The transition to the NFL was not an easy one for Kareem Moore.
Still, the young safety from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., was able to prove himself as a reliable backup and special teams standout last season.
"I see a lot of potential in him," Rock Cartwright said. "I've seen him continue to progress and get better week-in and week-out."
After sitting out the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury, Moore finally made his NFL debut against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. He registered one special teams tackle in a game the Redskins won 24-17 at FedExField.
Moore, a sixth-round pick (180th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft, put together his best game in his first month as a Redskin during Washington's 26-24 win at Dallas.
Moore led Washington with six special teams tackles and helped limit the Cowboys' Felix Jones to an average of 13.5 yards on four kickoff returns. Entering the game, Jones was ranked the second-best kickoff returner in the NFL.
Playing on special teams came naturally for Moore, but he admitted that the rest of his game is still a work in progress.
He was caught out of position at a key moment during the Redskins' Week 6 game against St. Louis and allowed the Rams to pull off a big play, resulting in a 19-17 loss at FedExField.
"The speed of the game, everybody talks about it, but you really don't realize it until you get in there," the 5-11, 213-pound Moore said. "Everything is happening so fast and you're going against somebody good every week. It's not like it is in college where there are only a couple of good people on each team."
Later in the season, Moore earned the trust of defensive coaches and saw more playing time in nickel and dime packages.
The 24-year-old native of Oklona, Miss., got a late start on his football career, playing only one season in high school.
After a stint in Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, Moore played two seasons at Nicholls State, registering 181 tackles, five interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Learning to play safety at the NFL level is an experience Moore shared with fellow rookie Chris Horton, a seventh-round pick who has become one of his closest friends on the team.
"From day one, Chris and I hit it off," Moore said of Horton, who grew up in the New Orleans area before heading to UCLA for his college football career. "Chris and I--we're close. We go to the games together, we go bowling together."
When asked about Horton's early success, Moore broke out with a big grin, saying: "Chris is playing well for a rookie. He's playing very well for a player, period."
Horton, who in September was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month, says Moore has a lot to offer the Redskins' defense as he gets up to speed with the pro game.
"I didn't know Kareem was as fast as he was," Horton said. "He can really run and he can really put a good pop on you, too."
Moore and Horton spent time together watching film last season and they helped each other understand what the opposing team's offense was trying to accomplish.
Horton's not the only person in Washington's defensive backfield to have noticed Moore's set of skills.
"Kareem can step in there and go sideline to sideline as a free safety and be very physical," LaRon Landry said. "He just needs to continue doing what he has been doing and work hard every day."
Moore said fellow defensive backs Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs, Reed Doughty and Landry helped him adjust to the NFL.
Moore also sought guidance from London Fletcher, one of the Redskins' defensive leaders.
"I talk with London a lot," he said. "He tells me all his rookie stories. He tells me I just have to keep pressing on, that everybody messes up once in a while and you just have to keep working through it if you want to improve at this level."