After three weeks of struggles, the members of the Washington Redskins’ secondary hope to finally turn in a strong performance when they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
The defensive backs are hoping that a greater attention to detail and technique as well as strong accountability help cure the ills that have them ranked among the worst in the NFL.
A third element that could help shore up the Redskins’ pass coverage could be the return of starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather, who missed two preseason games and the first three regular season contests with an injured right knee.
After gradually ramping up his activity in the last two weeks, Meriweather – who this past spring was signed as a free agent – appears poised to make his Redskins debut after Coach Mike Shanahan listed the former two-time Pro Bowl player as “probable” for Sunday’s game on the final injury report of the week.
“He’s not 100 percent by any means, but he wants to get out there,” Shanahan said. “He’s had a good week of practice and he brings a lot to the table. Hopefully there’s no setback after today, but he looks like he’ll be able to play.”
Meriweather said it has been difficult watching his teammates, but he has also been careful not to rush back prematurely. Now, however, he is eager to get back in the mix.
“I’d be ecstatic,” Meriweather said Friday. “I love to play the game, man. Any time you get to go out there and actually play in a real game for something that means something and get in a spot where we ain’t been in a while, it’s meaningful.”
The Redskins have allowed 1,012 passing yards and a league-high 10 passing touchdowns through three weeks. In addition to blown assignments in coverage, the defensive backs have also missed tackles.
Meriweather can help the Redskins in all of those areas, the Redskins believe.
“He can do a lot of things,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He’s an ex-corner coming out of college. He’s got football intelligence. He can take something from the classroom to the field. He brings energy to the backend. He does a lot of things and obviously, we’ve missed him.”