- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 20, 2017

LANDOVER — Redskins rookie Fabian Moreau sat out months with a torn pectoral he suffered at UCLA’s pro day in March. Even after he was drafted, Moreau didn’t start practicing until Aug. 12. So when he finally got his first taste of NFL action Saturday in the Redskins’ 21-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Moreau came in with a bang.

Moreau streaked down the sideline on the first punt of the game, laying into Packers return man Trevor Davis at Green Bay’s 16-yard line and forced a muffed catch. Niles Paul recovered and suddenly, the Redskins were in the red zone nearly two minutes into the first quarter.

But it was the mistakes that Moreau, with precious little NFL experience and still rediscovering his timing from his injury, focused on afterwards, circling back to one play in particular when Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis got loose on a deep ball for 38 yards in the second quarter.

“My technique was bad,” said Moreau, who had two tackles and a pass defended. “It can’t happen. I’ve got to get better.”

Moreau didn’t want to make any excuses for his play. His inexperience made him a routine target for Packers backup quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Jeff Callahan.

In addition to special teams, Moreau saw an extensive amount of reps. He played primarily with the Redskins’ second-string, which took over for the starting defense in the second quarter. He exited midway through the third quarter.

“I messed up a lot,” Moreau said. “There were a lot of mistakes that I’ve got to clean up, footwork, stuff like that. Just get better.”

There were flashes, however, in Moreau’s game that showed why the Redskins took him with a third-round pick, 81st overall in the draft. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he was pleased with Moreau’s play before he was asked.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock originally pegged Moreau as a first-round talent before his injury, which occurred while bench pressing weights. According to Mayock, at UCLA Moreau was a patient defender who could reroute receivers.

Gruden called Moreau a great athlete, saying there was no substitute for speed.

“He’s a big physical guy, and I think he’s got the talent and skill level to be a great player for us,” Gruden said. “But we have to get him taught up and let him play.”

Moreau said he’ll watch tape to see where he can improve. He said he enjoys playing special teams because it allows him to make plays (“Any way I can do it,” he said.).

And the Redskins’ other cornerbacks will take Moreau under their wings. Josh Norman defended Moreau’s positioning on the Janis reception. He said the timing of the ball got there faster than Moreau thought it would have.

Like most of the Redskins’ roster, Moreau’s development will be a process.

“I mean, you guys see it too,” Norman said of his potential. “So it’s no joke what he’s putting out there on the field. Obviously, he’s going to be a great talent in this league to come. But he’s still going to work on some things. We’ll get him better each and every day. He’s going to work with us. We’re going to get him to the level he needs to be.”

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