Brandon Meriweather had a very odd 2012 season to go along with his very odd NFL career. Prior to the Redskins’ Week 4 game in Tampa, Meriweather ran into WR Aldrick Robinson during warmups, and further injured his already banged up left knee:
Meriweather’s Redskins debut would be pushed all the way back to Week 11 at home against the Eagles. In that game, Meriweather, not contacted by another player, slipped on the Redskins’ infamous playing surface with his right foot:
Torn ACL. Done for the season:
However, for the 44 snaps Meriweather played in that game, he was awesome. I’ll highlight 5 plays from that game before he got hurt.
First, here are the Eagles running play action to the left side. Notice Brent Celek circled in the pile. He’s really trying to sell that he’s nothing more than a blocker on the play:
Foles boots right from the play action, Celek disengages from the pile and runs a route into the flat. Meriweather recognizes it immediately, and closes fast:
And he pops Celek as he makes the catch:
Here’s another play where the Eagles try to hit a TE in the flat, this time to Clay Harbor. The Redskins are in man coverage, and Meriweather has Harbor:
Foles hits Harbor in the flat, but Meriweather shows outstanding closing speed once again and stops Harbor for a 1 yard loss:
Here’s a play where the Eagles have 3rd and 20. The design of the play is likely to make Meriweather chose between taking away the deep route to DeSean Jackson or the deep in route by Jeremy Maclin. Meriweather is parked 20 yards off the line of scrimmage:
The Skins CBs do a good job jamming DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin at the line, the Skins get some pressure, and Foles has to get rid of the ball much quicker than he would like. Jackson slips, and Meriweather makes the pick. Easy play here here for Meriweather, but he makes it:
Here the Eagles are running an in and out route to Clay Harbor:
Meriweather has to account for the WR running a deep route down the left sideline (not pictured), so he’s 10 yards away from Harbor as Foles delivers the pass. This should be an easy completion:
But Meriweather closes extremely quickly and lays a big shot on Harbor:
Harbor drops the ball. Incomplete pass, and almost a FF:
Here’s a very subtle play that I absolutely loved by Meriweather. The Eagles run the ball to LeSean McCoy, and Meriweather has DeSean Jackson trying to block him. Meriweather does something very crafty here. He beats Jackson to the spot, and basically boxes him out. Now DeSean can’t block him, or it’s going to be an illegal block in the back. Meriweather just completely negated Jackson as a blocker:
And he cleans up on the tackle. Short gain. Outstanding:
Meriweather is by far the Skins’ most talented safety, and based on his level of play against Philly, you can see why he’s such a compelling player. But he’s also a player that comes with an inordinately high level of risk. The following is on Meriweather’s resume:
- He played a grand total of 44 snaps last season, and is recovering from a torn ACL.
- Two teams gave up on him in less than a full calendar year.
- He was pulled over at 2:54 AM last April, and refused a breathalyzer test.
- During an on-field brawl when he was in college at Miami, he kicked a few opposing players.
- He has been involved in bizarre circumstances, like the time someone was charged with raping a woman in his home, and the time he was involved in a gun fight in which one of his teammates was shot. He was never charged with any crimes stemming from those two incidents.
The Skins still need to address the safety position heavily this offseason, but if they can utilize Meriweather as something of an “anything he gives us is gravy” kind of player, they may very well have something in him.