When Brandon Meriweather was added to the secondary mix in Washington, he was following in the familiar footsteps of friend and former teammate Sean Taylor.
A year behind Sean at the University of Miami, Meriweather shared the field with him for two seasons before Taylor was drafted by the Redskins. Meriweather counted Sean amoung his close personal friends, and talked about how Taylor helped to shape his game even after he left for Washington.
“He was a great…person,” he said in reflection. “Y’know, whenever I needed him, I could call him and he would answer, and he always gave me the advice that I needed. He was the person that I looked up to, and I’m sure that anyone who played with him looked up to him too.”
While Meriweather leaned on Taylor for advice, he didn’t concern himself with trying to be No. 21. As far as he was concerned, there was only one Sean Taylor.
“Sean is just one of those players that is God-gifted in every way possible–he’s like the prototypical safety,” he said, glowingly. “If you was playing Madden, you would make yourself as Sean Taylor, y’know? You would make yourself as 6-4, 225 pounds, running a 4.3-4.2, hard-hitting, great catching. That’s how you would make yourself.
“I can’t model my game after his because I’m 5-11, 200,” he said with a chuckle.
But even if Meriweather admittedly isn’t the physical specimen Taylor was, he still manages to play the game with the same infectious passion that No. 21 brought to the gridiron. Whether you’re looking for the highlight hits or the ball-hawking vaccuum, Meriweather is ready to be that guy.
“I don’t like to classify myself as neither, because I think once you classify yourself as one, that’s when the other one falls,” he explained. “I like to classify myself as a playmaking safety. Whatever I have to do to make a play, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
Which is exactly the attitude that Taylor brought to the Redskins. And just like his best friend, Meriweather has been a catalyst for change on defense. In 53 career games, Taylor had 12 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In 44 career games, Meriweather already has 12 interceptions, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
He may never be Sean Taylor, but he’s pretty good at being Brandon Meriweather.