldn't have an update on Lacy's condition until Wednesday.

McCarthy also was asked about Meriweather's hits during the game.

"The Washington safety definitely led with his helmet, so I know that's not what we're looking for," he said, adding later on Meriweather's hit to Starks: "Same thing, different result."

Bookmark and Share