Over the past few seasons, the NFL has been implementing new precautions on the side of improving the safety of players. With defenders now being told they can’t hit high on a defenseless wide receiver, the only thing they can legally do is hit low. If they hit high they will be fined. Apparently, Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather doesn’t mind donating some money to charity.
On his first carry of the game last Sunday, Green Bay Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy was drilled by Meriweather on a violent collision. As Lacy was going to the ground, Meriweather launched himself at the defenseless runner. The hit gave Lacy a concussion and forced the Packers to rely on veteran backup James Starks. Now, I know that there is no rule protecting running backs from this kind of hit, but after I saw the replay of the hit, I personally thought that not only should Meriweather be fined, he should be suspended for at least two games.
Lacy was almost down on the play, so I don’t know what Meriweather was trying to accomplish by drilling Lacy in the head. Later in the game, Meriweather tried to do the exact same thing to Starks, but was unsuccessful and gave himself a concussion on the play. By the way, while knocking out Lacy was bad for the Packers, bringing in Starks turned out to be a positive. Starks became the first Packers running back to rush for over 100 yards since 2010, when he did it in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Packers game Sunday was not the first time Meriweather had issues with injuring other players. He also had a history with these helmet-to-helmet hits when he played for the New England Patriots. After what I saw on Sunday, I believe that Meriweather had intent to lead with his helmet and knock Lacy out of the game. I also think that he tried to do the same thing with Starks, but that backfired and Meriweather got himself knocked out of the game instead. If the NFL wants to send a message about player safety, they need to suspend Meriweather for multiple games to show players that these actions will not be tolerated.