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How Fabian Moreau's steady presence has patched the Denver Broncos' secondary

Henry Chisholm Avatar
December 2, 2023

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Delarrin Turner-Yell doesn’t hear too much from his neighbor in the Broncos’ locker room.

“You can’t really get much out of him,” Turner-Yell told DNVR.

When Fabian Moreau arrived in Denver in August as a late addition to the Broncos’ secondary, Turner-Yell thought his new neighbor was a young player. But Moreau was a 29-year-old veteran with 45 NFL starts under his belt.

“I love Fab,” Turner-Yell said. “Great guy. Great personality. He’s really laid back.”

But Moreau doesn’t like to talk.

“You try to create a conversation with him and he’ll give you a little comment here and there, but you can’t really get much out of him,” Turner-Yell said.

That personality carries over during games.

“What amazes me is how calm he is on the field,” Turner-Yell said. “He’s never in a panic.”

Turner-Yell played extensively with Moreau in the Broncos’ Week 10 win over the Buffalo Bills, filling in for a suspended Kareem Jackson at safety.

Fabian Moreau (23) and Dealrrin Turner-Yell (32) combine to make a tackle in Buffalo. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

“Sometimes you see guys overreact whenever it comes time to make an open-field tackle,” Turner-Yell said. “Every time he’s had that he’s been very patient, very calm. With ball in the air—a 50-50 ball or something—he’s very calm with the ball in the air.”

Whatever Moreau is doing is working. By Pro Football Reference’s count, Moreau has allowed a 67.1 passer rating when targeted this season. Pro Football Focus has Moreau with a 57.9 rating this season.

“What I see from him is that everything about him is smooth,” Patrick Surtain II told DNVR. “He allows the game to play slow for him and he has a great feel for the game, which allows him to make plays and do everything he needs to do at a high level.”

Moreau took over the starting cornerback job across from Surtain in Week 7, when the Broncos’ coaches decided to shake up the starting lineup. He’d played about 30 snaps of defense up to that point, primarily as Denver’s dime cornerback.

The Broncos have won all five of the games Moreau has started.

“He’s a smart player because he’s been in the league for a good amount of time,” Surtain said of the seven-year veteran. “He’s seen it all. When you get a guy like that in the back end, it makes things easier, just knowing how smooth and poised he is.”

Moreau was a third-round draft pick out of UCLA in 2017. He played his first four seasons in Washington, his fifth in Atlanta and last year with the New York Giants. He’s started about half of the NFL games he’s appeared in, including two playoff games last year.

Fabian Moreau contests a catch against Adam Thielen in the Wild Card Round last season. Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m just happy to be on the field and be playing,” Moreau said. “So any opportunity I get, I’m just happy to be here.”

This defense doesn’t remind him of any he’s been a part of.

“The coverages, talent-level,” Moreau said of the differences. “There’s a lot of talent on this team and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Moreau was inserted into the Broncos’ starting lineup the same time Ja’Quan McMillian took over as the team’s nickel cornerback. They’ve worked together plenty over the past four months, which has created important chemistry.

“That kind of happened naturally,” McMillian said. “He don’t really talk too much. When stuff even goes wrong in the game sometimes, I’m looking at him, he just stays the same no matter what. He never gets too high and never gets too low. That’s my guy.”

Despite being one of the quieter people in the room, Moreau has been around to help.

“Although he really didn’t know us when he came in, if we—the young guys—had any type of question or anything like that, he always helped us out,” Turner-Yell said. “I love Fab. