The Washington Post

Game day Q&A: Brandon Meriweather

Safety Brandon Meriweather is known for his high energy level and violent hits. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

For the first time in his career as a Washington Redskin, strong safety Brandon Meriweather finally made it through a full game last week.

Signed as a free agent in 2012 to replace the oft-injured LaRon Landry, Meriweather himself had a severe bout with the injury bug and played only one half of a football game. Sidelined by strained ligaments in his right knee for the first nine games of the season, Meriweather made his Redskins debut in Week 11, but then tore his ACL in the same knee and was lost for the season.

After a long offseason of rehabilitation, Meriweather made his way back onto the field in the preseason finale, but then missed the regular season opener because of a strained groin. He started in Week 2, but early in the second quarter, left the game with a concussion after helmet-to-helmet collision. This came one quarter after Meriweather knocked Green Bay running back Eddy Lacy out of the game with a helmet-to-helmet hit that garnered the safety a $42,000 fine.

Coming away from that game, Meriweather said that he would try to change his tackling style, but that it could prove easier said than done.

Last week, however, Meriweather did make it through that game without delivering any illegal hits.

On the field, Meriweather rarely stops chirping at opponents. But he can be rather elusive when it comes talking to reporters. He’d rather crack a few jokes and scurry away rather than give an extensive interview.

But, we managed to catch up with the safety for a couple of minutes for this week’s Gameday Q&A. Enjoy.

MJ: What’s your go-to for your pre-game music?

BM: I don’t listen to music.

MJ: Never? Or, just not before games?

BM: Before games, I don’t. I don’t see a need to. I feel like if you can’t get hyped up to play this game, then you don’t need to be playing it.

MJ: How do you get into your zone?

BM:I just focus. I just tell myself ‘It’s time to turn it up,’ and I do.

MJ: What’s that pre-game feeling like, when the game’s just about to start, you’re all worked up and ready to go deliver some big hits?

BM: I don’t think you can describe it. It’s indescribable. For me, it’s like the first time you do anything, but all over again. The first time you went to school, the first time you stood in front of a big crowd, the first time you did a talent show. It’s like that every time.

MJ: Is that why you like this game?

BM: I just like the competition, the camaraderie, being around the guys, the smack-talking, being physical. I like it all.

MJ: Do you remember your first game?

BM: Yes. I dropped an interception.

MJ: That had to be disappointing. Did you get over it quickly?

BM: No. I dropped seven that year. So, no, I guess I didn’t get over it.

MJ: If you weren’t a pro football player, what do you think you would be doing for a living?

BM: I’d probably a be high school football coach. I just like working with kids, love the game of football, and I think the way you get the most out of it is coaching our youth. That’s what I’ll do after I’m done playing.

MJ: Was there a particular coach during your youth that made an impression on you and inspired you to want to coach?

BM: All of them. All of them did a little something that made me want to do it.

MJ: You’re a fiery guy on the field. Will you have a similar coaching style?

BM: I don’t know yet. I think it’s different when it comes to coaching than when you are playing. I don’t know if I’ll keep my same attitude or if I’ll have to become more stern when it comes to coaching.

MJ: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing football?

BM: Watch movies. Just chill. Lay down and relax.

MJ: What’s your favorite movie.

BM: Friday. I just think it’s super funny.

MJ: What’s a common misconception people have about you?

BM: I think I’m the type of guy that what you see is what you get. Well, people see me and think I’m a thug, but other than that, if you know me, what you see is what you get.

MJ: Why do they think you’re a thug?

BM: I think it’s because I have dreads.

MJ: How long have you had them?

BM: Eight years.

MJ: What prompted you to grow them?

BM: I just said one day – I woke up one day and said, ‘You know what, I’m fittin’ to grow dreads.’

MJ: Was it hard enduring the ugly stage?

BM: A little bit. I tried it seven times and kept cutting it. Then one day, I was just like ‘Forget it.’

MJ: If you can pick one super hero, which one would you be, and why?

BM: I’d pick Superman because he can do a little bit of everything.

MJ: Has he always been your favorite?

BM: Yeah. I was Superman in high school and college, so yeah.

MJ: What’s your Kryptonite?

BM: (Laughs). Man, there ain’t no such thing as Kryptonite.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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Mike Jones · September 28, 2013