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Rookie Playmaker Jimmy Moreland Shines In Preseason Opener


Jimmy Moreland no longer needs a label on the front of his helmet displaying his last name. After standing out throughout offseason workouts and training camp, the seventh-round rookie corner transferred his playmaking abilities to football's biggest stage.

In his professional debut, James Madison's all-time interception leaders recorded five solo tackles, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles, one of which completed an inspiring goal-line stand.

"He was active," head coach Jay Gruden said following the Redskins' 30-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday. "He's been active the entire camp. He did some good things. I'm glad the game wasn't too fast for him."

Moreland's rise to becoming "The People's Corner" began shortly after the draft. After recording three interceptions during a single OTA session -- something defensive coordinator Greg Manusky has never seen in his nearly two decades of coaching -- his impact stayed consistent throughout offseason workouts. The 5-foot-11, 182-pound defensive back just had a nose for the football.

Moreland's primary role within the defense is not yet defined, as he played on the outside and in the slot in the preseason opener. The clearer path to more playing time seems to be in the slot, where him and Fabian Moreau have been working with the starters during training camp. Veterans Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar are currently the listed starting corners.

Still, Gruden may have a difficult time keeping Moreland off the field, especially if the young corner continues to perform like he did Thursday.

"He made some plays," Gruden said of Moreland, "so yeah I was pretty impressed.

Moreland's public image grew even larger Friday night, as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to a minor league baseball game between the Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Bowie Baysox. "Its been wonderful," Moreland said of the past two days.

In just under a week, Moreland will make his FedExField debut in the Redskins' preseason home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. It's another opportunity for him to show he belongs.

"I just need to go back and watch film of myself," Moreland said. "It's still preseason so we aren't really watching film on teams like that. ...I just need to go over my technique, see how I was playing things so I can do better."