Washington Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather will play Thursday against Tampa Bay, his first action of the preseason. Meriweather, who had ACL surgery last December, has been in and out of practice this summer because of his knee. He participated in practices the past two weeks, but did felt soreness after working four straight days two weeks ago. They’re counting on him being able to start this season. With a rookie free safety in Bacarri Rambo, the Redskins could use a solid veteran alongside him. If Meriweather can’t start, veteran backup Reed Doughty likely would get the start. Few understand the defense better, but Doughty is not a playmaker like Meriweather potentially could be in this defense.
“We’ve been trying to give him enough time to heal up and give him enough time to show us what he can do,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He looked good in practice.”
• Corner Josh Wilson, who had offseason shoulder surgery, will also play against Tampa Bay. The Redskins typically rest their starters in the preseason finale, but Wilson did not play in the first two preseason games. They’d like him to play 15 to 20 snaps Thursday. Running back Evan Royster said his sprained left ankle is fine and he expects to play Thursday. Royster did not play versus Buffalo because of his ankle.
• The Redskins placed corner Richard Crawford on waived/injured in part because they can pay him less money if he clears waivers and returns. Crawford’s injury was bad: he tore the ACL, MCL and LCL in his left knee and the recovery period will take nine months.
“He’s a great kid, an unbelievable worker,” Shanahan said. “He’s done everything you ask to give himself the opportunity to be successful. It is a blow not only to him but to us.”
• There’s a simple reason why veteran receiver Donte' Stallworth was released: his hamstring. Stallworth hurt it early in camp and it affected his performance. “You could see he just wasn’t ready,” Shanahan said. They’ll miss his blocking as much as anything he would have contributed in the passing game. Stallworth blocked with an attitude, something the coaches love -- and something that’s necessary in the outside zone game.
• Nose tackle Barry Cofield wore padding over his cast during practice Monday, giving him the same clubbed look that Trent Williams had with his sprained wrist in camp. Shanahan said he doesn’t know how long Cofield will need to wear the cast. The benefit for Cofield is that even with the cast he can use his fingers, giving him the ability to use both hands. He relies on his quickness a great deal and gets free with quick swim moves more than just using his hands to overpower a defender. But every player needs his hands and if Cofield can still use his, there’s little reason to think his play would suffer much of a drop.