The knee injury Brandon Meriweather suffered prior to Sundays game in Tampa forced the coaching staff to make a flurry of unexpected adjustments to the game plan -- and the lineup -- just two hours before kickoff.
The other day, we thought Meriweather was going to play, Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday. We had a lot of plans for him, things to do. He actually becomes our third corner in a lot of situations. So we had to scrap all that stuff.
Meriweather, who had missed almost all of the preseason and the first three games with two sprained ligaments in his left knee, was expected to make his regular season debut before colliding with teammate Aldrick Robinson during warmups. The veteran safety aggravated the same knee.
Youre sitting in the locker room crossing things off, adding things you can do, Haslett said of adjusting the game plan on the fly. It changes your plans. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses and Meriweather has great strengths. Hes an ex-corner that can be a really good cover-guy and we lost that ability.
With Meriweather unable to suit up, Haslett decided to start Reed Doughty in his place and designate DeJon Gomes as the backup. Gomes, interestingly, had started the previous three games as the Redskins secondary struggled.
Through four games, the unit has yielded a league-worst 11 passing touchdowns and second-worst 326.3 passing yards per game.
We just thought Reed deserved the opportunity, Haslett said. Nothing against D.J., but we were trying to find the right combinations. Since the start of the year we thought Tanard Jackson and Meriweather were going to the two safeties. It didnt work out that way.
Its unclear when Meriweather will return, but Coach Mike Shanahan has said hell miss at least Sundays game against Matt Ryan and the undefeated Falcons. Meriweather did not practice Wednesday but was spotted walking without a brace Thursday morning.
Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.
—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199
Free agent moves—Offense
Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.
Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.
RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0
Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.
Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.
More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?
Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.
Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.
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It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.
<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>
Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.
That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.
MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem
It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out.
<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>
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