Don’t bother trying to classify
A ball-hawking safety? An intimidator in the secondary?
He rejects them both.
“I just like to consider myself a playmaker,” the Redskins’ newest safety said. “Whatever I have to do to make a play, that’s what I’m going to have to do.”
Entering free agency this offseason, the Redskins certainly had a need for a playmaking safety.
The team targeted Meriweather, formerly of the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots, early on and signed him on March 15.
He adds starting experience and depth to a Redskins secondary that has lost LaRon Landry and
Meriweather is looking to re-establish himself after a 2011 season that took some surprising turns for the 28-year-old safety.
A Pro Bowler following the 2009 and 2010 seasons with New England, Meriweather was a preseason cut by the Patriots last year.
He quickly signed on with the Bears and ended up playing in 11 games, with just four starts. He posted 32 tackles and two passes defended.
For his career, Meriweather has 293 tackles, two sacks, 12 interceptions, 29 passes defended and five forced fumbles. He entered the league as a 2007 first-round draft pick (24th overall) of the Patriots.
Now in Washington, Meriweather is ready to put last year behind him and focus on the future.
Like Doughty and Gomes, Meriweather has also played both safety positions in his career.
Even though he is thought to be a better fit at strong safety given his 5-11, 200-pound frame, it doesn’t matter to him where he lines up with the Redskins.
“Wherever the coaches put me, I’ll be happy to play at and I’ll just try my best to fulfill that [position] to the best of my ability,” he said.
Meriweather added that he is excited to work with new Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach. Morris is known for an energetic, enthusiastic coaching style.
“That might be the best part of [signing with Washington],” Meriweather said. “To actually get a coach who is similar to me, a coach that has a lot of energy and requires the best out of everybody – I think it’ll be fun.”
Meriweather hails from Apopka, Fla., and after high school it was natural for him to play college football at the University of Miami.
In 2002-03, he was teammates with late Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
Many of the Redskins who played with Taylor in Washington from 2004-07 have either retired or moved on to other teams.
With the addition of Meriweather, it seems the connection lives on for a little while longer.
“Sean Taylor was one of my best friends,” Meriweather said. “When I needed him, I could call him and he would answer. He would always give me the advice I needed. He was the person I looked up to and I’m sure everybody who played with him looked up to.”