After switching from wide receiver to cornerback a week ago, Quinton Dunbar showcased a strong performance Thursday in his NFL debut vs. the Browns.
When Quinton Dunbar joined the Redskins in May, he was considered the 12th wide receiver on the roster -- an unideal, if unknown, place to vouch for the 53-man final squad. But in three months, and specifically the last seven days, Dunbar is in a position, quite literally, with a better chance at survival.
Here's an exclusive look from the Washington Redskins' sideline during their preseason Week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns.
Lining up at cornerback in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's 20-17 victory over the Browns, Dunbar made two consecutive plays – a pass deflection and a tackle – that gave coaches a window into his potential as a fledgling defensive back.
"I'm still learning on the fly," Dunbar said. "I still feel kind of weird over there but I'm getting better day by day just by competing and following the technique."
Facing the Browns' third string offense under quarterback Connor Shaw, Dunbar lined up against wide receiver Darius Jennings midway through the fourth quarter. In a third-and-three situation, Jennings attempted a seam route over the middle that Dunbar sniffed out and swatted the incoming ball away, using his long right arm to reach over without making any contact.
The next play, the Browns completed a 4-yard pass to wide receiver Spergon Wynn, whom Dunbar wrapped up just after inching across the first down marker.
Regardless of that final result, Dunbar was able to highlight two of his skills – coverage and tackling –in consecutive plays.
"I mean it was a fun experience. I just went out there and competed and made a couple plays, that's it," Dunbar said, downplaying his evening.
In reality, he was right. It was just a couple of plays.
But the 6-foot-2, 201-pound Florida product has the kind of measurables that head coach Jay Gruden believes will benefit him immensely on the defensive side of the ball, just as it did Thursday. Getting help from veteran cornerbacks like DeAngelo Hall and Chris Culliver should help, too.
"Once I went over there, [Chris] Culliver kind of took me under his wing because he says he could see how good I could be," Dunbar said. "So he just helped me with my technique telling me to be comfortable and just go out there and play football and that's it's just football at the end of the day."
Dunbar knows "just football" can mean a variety of things, but as he's received extra help from defensive backs coach Perry Fewell, he knows the best way to continue his progression is, like always, through mechanics and repetition.
Games like Thursday's just add reinforcement.
"It definitely gives you a little bit more confidence," he said. "I feel like I can really play this position if I continue to work hard and work on your technique. Technique is the big point of playing cornerback."