- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2015

ASHBURN — Washington Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver did not participate in Thursday’s practice at Redskins Park as he continues to recover from injuries to his left leg.

Culliver was limited on Wednesday after feeling some soreness in his left knee, as well as his quad and groin areas. After Wednesday’s practice, coach Jay Gruden said his limited availability was, “precautionary, I believe, I’m hoping.”

Gruden said on Thursday the fact that Culliver not practicing was a cause for concern for his availability on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, though he reiterated the team is optimistic he will feel better on Friday.

“Any time a guy doesn’t practice on Thursday, there’s a level of concern,” Gruden said. “We are confident that he’ll feel better tomorrow. He was a little sore today, little knee inflammation, but hopefully it clears up by tomorrow.”

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is expected to be out three to four weeks after sustaining a grade-two toe sprain in last Thursday’s 32-21 loss to the New York Giants. The Redskins also placed corner Justin Rogers on injured reserve on Tuesday with a plantar fasciitis injury that kept him inactive the first three games.

The Redskins signed practice squad cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the active roster on Tuesday to add to the secondary depth. Dunbar, who was originally signed as an undrafted free agent from Florida in May, converted from wide receiver to cornerback during training camp.

If in fact Culliver is out Sunday, the Redskins will have just three healthy cornerbacks in Bashaud Breeland, Will Blackmon and Dunbar.

Blackmon, a slot corner, was signed on Sept. 15 to add depth to the secondary when Culliver was suspended during Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams. After Hall was injured against the Giants, the Redskins shifted Breeland outside and Blackmon played 29 defensive snaps as the nickel corner.

If Culliver is unavailable, Blackmon would likely play the slot again on Sunday with Breeland and Dunbar playing outside. On Wednesday, Dunbar said he has only practiced on the outside.

Dunbar was initially cut by the Sept. 5 deadline, but signed to the practice squad the next day.

The Redskins decision to sign Dunbar to the active roster instead of Deshazor Everett, who initially made the team’s 53-man roster, was based greatly on Dunbar’s size and speed. Standing at 6-foot-2, Dunbar has the prototypical build of an NFL corner and is two inches taller than Everett. That said, Gruden did not rule out the possibility of signing Everett if Culliver is unable to play.

“It was close between those two, we like both of them, we really do,” Gruden said. “So far, Quinton displayed some man-to-man skills we liked. He’s a little bit longer, little bit faster, but Deshazor can be pulled up soon if obviously Culliver has more issues, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Dunbar said on Wednesday he found out during the loss against the Giants that there was a good chance he would be signed from the practice squad.

At Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Dunbar played both offense and defense. He played cornerback and wide receiver all four years and never hesitated when he was asked to switch positions in training camp.

“I had no doubt in my mind,” Dunbar said. “I knew I could play ball — offense, defense, whatever. I felt like I’m a good enough athlete to do it. All it took was some time to get used to playing corner, learning the defense, and then I could start playing fast.”

The Redskins were intrigued by the idea of switching Dunbar to cornerback when they saw his ability to jam gunners on the punt return in training camp.
The chances were slim he would make the team as a receiver, so Dunbar embraced the switch.

From the moment he committed to the move, Barry said the Redskins have been impressed with his improvement, as well as his speed.

“He really can run, he’s a phenomenal athlete,” Barry said. “He can change direction. He’s just a kid that’s eager and hungry. Like I said, I think the thing that really gives him his chance is simply the physical traits that he has. He’s a big, long kid that can run. Those are places to start when you’re talking about an NFL corner.”

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