Meriweather travels from the Pro Bowl to the bench

B. Meriweather.jpgBill Belichick is searching for answers on his defense.

At cornerback, he’s benched second round pick Darius Butler and turned to undrafted player Kyle Arrington.  At linebacker, youngsters Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich are getting more playing time, with veteran Tully Banta-Cain playing less.

Safety was one spot the Patriots seemed to have figured out.  But 2009 Pro Bowler Brandon Meriweather now comes off bench.  James Sanders has started of late because Meriweather reportedly freelances too much.

“Of course I made mistakes but as for me not being on the field every play, that’s up to the coaches not just me,” Meriweather said Friday, via Tom Curran of Comcast Sports New England

Asked if he was pissed off about the move, Meriweather had a good answer:  “My business has nothing to do with whether it pisses me off or not.”

Sanders knows how Meriweather feels. Sanders was a key starter on a Super Bowl team early in his career, then became a backup.  Bill Belichick trusts Sanders more than Meriweather now, though.

“There are things that happen on any given play that aren’t quite the
way that they are drawn up, and football players have to do the right
thing within the context of their responsibility,” Belichick said.

Meriweather has time to turn his season around.  But his surprising role is emblematic of a Patriots defense that is still searching for an identity.

UPDATE: Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald reports Butler isn’t expected to start again this week.

38 responses to “Meriweather travels from the Pro Bowl to the bench

  1. I thought Meriweather was good at what he does. Wasn’t his style of play what helped them win in the past?

  2. Arrington did ok in his start, I don’t expect Butler overtaking him anytime soon.
    Good thing Chung can fly, or this D would have been gashed much worse than it already has.
    He’s come from 20 yards deep to stop a lot of potential big plays.

  3. There are few people on earth that can cover a receiver for 5 seconds. The Pats secondary is obviously young – but QB’s are roasting marshmallows in the pocket.

  4. try to positively spin it anyway you want, Gregg, but that defense does have an identity. everyone around the league knows they are a sieve. and it’s incredible that Belichick gets a free pass with this AWFUL defense because they’re “young” and “inexperienced” and other patently incorrect analyses. If Rex Ryan’s defense looked this awful after 3 games (though, really, they were worse than league average last season with mostly the same parts) people would skewer him relentlessly. relentlessly.

  5. the patriots defense is terrible. maybe belichick should stop trading away their impact players on defense for draft picks, which they then trade away so they can move back in the draft and take more tight ends.
    i’m actually rooting for the pats this weekend because i think flipper is for real and more dangerous, but i think i’m going to be disappointed in the outcome. the only thing the pats do well is pass the football.

  6. Maybe he’ll play better if he gets to take his helmet off and swing it at people
    //but no one cares cause he’s a patriot now

  7. It isn’t the coaching. It is the personnel or lack thereof. I doubt that Dick LeBeau or the late great Jim Johnson couldn’t make this group perform. Very young backfield + zero pass rush means they are going to get carved up….

  8. Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu are two safieties that fly, Patriots have a safety like that in Patrick Chung. the Ravens and Steelers other safeties are Dawan Landry and Ryan Clark, safeties that are more stationary and make the tackles thats what kind of safety Meriweather is.

  9. @jets are stacked
    You make a good point. As a Pats die-hard I get frustrated every year when they let impact players go and take a conservative approach to drafting.
    The defense lacks identity because there are no Bruschis, Vrabels, or Seymours.

  10. im gonna laugh when this Defense molds in a year and becomes good again.. then brady and the pats are gonna quietly go 12-4 and do work again and tell me it wont happen.. everyone hates the pats and the coach b/c they win games they shouldnt and it pisses people off… sry that ur team hasnt won 3 outta 4 superbowls or post winning seasons every year since 01. only other team that has done that is the colts. so basically those two teams are the best in the last 10 years

  11. Well when you cant tell the guy the exact plays the team is running its a little tougher. They were better when they were in the “spy gate” days. Ah the good Ol days!

  12. “everyone hates the pats and the coach b/c they win games they shouldnt and it pisses people off”
    You just said they win when they shouldnt. So you admit they only win when they secretly video tape other teams right?

  13. Since when did Meriweather stop being coachable?! By doing what the coaches taught him helped to get him to the pro-bowl in the first place. So now he occasionally abandons his main assignment responsibility on any given play thereby exposing an open spot in the defense that any offense can take advantage of. Now that he does it once in a while opposing teams are game planning for him and taking advantage of his blown assignments. Why does he do this? Maybe his agent or someone close to him is buzzing in his ear to get as many interceptions as he can to make it look good for his next contract in a year or two.

