The Redskins got a brief glimpse Sunday of what safety Brandon Meriweather could mean to their defense.
Meriweather, after missing the first nine games of the season because of an injury to his left knee that he originally suffered during the preseason and then aggravated twice, had an interception in his Redskins debut. He appeared to be a difference-maker on defense and the Redskins had a solid all-around performance in beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-6.
But Meriweather suffered an injury to his right knee in the third quarter and Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan announced Monday that an MRI exam had revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament that would end Meriweather’s season. The Redskins still are dealing with the disappointment of losing Meriweather again as they prepare for Thursday’s game at Dallas.
“It was devastating when I first saw the news,” defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Tuesday at Redskins Park. “I’m not going to lie to you. I was very disappointed for him, especially. He had put in so much time rehabbing and to come out and play that well, I just really feel bad for him. But as a team, we have to move on. We’ve got no choice. Even with the struggles we had early, I mean, we’re right in the thick of things. We’re in a good place in the division and we have so much to play for that you can’t just sit there and feel sorry for yourself. Nobody will.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said that Meriweather’s coverage skills gave the Redskins coaches the flexibility to do things they otherwise couldn’t do.
“He gives you the freedom to match him up on wideouts,” Haslett said. “And he’s a good blitzer. You can do a lot of different things with Brandon. He’s a good football player. I felt bad for him because he was finally healthy and he felt great about coming back. He really had a heck of a game…. He’s a playmaker.”
The Redskins appear intent on using DeJon Gomes at the safety spot alongside Madieu Williams. Gomes started three games in place of Meriweather to begin the season before the coaches opted to use veteran Reed Doughty, who started the next six games.
“He needs to step up and play at a high level the rest of the time,” Haslett said. “I think this is a second opportunity for him to go out there and show what he can do, and he needs to take advantage of it…. I thought he played extremely well in the first game. And then it wasn’t as good as we would have liked, obviously, the second, third, fourth game. So this is a good opportunity for him to come back and kind of show us what he’s got.”