Quinton Dunbar's 2018 season started off as a mystery: How would the corner handle his first real chance to be a starter for the Redskins?
Dunbar quickly answered that question, though, starring in the team's Week 1 opener in Arizona and playing like the team's top cover guy for the first month or so of the campaign.
However, in mid-October, another mystery emerged for Dunbar, and this time, no clear answer followed. The defensive back began dealing with a nerve injury that sidelined him for two stretches of multiple games, and he ultimately had to be placed on injured reserve because of it.
Jay Gruden called it a "unique deal" in early December, just before Dunbar ended up on I.R. "He loses function as far as power in his leg. It feels weak," Gruden said.
That's what made seeing "Dunny" back in action at Tuesday's mandatory minicamp so encouraging. No. 23 lined up for plenty of snaps, including some 11-on-11s, after being present in Ashburn the past few weeks at OTAs but not participating.
"Injury-wise, I feel awesome," he said afterward. "Still getting back into the flow, football shape."
The 26-year-old was then asked if he's fully figured out the leg issue that prevented him from totally breaking out last year. He answered rather confidently.
"It was never a mystery," Dunbar said. "I knew what it was and the doctors knew what it was. Everybody portrayed it to be a mystery but we knew exactly what we had to work on and fix."
If that's the case, then Washington should be very pleased. To his credit, Dunbar tried to return a few times in 2018, yet he was clearly less effective once the shin was compromised. If that's fully behind him like he explained, then there should be lots of optimism that he can continue to develop into the feisty and physical player he's already largely become.
Dunbar wasn't the only vital part of the secondary who reappeared on Tuesday. Josh Norman was back as well, giving new assistant coach Ray Horton his first chance to evaluate his full collection of options. And while Dunbar was working mostly with the second-stringers, Gruden revealed at the podium that's simply part of the plan.
"We will build and add more to his reps as the next day comes about," the head coach said.
Dunbar's top moment of the day came early, when he drove hard on a Dwayne Haskins pass and broke it up. In fact, he almost read the play too well; if he got there a step later, he would've had a better chance at intercepting the ball, which was a bit too high for him to snag.
Like everyone wearing Burgundy and Gold these days, Dunbar was prompted to give his early thoughts on the rookie QB.
"One of the best arms I've ever seen," the DB said.
"Looking forward to him winning games for us this year," he also added, before realizing his minor slip-up. "Or whenever he starts."
At least on that quick pivot, Dunbar's shin worked just fine.
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