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Week 3: Meriweather shows NFL not serious yet about safety

September 19, 2013 - Matt Wellens

While a bit disgusting, Green Bay Packers fans had to be thrilled to see Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather walking off the field Sunday concussed after he laid a helmet-to-helmet hit on Packers running back James Starks at Lambeau Field.

I can’t blame Packers fans for celebrating a bit since earlier in the game, it was Meriweather who gave Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy a concussion with a nearly identical helmet-to-helmet hit.

It’s called karma — what goes around, comes around — and Meriweather got exactly what he was asking for when he led with his helmet.

But karma should never have come into play Sunday. The officiating crew, headed by Tony Corrente, should have taken care of Meriweather themselves.

The NFL instituted another layer to illegal helmet-to-helmet contact this season by banning all hits where players lead with the crown of their helmet.

It’s not only meant to protect the ball carrier, but those laying the hit. It’s not a safe play.

Twice, Meriweather did exactly what the NFL banned. In a reckless disregard for himself and his opponents, Meriweather lowered his head and drove the crown of his helmet into the helmet of another player.

Neither play — or a few other questionable contact to the head penalties — drew a flag from Corrente’s crew. The only repercussion coming Meriweather’s way from the NFL is a $42,000 fine, but what good will that do?

Like Detroit Lions bad boy Ndamukong Suh, Meriweather has a lengthy rap sheet in the NFL. He has been been fined $40,000 for illegal hits against defenseless receivers in 2010, and twice in 2011 for a helmet-to-helmet hit ($20,000) and for unnecessary roughness ($25,000).

I’m not sure another fine is going to send a message to Meriweather. His concussion might get him to change his ways, but again, the NFL should have never let it come to that.

A player like Meriweather doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore. He not only should have been flagged for his hit on Lacy, but tossed from the game and suspended.

The NFL has talked a big game thus far when it comes to safety, specifically when it settled its multi-million dollar lawsuit with ailing former players. However, it has yet to walk the walk.

Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field was a perfect example of that.

Now onto my picks, which each week will include a short analysis on the Packers’ and Lions’ games, plus the three primetime games on the NFL Network, NBC and ESPN. The rest of my picks will follow.

Week 3

Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., Sunday, FOX

A lot of NFL analysts liked the Bengals over the Steelers in the preseason and Monday night showed why. I’m still not on the Bengals’ bandwagon, however. Cincy’s Week 2 win was more because Pittsburgh stunk, not because Marvin Lewis’ team has improved. Packers 28, Bengals 21

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m., Sunday, 1320 AM/1240AM

According to hardcore Lions fans Craig Remsburg (my Mining Journal colleague) and Casey Ford (of ESPN U.P.), I made a huge mistake last week picking the Lions in Arizona. Both heavily advised to shy away again this week. I’m cautiously taking their advice. Redskins 18, Lions 13

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:25 p.m., Thursday, NFL Network

This game seemed like your typical Thursday night dog in the preseason. But three weeks in, it’s now an intriguing matchup. The Chiefs can’t go 3-0, can they? Eagles 23, Chiefs 21

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:30 p.m., Sunday, NBC

Oh, that’s where the Thursday night dog landed. This is the opposite of Chiefs-Eagles. The only people who are intrigued by Bears-Steelers are masochists who want to see how far the Steelers can fall. Bears 17, Steelers 13

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, 8:40 p.m., Monday, ESPN

Peyton Manning and the Broncos have been nothing but a buzz saw the first two weeks, routing what has to be considered Super Bowl contenders in the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants. Now Denver gets the lowly Oakland Raiders. Have mercy. Broncos 49, Raiders 10

Here’s the rest of my picks with winners in bold:

Texans at Ravens;

Giants at Panthers;

Chargers at Titans

Cardinals at Saints

Buccaneers at Patriots

Rams at Cowboys

Browns at Vikings

Falcons at Dolphins

Bills at Jets

Colts at 49ers

Jaguars at Seahawks

Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every Thursday at and follow him on Twitter at Email him at



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Washington Redskins' Brandon Meriweather is helped off the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)


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