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Giants taking a chance with Brandon Meriweather

Brandon Meriweather takes part in his first Giants

Brandon Meriweather takes part in his first Giants practice on Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. Photo Credit: Twitter

Deals with the devil are never made from a strong bargaining position. The old fella with the pointy ears and pitchfork only shows up in desperate times offering diabolical measures in exchange for souls.

With that said, the Giants have a new safety in Brandon Meriweather.

They had little choice but to add the banged-up bad boy to their depleted secondary, signing the two-time Pro Bowler and two-time suspendee to help at a spot where they need two starters and currently have none.

But with Meriweather comes baggage unlike any the Giants have taken on in the recent past. He's been fined numerous times and suspended three games in the last two seasons for dangerous, illegal hits on receivers.

Just how needy were the Giants? Tom Coughlin summed up Meriweather's role this way:

"We're looking for safeties, so there you go. When they blow the whistle, 11 are supposed to go out there, so that's what we're looking for."

Meriweather undoubtedly brings an intensity to the defense that was visibly lacking in the preseason opener against the Bengals on Friday. But too often, that has come at a cost.

"The toughness part you want," Coughlin said. "The penalties and the issues, you don't want. And he's a young man who has expressed thanks in being here and having the opportunity, and I think he'll take coaching. He's competitive, he's very competitive. And to a certain extent, obviously, we want that. But we don't want what goes with it, obviously."

Meriweather made no apologies for his checkered past on the field. "I think every player you ever ask will say that you play your game the way you play your game," he said. "Do you play within the rules? Yes. When they make new rules, do you have to adjust a little bit? Yes. I'm going to play my game the way I play my game, but I'm also going to respect the rules."

When the Giants traded for Jon Beason during the 2013 season, it also was perceived as a desperate move for damaged goods with no clear expectations of what he had left to give, but he made an immediate impact. From the moment he stepped on the field with his new squad, the change in their attitude, alignments and production was perceptible.

Beason thinks Meriweather can have the same kind of effect. "He'll make an impact Saturday," Beason said, giving his former University of Miami teammate the short deadline of this weekend's preseason game against the Jaguars. "You'll see it on the field. He'll get some reps in there at some point, I'm sure, and you'll see it right away."

That's what the Giants hope. So much so that they had Meriweather taking reps in practice on Sunday evening just hours after signing him. He didn't even have his name on the back of his practice jersey yet. By Monday's workout, his uniform was completed and he was with the defense making calls and checks with the first team.

There is no certainty that Meriweather will even be on the field for the Giants in the regular season. He might not be able to grasp the complex scheme that Steve Spagnuolo runs in the short amount of time before the season starts. He's 31 and coming off a toe injury that kept him away from any other team's roster until the Giants came calling. But given what they have at the position, anything Meriweather offers will be a difference.

"I think every player can make an immediate impact," he said. "What your impact is depends on you and what the coaching staff expects from you."

As long as Meriweather's impact is a positive, it'll be a decent signing. If the impact is on opposing helmets, as it often has been with a player Beason said used to be called "Killer B" by Miami teammates because he "literally would take people's heads off," then it could turn out badly.

"That's the type of guy you want back there in your secondary," Beason said.

Is it? That's the question the Giants faced this weekend. And answered, devil may care.


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