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Friday, October 25, 2013
Meriweather's tackling a concern

By John Keim
ESPN.com

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said he wasn't concerned with Brandon Meriweather's fines or suspension. It's the penalties that bother Haslett.

Meriweather was flagged twice for personal fouls in the Redskins' 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears last Sunday. He was called for a helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Alshon Jeffery at the end of a 28-yard catch late in the third quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Meriweather launched into receiver Brandon Marshall after he dropped a pass in the end zone.

Brandon Meriweather
Brandon Meriweather was flagged twice for illegal hits against the Bears: on this play against receiver Alshon Jeffery and also against Brandon Marshall.

Meriweather drew a two-game suspension for the hits, a ban that was later reduced to one game following an appeal. It's not the first time the NFL has punished Meriweather. He was fined $42,000 for two hits in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay. And he was fined $50,000 for a hit in 2010 with New England and accrued $45,000 in fines a year later with Chicago.

"I was more concerned with the style [Meriweather] was tackling more than the fine or whatever," Haslett said. "I'm concerned with him doing a better job wrapping his arms and bringing a guy down and not launching."

When Meriweather returns from his one-game suspension, it'll still be a concern.

"They tell the referees to err on the side of caution and if it goes helmet-to-helmet, however you get it," Haslett said, "if you hit the chest and you slide up and you get a piece of the helmet -- obviously that's what the league calls a penalty ... I think the league does a great job with player safety."

Meriweather said after Sunday's game that he has worked to change his tackling habits, thanks to numerous fines since 2010. Teams only dress in full pads once a week, so it can be difficult. But the Redskins do have individual tackling sessions, focusing on wrapping up.

"That's part of our routine every week and in training camp," Haslett said, "so he has that understanding."