Chicago Bears: 5 Things the Defense Can Do Better with Brandon Meriweather
Getting an aggressive free safety gives Bears defensive coordinator Ron Marinelli some intriguing options for personnel adjustments and schemes, as Meriweather greatly upgrades a questionable secondary.
Brandon Meriweather Improves Nickel and Dime Packages
Brandon Meriweather is a top safety who provides blanket coverage on opposing receivers.
With his speed and playing nickel cornerback for the Miami Hurricanes in college, Meriweather can play the nickel or dime corner for the Bears when the situation arises.
Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings would have the outside, while Meriweather could cover the slot either in tight or soft coverage. His hard hitting (261 career tackles in four years) will make slot receivers nervous. This option is more appealing since Chicago has cut Joshua Moore to make room for Meriweather.
The Bears could also have Meriweather play in the dime with backup cornerback Zack Bowman playing the other corner position.
The Bears Could Play More Cover 3 with Brandon Meriweather
The Bears' Cover 3 plays will improve significantly with Brandon Meriweather on the field.
With more experience than Major Wright, Meriweather will have a better understanding of the zone, and he could lock down on one of the receivers.
Meriweather's superior pass-defense will make opposing quarterbacks think twice before throwing his direction while Jennings and Tillman smother the other receivers, giving the front seven more time to sack the quarterback.
Brandon Meriweather Allows the Bears' Linebackers to Blitz More
Having a player of Brandon Meriweather's caliber in the secondary allows the Bears' linebackers to be more aggressive in going after the quarterback.
Meriweather is a ball hawk with 12 picks in the last three seasons, good for fourth-best among NFL safeties. He also has 27 passes deflected for his career.
Marinelli could send Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Nick Roach on more blitzes to support the defensive line since Meriweather could substitute for one of the linebackers in pass coverage. A more attacking style would make the Bears' defense remain feared across the league.
Brandon Meriweather's Coverage Provides More Secondary Blitzes
With Brandon Meriweather, the Bears could elect to send safety Chris Harris or cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings to blitz the quarterback more often.
Meriweather could play deep at the free safety position, as Harris could rush the quarterback. He could also blitz because of his speed if Harris were put deep.
For a cornerback stunting blitz, Meriweather could line up in the slot and cover one of the outside receivers in a switch-off.
Brandon Meriweather Provides Some 46 Flexibility
By playing in a 3-4 zone with the Patriots, Meriweather was used to being involved in innovative zone schemes.
The 27-year-old safety could line up at linebacker in a 46 zone to provide some mismatches with slot receivers since Meriweather is a good tackler. Major Wright could play the lone safety in the backfield.
Meriweather could also play the deep safety, as Chris Harris or backup linebacker Brian Iwuh could sub for the fourth linebacker.