There was time when the hard hitting, enforcer at safety was something that all NFL teams coveted. Going back to the days of the Oakland Raiders Jack Tatum, and San Francisco 49ers Ronnie Lott, head hunting safeties struck fear into the hearts of receivers everywhere. But the game has changed, and NFL defenders need to change with it.
For the safety of the game there is no going back. And yet some players like the Washington Redskins Brandon Meriweather don’t seem to realize this. Meriweather has been suspended two games by the NFL for the hits he made against the Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
Five years ago Meriweather’s hits would have been acceptable, but in today’s NFL the need for safety has become paramount. And leading with the helmet, initiating helmet to helmet contact, and hitting defenseless receivers is illegal. Meriweather has been fined for illegal hits before, so he knew what he was doing when he delivered those blows.
Meriweather’s effort to jar the ball loose and make a big play is commendable, but the way he went about doing it is unacceptable. And now moving forward, either Meriweather adapts to the NFL’s rules or he may risk not only suspensions and fines, but also a possible ban from the game.
Instead of helping the Redskins, Meriweather ended up hurting them. He drew two personal foul penalties, and the Redskins are lucky they were able to overcome that and still win the game. And now the Redskins are also hurt depth wise. Because without Meriweather in the lineup, an already questionable situation at safety is now made worse.