Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett rips Brandon Meriweather

1:28 PM, Oct 24, 2013   |    comments
Brandon Meriweather will sit out Sunday's game in Denver. (Photo: LM Otero, AP)
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ASHBURN, Va. - Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett called out safety Brandon Meriweather for his illegal launching style of tackling that is hurting the team.

Meriweather, 29, was penalized twice during the second half of Sunday's 45-41 victory against the Chicago Bears for illegal, helmet-to-helmet hits against Bears receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. The hits drew 15-yard personal foul penalties that sustained touchdown drives.

Meriweather was originally dealt a two-game suspension by the league. The ban was reduced by one game after his expedited appeals hearing Wednesday with Ted Cottrell.

"The league does a great job with player safety -- I was more concerned with the style of which he was tackling more than the fine or whatever,'' Haslett said Thursday. "I'm concerned with him doing a better job of wrapping his arms and bringing a guy down and not launching.

"We do a good job teaching our guys what the league is asking them to do from that (safety) standpoint.

"But obviously, It didn't work in his case."

Meriweather will miss Washington's game Sunday against the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos. The suspension will cost Meriweather $70,588.

Haslett said form tackling has been a weekly point of emphasis. But Meriweather, who has drawn at least five fines since 2010, has yet to learn his lesson despite insisting he's changed his style.

"I don't think it's hard because we do tackling drills,'' Haslett said. "It's not full, live tackling because you don't want to get anybody hurt.

"But we do tackling drills. That's part of our routine every week and in training camp.

"So I think he has that understanding.''

Meriweather's absence puts the 2-4 Redskins in a bind. Fellow starting safety Reed Doughty's status remains uncertain after he suffered a concussion during an onside kick and was limited in practice the past two days.

Haslett is hopeful that Doughty can go at strong safety. Either rookie Bacarri Rambo or second-year pro Jose Gumbs will step in for Meriweather. Cornerback E.J. Biggers has experience playing safety and former Redskins safety Jordan Pugh, who was cut last week, was re-signed Tuesday.

Pugh was sitting home in Dallas, when he got the call Tuesday to return.

"My buddy called me and said, 'Well, that's a hell of a game to come back for,'' Pugh said, referencing Manning. "You want to go against the best.''

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who owns a steakhouse and a 35,000-square-foot home in Denver, led the Broncos to two Super Bowl titles over 14 seasons. it's his first game in Denver since his 2008 firing.'

Shanahan faces a focused Manning, one week after a 39-33 Sunday night loss in the Broncos quarterback's return to Indianapolis.


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