BOSTON (CBS) -- Tom Brady is dealing with a bad left shoulder after getting crushed over the first five weeks of the 2017 season.
The injury kept Brady out of Tuesday's practice but isn't expected to sideline him for Sunday's game against the New York Jets. It's certainly one worth keeping a close eye on the rest of the season given the state of the New England offensive line.
And with Brady's ailment now out in the open, opposing defenses will be looking to use the injury to their advantage.
Former Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich for his weekly appearance on Wednesday, and said while players don't go out looking to hurt one another, they're going to try to cash in on Brady's bad shoulder.
"Normally, when you have someone who is that good, you really don't want to hurt anybody. But you use everything to your advantage," he said. "If I was playing against Tom, I would absolutely, 100 percent tell the defensive lineman, 'listen, when you hit him, fall on him. Make sure all 300-400 lbs fall on him.' I'm guaranteeing that every player is thinking 'we're going to hit Tom on that left shoulder.'"
Meriweather said he's never seen players target an injury with a cheap shot, but if players see something like a knee injury on the injury report you better believe they're going after that knee.
He added that no one lets up on Brady because he's Tom Brady, and when players don't hit him as hard as others it's more out of fear for getting a flag for hitting a super star in the NFL.
"How many people have you seen hit Tom and not get a 15-yard penalty? Tom is like the golden boy, like the favorite child. If you do something, you know you're going to get punished for it," he said.
While frustrating for defensive players, Meriweather says Brady has earned that special treatment.
"You respected it because his body of work is so good," said Meriweather.
Meriweather puts most of the blame for Brady's 16 sacks this season on the New England offensive line.
Listen to the full chat in the podcast above, including Meriweather's relationship with former Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster, and this week's edition of 5 Questions!
for more features.