For the time being, it still makes sense to think about cornerback Fabian Moreau in relation to safety Montae Nicholson.
Drafted one round apart last year by the Redskins, the pair of defensive backs missed all of their new team’s offseason workouts and a significant portion of training camp due to college injuries. Once they took the field, however, they showed flashes of their athleticism and talent that Washington believes will blossom in their second seasons.
“That’s my brother at the end of the day,” Moreau said of Nicholson following Wednesday’s practice during the third week of OTAs. “We talk all day every day.”
Here’s photos from the Washington Redskins OTAs practice that took place Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.
Moreau, much like Nicholson, will compete for a starting role this year, and being able to participate in his first round of OTAs, along with minicamp next week, has given him an increased sense of confidence and comfort.
“I missed a lot last year and it really set me back,” Moreau said. “This year, I’m in the playbook, I’m getting the reps. I feel a lot better out there.”
Moreau made his first big impression on special teams last year in a preseason game against the Packers, racing down the field as a gunner on a punt and making a perfectly timed tackle that forced a fumble. It was the first time really showing off his speed, the trait he didn’t get to display much during the draft process.
He played in all 16 games for the Redskins, adding necessary depth as multiple players fell to injury, and collected 14 tackles with one pass defensed, mostly playing in the slot when called upon in nickel and dime packages.
That’s a place he has split his time over the last few weeks, though Moreau said he believes the coaches see him ultimately playing on the outside, where he’ll have competition with Quinton Dunbar. So far, being present for OTAs has allowed Moreau to home in on the specifics of the defense, which he never got a chance to do last year.
“[He’s] just doing a great job of just understanding and recognizing splits, understanding when he can take his chances and he has,” defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said of Moreau. “And he’s done a great job.”
The addition of wide receiver Paul Richardson Jr, a speedy deep threat able to line up on the inside and outside, has given Moreau a worthy, and familiar, opponent in practice, too. Moreau remembers matching up with Richardson in a 2013 game between UCLA and Colorado.
Richardson ended up with seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown that Moreau, only a sophomore at the time, couldn’t deflect in the end zone.
“I remember that game in the back of my head. I did alright,” Moreau said. “That was my first year starting, first year at corner really. To go against him, I did good. I held my own. He made a couple of plays on me.”
Moreau, in his limited time lining up against him, knows not much has changed with Richardson.
“He’s quick. He’s got good routes, he’s good at the line, patient, patient receiver,” Moreau said. “He brings a lot to the table.”
On defense, Moreau is ready to do the same.