The Redskins were relieved earlier this week when an MRI on Brandon Meriweather’s injured left knee revealed no need for surgery. They still are counting on him to man the strong safety position during the regular season.
The Redskins are Meriweather’s third team in the last year, despite making the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010. He first fell out of favor with New England coach Bill Belichick and then did not mesh with the Chicago Bears’ 2-deep scheme.
“I just know that he fits our style with what we do, how we match up, very similar to some of the things New England did in his Pro Bowl years,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who is good friends with Belichick, said this week. “I don’t judge people by what they’ve done at other places. It’s how they handle themselves with us. I like the way he has handled himself since he’s been here. Hopefully he can get back healthy and be ready opening game.”
It’s difficult to evaluate safeties in anything other than live game situations, Shanahan has said, but he believes Meriweather is a capable strong safety because he Washington can use him in the box instead of always in deep coverage.
“He likes to get involved,” Shanahan said. “He wants to be by the action, so he’s better closer to the ball than he is further back. He fits in our system well at the strong safety position, but he is smart enough and he’s got enough experience that he can play the free safety position and still be very solid back there. But more importantly he comes to practice, he likes to have fun, he’s a very sharp guy. He’s been very conscientious thus far for us, and I’m glad we got him.”
Meriweather, too, believes he fits better in Washington than he did in Chicago. The 24th-overall pick in 2007 prefers how Shanahan operates compared to Bears coach Lovie Smith.
“He’s laid back. He’s more like me than Coach Lovie was,” Meriweather said. “Coach Lovie was more of a: ‘Do it this way.’ Coach Mike was: ‘Get the job done.’ I’m more of a get-the-job-done player and not a do-it-exactly-this-way.”