By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO The 2011 preseason AKA the Brandon Meriweather Cut Watch concluded Thursday night. And it ended with the former first-round safety running around the field in the fourth quarter of the final fake game. This, like so many other minor personnel moves during training camp, was immediately read as a bad sign for the Big Bang Clock.
Meriweathers job security and Hurricane Irene are running neck-and-neck as the No. 1 news stories for August (we hyperbolize). A safety comes in for a workout? Meriweathers meat. Two safeties? Definitely meat. A safety gets signed? Meriweathers screwed. James Sanders is on the field instead of Meriweather? Bye-bye Brandon. So what exactly did Meriweather make of being on the field during garbage time? Is it a sign that hes headed down the depth chart? I wouldnt say that, Meriweather told me after the Patriots' 18-17 loss to the Giants. Coaches want to see me play and the other guys play too. I wouldnt say its because Im going downhill or anything like that, its when Coach Belichick wanted to play me.Its more than plausible. The Patriots are trying to enmesh players who havent been on the field much Josh Barrett and Sergio Brown. Those two spent most of the first half on the field next to Patrick Chung showing what theyre capable of. Bill Belichick and his staff know what Meriweather can do. But at the same time, that could be a bad thing. Even though Meriweathers gone to the last two Pro Bowls, his shortcomings have been highlighted. Missed tackles and coverages. The fineable hit on Todd Heap. Being removed from the starting lineup for a few games last season. And an offseason incident in Florida in which shots were fired and Meriweathers name was bandied about before he was completely cleared of being anything other than a peacemaker. His body of work here is not viewed in a positive light. I told him people in the media believe his roster spot is in trouble. Why everybody feel like Im in trouble? he asked. Hey, maybe they know something we dont. Maybe they know something that Belichick didnt tell us. He usually comes and tell us if theres something going on. Hes good with stuff like that so, you know, Im just going to keep working hard and keep playing.Ive not been a card-carrying member of the Meriweather Fan Club. But I do think the cut watch has been overblown. The story is self-propelled at this point. Hes at virtually every practice and takes almost every rep. Hes athletic enough to be a first-round pick who probably would have gone higher were it not for stupidity at the U (and who among them . . . ? ). Hes a Pro Bowler in name alone. But he isnt a stiff by any stretch. I asked him if hes aware how much heat hes taking. I dont even read the newspaper, he insisted. I try to stay from all blogs and stuff like that. Ever since I was little, its always hard for me to get something good going about myself. Ever since I was 10 years old people been finding fault with me. Im used to it.Cutdowns come Saturday so well know soon enough whether all the harbingers of doom were really that. If Meriweather is released, he wont be the only one surprised. I havent heard that and I dont feel that way either, said Patrick Chung when asked about Meriweather. You gotta ask Coach (where he stands) but yes. Yes. Hes a good player. The other stuff, thats for Coach to answer or Brandon to answer. But is he a good player? Yes, hes a good player.On Meriweathers black t-shirt Thursday night was a yellow smiley face. The smiley face had two white, gloved hands. Each hand had its middle finger extended. Meriweathers last words before leaving the locker room, Someone told me a while back: If youre in any entertainment business, the last people you need to listen to is the media.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.