  14. The reason a lot of people hate the Patriots is because they have a very rich owner, one the most morally repugnant coaches of all time, a pretty boy quarter back who occasionally comes off like a jerk, they appear (that is the key word) to get a lot of favorable calls, and of course, they got caught cheating. And yes, it is all over emphasized because they have been just a tad above average this decade.

  15. they have been just a tad above average this decade.
    Provided you understand this decade is 9 months old, you’re correct.

  16. It’s funny how little that the national media actually is going on with the Patriots.
    Brandon Meriweather has been benched – from the Patriots base 3-4. As well as Tully Banta-Cain. This is likely because the Patriots expect more running plays out of the 3-4.
    The Patriots run about 2/3rd of their plays from sub-packages. Translation: Meriweather and Banta-Cain still play 2/3rd of the snaps, more than key players such as Vince Wilfork.
    So to say that Meriweather is “benched” is not doing thorough journalism. I expect better Rosenthal.

  17. “Belichick is an idiot, this guy is definitely a starting caliber safety. He makes plays”
    He makes plays, and gives up just as many

  18. In & Out Burger says:October 2, 2010 7:19 PMThe reason a lot
    of people hate the
    Patriots is because
    they have a very
    rich owner, one the
    most morally
    repugnant coaches of
    all time, a pretty
    boy quarter back who
    occasionally comes
    off like a jerk,
    they appear (that is
    the key word) to get
    a lot of favorable
    calls, and of
    course, they got
    caught cheating. And
    yes, it is all over
    emphasized because
    they have been just
    a tad above average
    this decade.
    So, which team Doesn’t have a very rich owner? What are you talking about?

  19. Meriweather has played SS his whole carrier. Now he is playing FS as Chung is playing SS now. I think it is just a learning process. Meriweather is still playing as much as anybody else

  20. Isn’t it great, Mike32? During “your” decade, the God#amn Pittsburgh Steelers shit on your parade by winning 2 World Titles in a 4-year span. Damn those Steelers. How dare they???
    3 out of 4 is pretty impressive, I must admit. Hats off to the Pats. You know what else would be pretty impressive? If there was a team that already did it before NE did, say in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
    Or how about a team that had the nerve to set a precedent that the Pats never came close to equaling when they won 4 in a 6-year span from 1974-79?
    Or maybe they named a certain trophy after a guy that won 5 World Titles in a 7-year span?

  21. The Patriots defense has an “identity.” It’s a modified base 3-4 Fairbanks-Bullough two-gap system. That, along with physical talent, is not what’s lacking with the Pats “D.”
    What’s lacking, I think, is mental discipline. That includes, among other things, playing fundamentally sound football for 60 minutes—no whiffing on tackles, no blown assignments, minimizing YAC (yards after catch), setting the edge against the run, “swarming” to the ball, communication, consistency, etc.
    The upcoming Dolphins game is an ideal test for the Pats defense, which will face a balanced (run vs. pass) offensive scheme. This game is critical. My expectation is that the outcome will set the tone—good or bad—for the rest of the 2010 Patriots season.

  22. Belichick is overrated? He has won three out of four Super Bowls. I guess that means Joe Gibbs was overrated too.

  23. Really? In the Bills game last week I thought Merriweather was the only guy actually playing in that secondary.

  24. How many Superbowls have the Patriots won since the JETS blew the whistle on them for cheating?
    Cue typical Pats fan retort: “But… But… But every team videotapes opposing teams signals, they did nothing wrong”
    Yeah but every other team did not get fined a 1/4 Million dollars and lose a first round draft pick, and have the videos destroyed by Lord Goodell. Patriots blow.

  25. In a related story, virtually every 2010 draft pick made by the Scott Pioli led Chiefs is playing and contributing to their 3-0 start.
    We are a couple of years from realizing who was really responsible for those powerhouse Patriots teams.

  26. The Pats have a VERY young defense!! But there IS talent there that needs to mature! That’s gonna take a little time! BTW, The Pats were the first team to dominate for a long time during free agency!

  27. PFT needs an influx of football savy posters. For those of you who have not been paying attention, the team of the decade has reloaded this year with eleven (11) starters that are either rookies or first year players. The Patriots have another 11 backups that are also rookies or first year players. Despite the turnover in personnel, the Patriots are once again a threat to win their divison and make the playoffs.
    Belichick makes every player earn their roster spot, their pay, and a starting job. Next year’s draft will bring another bounty of talent to the Patriots. Those of us that do not play football would have a very difficult time living up to that type of competition in our own careers. Does Belichick make mistakes? Of course he does. He is still the best coach in the NFL.

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