One day after turning in one of the more dominant defensive performances in recent team history, the Redskins on Monday saw the return of their starting strong safety.
Brandon Meriweather, who served his two-game suspension for an illegal hit in the team's third preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, was allowed to return to the team facility in Loudoun County, Va., on Monday.
Brandon Meriweather has agreed to a deal to return to the Redskins. Check out some of the highlights from his time in Washington.
He's expected to return to the practice field on Wednesday, when the Redskins begin preparing for Sunday's game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
"It means the world coming back, seeing all the guys, seeing all the coaches," Meriweather said. "It was like a family reunion."
That "family reunion" feeling was mutual for the Redskins' players on Monday, who were happy to see the vivacious Meriweather back in the building.
"I'm tremendously ecstatic," veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "I'm just excited to have his attitude out there on the field back, the way he prepares, the preparation and we're all comfortable with each other."
In a related move on Tuesday, the Redskins waived second-year safety Bacarri Rambo.
Meriweather was handed a two-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith Aug. 23 in Baltimore. It was the sixth time in the 30-year-old's career that he had been penalized by the league for a dangerous hit.
Meriweather said he's never had the intention of injuring an opponent, and is working on lowering his strike zone while trying not to lose the power and speed that he brings to the Redskins' secondary.
"I have no choice but to consciously tell myself to do it now," Meriweather said. "It's nothing I'm willing to chance. I'm not trying to get kicked out of the league just to hit somebody hard. It's just something I'm going to have to do."
Meriweather said he's still going to be aggressive, but wants to be sure he's tackling within the rules.
"I'm going to go out the same, play aggressive, do all the things I've been doing," he said. "(I'll) just lower my target down even more."
Hall said the defense will continue to work together to try to make sure they are making legal hits.
"You're talking about inches, so we'll continue as a unit, as a defense to keep trying to adjust that target level, but it's tough," Hall said. "You don't want to sacrifice not making the play for trying to figure out 'I'm an inch to high, I'm an inch too low.' We'll continue to try to work it in practice, continue to keep trying to change our target area, but it can be tough at times."
The Redskins will lean on Meriweather to help add even more stability to a secondary that has allowed a couple big plays in its first two games of the season.
With Meriweather's coverage skills in play, the Redskins' front seven could also potentially get even more time to get to the opposing quarterback, much like it did Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, when the Redskins tied a team record with 10 sacks.
"We are excited to get him back – he is a big part of this defense," safety Ryan Clark said. "He is a big part of our plan; he is the guy that you can move around and put in coverage, put him in the box, he can play deep. So again Coach Haz [defensive coordinator Jim Haslett] and [defensive backs coach] Raheem [Morris] has a lot of freedom in play calling with what we want to do and also from his physical presence."
Meriweather said he can't wait to get out on the practice field with his teammates once again.
"I'm just happy to be back," he said. "It's a blessing just to stand in this locker room again."
Other roster moveThe Redskins made another roster move on Tuesday, signing defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo to the practice squad.
In a corresponding move, the team terminated the contact of practice squad defensive lineman Derrick Hopkins.
Fangupo (6-0, 324) originally signed with the Houston Texans as a college free agent on May 14, 2012, before being waived on Aug. 31. He signed with the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad on Sept. 11, 2012, before being added to Seattle's active roster on Dec. 20. He appeared in one game with Seattle before being released by the team on Dec. 28.
Fangupo was claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 29, 2012. He appeared in four games with the Steelers during the 2013 season. He was then released by Pittsburgh on Aug. 26, 2014, before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad on Sept. 1. Fangupo was released by the Chiefs on Sept. 9.