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Breeland ready for spotlight matchup vs 49ers WR Garcon

Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland greets teammates before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP photo

Pierre Garcon is coming back to town. Bashaud Breeland is ready and excited. There is the chance to face his former teammate Sunday when the Washington Redskins host Garcon’s San Francisco 49ers. There is also the likelihood of being part of one of the game’s key matchups.

With Josh Norman sidelined for at least the Week 6 matchup with a rib injury, Breeland becomes Washington’s de facto top corner. For a player who has sought recognition at times in his career and becomes a free agent next season, such spotlight opportunities against the opponent’s top wide receiver are desirable.

“It’s a hell of an opportunity for me and the other corners to go out there and present ourselves in a way with our brother (Norman) being out,” Breeland told FanRag Sports. “We just have to out there and do what we’ve been doing. Strap up until our brother is back.”

The 49ers passing game isn’t a major threat. They are tied for 29th with four touchdown passes through five weeks and rank 27th with 6.2 yards per attempt average. Quarterback Brian Hoyer’s experience presents some danger, but he’s simply a stop-gap until the 49ers either draft a quarterback next year or sign a free-agent passer. And there’s no truth to the rumor Kirk Cousins heads west immediately if the 11-point underdogs shock the favored Redskins.

Then there is Garcon, who signed a free-agent contract with San Francisco this offseason after five years with the Redskins. Though he hasn’t scored yet, Garcon ranks eighth in the league with 379 receiving yards on 28 receptions. His presence gives Hoyer a reliable option, something Cousins hasn’t always had this season at receiver.

Yet the Redskins showed scant interest in bringing back their leading receiver. Whether or not that provides Garcon extra motivation Sunday, his usual anger will be readily on display.

“Yeah, he’s always been angry. [Pierre] was angry at me the whole time he was here,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden cracked. “I think that’s what people appreciate about him – when you compete with him or against him – you see the anger that he plays with on tape. It’s not a bad thing; it’s a good thing for a wide receiver.”

It’s a good thing the Redskins have ample depth with Norman out. Slot corner Kendall Fuller has become a steady part of Washington’s revamped secondary. Quinton Dunbar, who replaces Norman in the starting lineup, and rookie Fabian Moreau are “very, very fast” Gruden said. Yet Breeland gets that main-event matchup.

The fourth-year cornerback knows that fury is coming along with Garcon’s vibe and on-field moves. Those countless practices at Redskins Park and during training camp provide a solid knowledge base. The intrigue comes with what both have added.

“It’s going to be fun,” Breeland said. “We never saw each other in a game-like atmosphere. We always [went] against each other in practice. In practice, you get to know each other a little bit. Now that we’ve both been away from each other, it’s going to be interesting to really see what we know from each other’s game.”

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