Quinton Dunbar questionable as questions swirl

Brian Tinsman
December 02, 2018 - 9:45 pm
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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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Quinton Dunbar is listed as "Questionable" for Monday night, or approximately a 50 percent chance to play. According to 2016 data by The San Diego Union-Tribune, Jay Gruden's Redskins actually lead the league in Questionable players participating in the game (92 percent), which might give fans hope that Dunbar will suit up in a critical NFC East primetime huddle.

He almost certainly will not after suffering nerve damage that leaves his timeline for return frustratingly unclear.

"They kind of have it narrowed down to what it is and where it is," head coach Jay Gruden told the media this week. "It’s just a matter of when he feels comfortable, where he can actually push off and run fast."

Asked when that might be, Gruden was honest: "I don't know...He'll get it back, eventually. I just don’t know when."

Dunbar has had leg issues for most of the season but has been brilliant when healthy. Just look at the team's Thanksgiving Day game vs. Dallas: when Dunbar was healthy, he matched up well with Amari Cooper.

Once his leg started bothering him again, Dunbar simply could not keep up. He and the Redskins' defense were roasted for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

"I think he can run a little bit but when he tries to put a lot of weight on it and push and extend his speed, that's where I think he has trouble," Gruden said. "He loses function as far as power in his leg. It feels weak.

"This is a unique deal. When you're talking about the nerve and you're talking about that area for a guy who utilizes his speed, it's tough. We're trying to do everything we can as far as rehab is concerned, seeing the doctors and specialists for the nerve, but at the end of the day, it's all about what he feels comfortable with. Last week, he felt comfortable enough to play but, you could see he was struggling with it as the game went on."

Weak means slow. Slow means the Redskins need help from the likes of reserves Greg Stroman and Danny Johnson. 

Stroman is a local product who went to Virginia Tech and was taken in the seventh round of this year's draft. He got his first career start vs. Dallas in the first matchup this season and he took his lumps, biting on routes that veterans might leave alone. Chalk it up to youthful exuberance, but his teammates believe he can get the job done.

"He was phenomenal," Josh Norman told the Richmond Times-Dispatch after the game. "He did the things he needed to do. We’re going to coach him up more. Going into this week, we’re going to need him like all of the other guys we’re going to need. It’s that next-man-up mentality, and we have to keep this thing going."

The same applies this week, and every week until Dunbar can return to the field.

 

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