Brandon Meriweather walked off the field flashing his trademark smile. His right knee still isn’t completely healthy after a torn ACL ended his 2012 season, but the Washington Redskins safety hasn’t let that dampen his mood.

“I can’t wait for the season to start,” he said more than three months from Week 1. “I’m like a little kid in a candy store right now.”

Forget even about the start of the season. Meriweather hopes to be doing drills with his teammates by the start of training camp.

If he is, the veteran will be the centerpiece of a secondary that could include a few rookies and a much different look than last year. Cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson are back and Meriweather could contribute more than during an injury-plagued 2012, while newcomers like E.J. Biggers and third-round pick David Amerson make this unit the biggest unknown on the Redskins‘ defense.

“I could tell you this: It’s going to be competitive,” Meriweather said. “It’s going to be a lot of great players on the field at once, and the best man going to win and we’re going to have a great year.”

Last year wasn’t so great for a maligned secondary that contributed to the NFL’s 30th-ranked pass defense. Meriweather’s knee injuries and suspensions to Tanard Jackson and, later, Cedric Griffin, kept the group from being together at any point.

Meriweather knows the guys around him will be different when 2013 starts. But with offseason team activities ongoing and the 29-year-old unable to participate as he works his way back, that’s not at the forefront of his mind.

“I haven’t thought about the depth chart, period,” he said. “The only thing I’m thinking about now is me getting my knees right and me finding a way to compete with the rest of these guys.”

Meriweather didn’t have much of a chance to compete in his first season with the Redskins. He sprained the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee in preseason, then suffered a setback Sept. 30 when wide receiver Aldrick Robinson collided with him during pregame warm-ups.

One impressive game Nov. 18 against the Philadelphia Eagles featured seven tackles and an interception before Meriweather suffered a torn ACL that ended his season. He conceded it was a “tough” year, but the upbeat strong safety isn’t sulking about a lost season.

“The way I look at it is that God gave me a year to rest my body,” Meriweather said. “He added two more years on my career, that’s how I look at it. Everybody say I kept getting injured, but I say it was a ‘Get healthy’ year.”