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What can Meriweather bring to the Redskins?

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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.”

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Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money. 

If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.

It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.

The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million. 

Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media. 

The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins. 

MORE REDSKINS: Backup center again a question mark for the Redskins

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Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today…

Position: Interior offensive line

On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick

Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long

As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.

RELATED: 3 Redskins who are up, 3 down

The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.

Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).

Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.

On the bubble: Roullier

In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick

You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.  

Redskins 2017 depth chart previews: Offensive tackle | Wide receiver

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.