They weren’t flawless debuts, but rookie corner Fabian Moreau and rookie safety Montae Nicholson had impressive performances against Green Bay last weekend. Defensively, both had ample amount of playing time, and both were around the ball very often.
On special teams, both got in on tackles, with Fabian Moreau having two outstanding efforts as the Redskins gunner. Fabian and Montae with their versatility, and speed, have created tough roster decisions for the Redskins coaching staff prior to the season opener against the September 10th.
There was a penalty on outside linebacker Chris Carter on the play, however Nicholson displayed some range, and ability to defend the deep ball properly while staying in good position to do so.
Moreau’s speed throughout the game was on display. There was one specific play, where he gave up a deep pass to Packers receiver Jeff Janis in the second quarter. He was with the receiver the entire play, however turned his head around extremely late, making the reception easy for Janis. In his first pro game, that’s understood, and quite frankly he’s not the only Redskins defensive back who’s failed to turn their head around sooner this pre-season. That is easily correctable, but as you can see, Moreau’s coverage was encouraging.
If Moreau and Nicholson continue to prove themselves valuable in the following weeks, one of a few veterans may be a part of surprise cuts. Will Blackmon, Bashaud Breeland, and Quinton Dunbar are among three veterans immediately affected by the two rookie performances. With DeAngelo Hall likely starting the season on the PUP list, he’s not in danger of being cut. Blackmon’s performance against the Baltimore Ravens is what stands out at this point in his pre-season, with poor tackling angles and a muffed punt. Not to mention his age alone may convince the coaches to make a pro-Nicholson choice.
Bashaud Breeland, although 1-on-1 highlights from training camp may suggest he’s been terrible in coverage, hasn’t had many issues in full team scrimmages. The issue with Breeland has been mental. His 2014-2015 performances is what defines Breeland for me.
The 2016 season was rough, with the front office’s decision to sign Josh Norman, what was seemingly just a chip on his shoulder transformed into character and maturity questions. Questions that he is facing literally to this day. Breeland is in a contract year, currently fighting to prove he can tap into the rising star he once was.
In 2015, Quinton Dunbar was looking like an UDFA gem who, with time to develop, could prove to be that lengthy and aggressive corner the Redskins needed. He regressed in his second season as a pro, and with him being unable to make a big leap from year 2 to 3, Dunbar’s stock continues to drop with Moreau now back on the field.
There will be some surprising cuts in the next couple of weeks, but what are the chances any of those 3 get cut? Is it too early to say Montae Nicholson will make the roster?