Washington Redskins: Is Brandon Meriweather the Missing Piece at Safety?

Dilan AmesCorrespondent IJune 20, 2013

Brandon Meriweather has a chance to star in Haslett's defense.
Brandon Meriweather has a chance to star in Haslett's defense.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

When Brandon Meriweather was signed prior to the 2012 NFL season, much was expected from him. 

He shined during his days with the New England Patriots (2007-2010), but he experienced a drop in production once he signed with the Chicago Bears in 2011. 

A likely reason for his waning numbers can be attributed to the change in defensive schemes from one team to the next. The Redskins signed him around this time last year, with hopes of him earning the starting strong safety spot. 

Meriweather was a cause for genuine excitement—when he played, that is. He missed the great majority of last season—all but 44 snaps. 

However, in those 44 snaps, he showed some flashes of being a tremendous defender in Jim Haslett’s system. In Week 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Meriweather was seemingly everywhere. 

He intercepted Nick Foles once, deflected a pass and recorded three tackles before exiting the game in the third quarter with a torn ACL. 

Bad luck seemed to shroud Meriweather in 2012, but 2013 will be a new beginning for him. According to Rotoworld.com, Meriweather should be just fine by the time training camp starts. 

When he does return from injury, he will find a bit more competition in the secondary. The two safeties that Washington drafted in this past draft, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas, are apparently making some waves in OTAs. 

Of course, anyone can look good in shorts; what matters is how they play on the field. We won’t know exactly what Rambo and Thomas can do until preseason, but the decision on who the starting safeties are could very well be decided by that time, depending on what happens between now and then. 

As of right now, Meriweather certainly has the edge. He’s been in the league for a number of years, and from what we have seen from him in a Redskins jersey, albeit limited, he looks to be a great fit in this defense. 

Of course, it is a little unfair saying he has the edge to two guys who we just haven’t seen yet, but it’s more than that. 

Safety was the weakest position on Washington’s roster last year, but it had a considerable boost when Meriweather was in the game. If he can continue to make an impact like that on a regular basis, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be on the field for the Redskins at all times. 

Plus, it would give the two rookies a chance to develop some more and be even more prepared if one or both should be called upon for the strong safety or free safety spot. 

Despite all this, it is entirely possible that Meriweather gets knocked down to second string because of the two rooks, but that’s not too likely. 

Rambo and Thomas are more about the future and depth than right now and on the field. If they play well enough, then of course they’ll be starting, but there’s no need to rush right now. 

Meriweather is more than capable of holding down one of the safety positions and even excelling. If it were up to me, I would have Meriweather at strong safety and let Rambo and Thomas battle it out for the free safety slot. 

Regardless of how things shake out, Meriweather will be a key player on and off the field. 

He’s solid when he’s healthy, but even if he does stay on the sideline, for whatever reason, there is a lot he can contribute. A veteran guy like that who has played on some really good Patriot teams must have a lot he can rub off onto younger guys like Rambo and Thomas. 

When it comes down to it, Meriweather is probably the best overall safety on the roster at this point in time. 

Redskins fans can be confident about Meriweather as long as he stays healthy. He’s the best safety they’ve had since LaRon Landry, and he could have a real bright future with the franchise.