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Washington's secondary needs to keep its composure.
When training camp began in July, the Washington Redskins were excited about the potential of their secondary.
Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson returned, as did safeties Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes. Washington added free-agent corner Cedric Griffin and replaced departed safeties LaRon Landry and O.J. Atogwe with free-agent vets Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson and Madieu Williams. And the Redskins drafted rookies Jordan Bernstine and Richard Crawford before taking a chance on undrafted Virginia standout Chase Minnifield.
Then, all hell broke loose.
After a promising camp, Minnifield was released following a setback to his surgically repaired knee. Meriweather and Bernstine hurt their knees in the preseason, and the league suspended Jackson indefinitely for violating its substance-abuse policy for the third time.
So Washington started the season short-handed and was forced to play the hand it was dealt.
It may be unfair to label the team's secondary its weakest link, but when it's ranked 30th against the pass through nine games, it is what it is. And that's not very good.
According to The Washington Examiner's John Keim (via CBSSports.com), "the secondary surrenders too many big plays. They are on pace to allow 57 pass plays of 20 yards or more, one fewer than last season when only four teams allowed more."
"The Redskins also struggle to keep teams out of the end zone," adds Mike Jones of The Washington Post. "(They) yield 301.7 yards per game and are allowing 27.6 points a game (fifth-most in the league). Hall has struggled mightily; Wilson has had some ups (and downs), and Williams (and Griffin) have struggled with consistency."
As luck would have it, Washington is expecting Meriweather's return this week against the Eagles. But you can bet your bottom dollar that Brandon won't be catching passes in warm-ups.
The last time he did that was Week 4, when his expected return was derailed following a brutal pregame collision with second-year receiver Aldrick Robinson.