Safety shows optimism he will return after bye

Safety Brandon Meriweather is a long shot to play vs. the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but the Redskins remain optimistic he will return after next week's bye. Meriweather has yet to play this season. He hurt his knee the week of the season opener and reinjured it in a pregame collision before a Week 5 game at Tampa Bay.

"I don't want to reinjure something," Meriweather said. "We have a long season ahead of us. We're trying to make sure when I come back it's not just for one game; it's for the rest of the season."

Meriweather said one consideration is giving him another week's rest. That, coupled with next week's bye, will put him in better shape for the final seven games. On the flipside, if he's healthy and ready, Meriweather wants to be on the field.

"I love football. Whether we were the No. 1 defense or the 32nd defense, I'm gonna still feel like I need to find a way to get back out there," Meriweather said. "It's not the fact we're struggling against the pass. I want to get out there with the guys I went through camp with, the guys who I look at in the face every day knowing I can't help."

Notes ยป Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said second-year receiver Aldrick Robinson will play more Sunday vs. Carolina. Shanahan liked the routes run by Robinson vs. Pittsburgh, particularly the stutter-step and go in the end zone that was nearly a touchdown. ...

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said doctors still haven't figured out exactly what is causing his balance issues, but he said they've "boiled it down so we'll work through it." Fletcher said he wasn't impressed with himself for playing vs. Pittsburgh, extending his streak to 232 consecutive games played.

But he admitted he was concerned about the balance issues.

"Sure it's scary," he said. "I would be lying if I said it wasn't on your mind. I'm happy to get some answers."