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."
Now the Redskins have the unfortunate task of trying to replace Meriweather yet again. Back to the usual suspects: veteran special teams ace Reed Doughty, DeJon Gomes and Jordan Pugh.
At the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, it sounds like Gomes will get the first crack at going back into the starting lineup in place of Meriweather.
"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
It's not London Fletcher's 234 straight games played, but linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had an impressive streak going, too. Through his first 25 NFL games, Kerrigan had never missed a defensive snap.
That ended in Sunday's 31-6 blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I kind of hesitated at first," Kerrigan said. "I was like, 'Oh man, what did I do?' "
Kerrigan didn't do anything wrong. He just played 65 of 74 snaps because it wasn't worth risking his being injured in a game that had already been decided. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion late in the game; coach Andy Reid said he had no regrets about keeping him in.
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett did not hesitate to take Kerrigan and other prominent defensive starters out.
"We took everybody out," Haslett said. "What we had, we took out as many guys as we could, so it wasn't just like, 'We're taking you out.' We had one conversation with London; that was the only one we had a conversation with."
Kerrigan thought about the streak but insisted he wasn't bothered by the decision. Shanahan certainly wasn't.
"You can't go on those streaks. It's more starting streaks than it is playing," he said. "We want to take care of him and obviously do what we think's best for him to keep him healthy."
Kerrigan, unlike several defensive starters over his first two NFL seasons, has been able to remain healthy. But as Haslett pointed out, it's early in his career to pump up a streak like this.
"We'll see if he can do it over the long haul. It's not just over a year and a half," Haslett said. "That's something you'll be judged over a long period of time. And hopefully he takes good care of himself. He takes care of his body, he studies the game, he prepares, he's in the weight room, he's stretching. He does everything that a 10-year guy does, and he's in his second year."
Man sentenced for extorting RG3
An ex-Baylor basketball player was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for trying to extort $1 million from Robert Griffin III.
Richard Hurd was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for threatening to release unspecified damaging information about Griffin last June.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report
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