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Redskins Will Look To Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau While Josh Norman Is Sidelined


The Redskins' young depth at the cornerback position will take a step up in playing time as veteran Josh Norman works his way back from a rib injury suffered in Week 4.

Next man up is a mentality all NFL teams employ to their 53-man rosters, and it's not different for the Washington Redskins for this week and, potentially, in the weeks that follow.

During Washington's Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., cornerback Josh Norman was removed from the game with what was later diagnosed with a rib fracture.

After a few trips to the doctor, it's been determined that Norman will miss at least this week's game against the San Francisco 49ers and maybe a few games after that as well.

In his absence, the Redskins will look to Quinton Dunbar as the starting cornerback opposite Bashaud Breeland. Rookie Fabian Moreau, a third-round pick out of UCLA, could be used more frequently as well.

Dunbar, of course, is in his third season with the Redskins after an unlikely journey from undrafted wide receiver out of Florida to an active roster cornerback.

The 6-foot-2, 197 pounder has appeared in 29 regular season games over the course of his young career with four starts. So despite the fact he's seen just 47 defensive snaps this year.

"He's probably one of the guys, obviously that have come the longest way from obviously the college days of being a wide receiver to being a starting defensive back in the NFL in just over a year," said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. "It's a great story and a great tribute to him and how hard he works, and… how great his length is and how fast he is and how natural of an athlete he is.

"I'm excited to see him play on a longer basis, see what he can do because he can bump and run. He's got long arms and he can run, see how he does out in space. But we're excited to see him."

Gruden added that while Dunbar is still relatively new to the position, he has the mindset that he can "cover anybody, anytime, anywhere."

"That's a great mentality to have as a corner and that's the way he feels," Gruden said. "He's been out here at practice covering DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon last year, and this year with all these other guys. He's just, 'Line 'em up,' he's just bump and run. That's the mindset that he has and that's a great mindset to have. He's got a short memory. If he does get beat, he'll come right back up and play bump and run and cover you. We're excited to watch him play."

Breeland, meanwhile, said that Dunbar has shown some growth this offseason even though he's on the second team on the depth chart when everyone is healthy.

"He comes in, he's got to do what he's got to do," Breeland said. "There's no drop off."

As for Moreau, he's played only 19 defensive snaps this year while excelling on special teams. Like his draft classmate Montae Nicholson, Moreau spent much of the offseason and a good chunk of training camp rehabbing from a torn pectoral muscle suffered during UCLA's pro day.

His 4.35 speed and overall athleticism could be needed on Sunday against 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who competed in the long jump during the London Olympics in 2012.

So far this year, Goodwin is averaging 17.4 yards on his 14 receptions.

"Dunbar and Fabian both are very, very fast and that helps when you're playing against a world-class sprinter like Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick [Robinson]," Gruden said. "They're both very, very fast. So it's very important we try to match some speed with speed and those guys can both run, but still it's a great challenge. But their skill set is coming along.

"Fabian has not played a lot of pro football, has not gotten a lot of reps in game situations, but he might have to be thrown into the fire. We're trying to get him more and more reps as the season goes on. Dunbar will take over the starting reps right now while Josh is out, and we feel good about where he's at."

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