Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather missed 15 games last year due to injury. He could be missing at least one this year due to suspension.
Last month, a violation of the rule regarding use of the crown of the helmet against Packers running back Eddie Lacy resulted in a $42,000 fine. This time around, a pair of illegal hits against Bears receivers could get Meriweather a much stiffer penalty.
The first came in the third quarter against Alshon Jeffrey, with Meriweather putting a helmet to Jeffrey’s chest/chin. The next came in the fourth quarter, with Meriweather launching at Brandon Marshall and hitting him in the head with a forearm.
The decision on Meriweather will be made initially by Merton Hanks, subject to internal confirmation and then appeal to Matt Birk or Ted Cottrell. If Hanks believed he needed to get the attention of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Hanks definitely should conclude that he needs to get the attention of Meriweather, especially in light of Meriweather’s Week Two fine.
The broader question will be whether the league office is willing to risk another suspension overturned on appeal, like the scuttled suspension of safety Dashon Goldson. While Birk and Cottrell are technically independent, the announcement of a suspension on a Monday followed by a reversal on a Wednesday creates the impression that the NFL is wishy-washy, given that most fans presume the league has full control over the process.