Brandon Meriweather’s impact was immediate and noticeable. An interception, a couple of pass break-ups and a handful of tackles made the Washington Redskins defense look totally different, until the safety tore the ACL in his right knee.
“He’s a playmaker, that’s for sure. He’s a guy that makes things happen when he’s on the field from a physical standpoint,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “When he finally got a chance to get out there, he made some plays and then had an unfortunate injury.”
“In this business that we’re in, a lot of guys don’t get second chances,” Gomes said. “I really can look at it as a second chance because I was in there at the beginning of the season and didn’t play as well as the coaches wanted me to.”
Gomes started the first three games of the regular season but then was replaced by Doughty. So what went wrong?
“I just didn’t play up to the level in pretty much all aspects,” Gomes said. “It’s behind me, I learned from it and hopefully I can take something from it.”
More than anything, Gomes took something from Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. And not even when he was on the field.
“I’ve seen how the D played with [Meriweather] in there, so just try to bring that intensity that he had and flying around and having fun that he had in that first half,” Gomes said. “When I got in there on Sunday I was just, ‘Man, seeing that first half how he was playing, I didn’t want the level of play to drop since he wasn’t in there.’
“Just his aggressiveness, his passion. You can tell that he really just loves the game. Maybe show that a little more when I’m out there.”
Lighting up Jeremy Maclin was just the start of that. Coach Mike Shanahan brought up his hit on the Eagles wide receiver as something he wanted to see out of Gomes.
“He did all right when he was in there. I thought he played well,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He needs to step up and play at a high level the rest of the time. I think this is the second opportunity for him to go out there and show what he can do, and he needs to take advantage of it.”
Kerrigan’s snap streak snapped
That ended in Sunday’s 31-6 blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles.