Quick Links

What can Meriweather bring to the Redskins?

brandon_meriweather_sideline.png

What can Meriweather bring to the Redskins?

It appears that Brandon Meriweather will take the field for the first time as a member of the Redskins. He was signed in the spring in hopes that he could take the spot of the departed LaRon Landry at free safety.

After suffering a knee injury in the second preseason game in Chicago, Meriweather was working to get ready for the season opener when he suffered a setback. Then he was set to play in Week 4 against the Bucs but a fluke pregame collision with receiver Aldrick Robinson reinjured the knee and he was back on the shelf.

Although it is not yet certain that he will play, Mike Shanahan said that he was “encouraged” by Meriweather’s progress. The safety himself said, “I’m feeling good about it” when he was asked if he would play against the Eagles.

If he does suit up and play, what will his role be? He might start at strong safety but it seems doubtful that he will play 60-70 snaps as is typical for defensive starters. Look for him to go more like 30 or 40 snaps as he works his way back into football shape.  

It would make sense to have Meriweather in the game on first down and in short-yardage situations. My observation on him in training camp is that he is very aggressive when he is moving forward but not very comfortable when backpedaling as one has to do in coverage. The Redskins might press the line of scrimmage daring Nick Foles to beat them and this style suits Meriweather’s game very well.

Reed Doughty and Jordan Pugh have been splitting snaps at strong safety in Meriweather’s absence. One of the two, probably Doughty, will spell Meriweather. It appears that DeJon Gomes, who was the starting strong safety for the first three games before the Doughty-Pugh combination took over, will be inactive as the odd man out.

Meriweather probably is not going to solve the Redskins’ coverage issues just by showing up. That is not his strong suit. The best case scenario is that he can help out some against the run and against the short passing game and that he might make a few plays that generate some excitement in the stadium and among the players.

How many times this year has a defensive back hit an opposing receiver hard enough to knock a reception out of his hands. I may be missing one or two but I can’t think of a single time. Meriweather is capable of bringing that type of aggressiveness to the Redskins’ secondary.

“We don’t look like we’re having fun,” he said said of the Redskins' defensive backs. “I think just the way I approach the game and the way I play the game, I think I bring a little more excitement.”

Quick Links

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

Quick Links

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

Goal to go situations another problem area for Redskins' defense

In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.

Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.

The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.

The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.

Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.

The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.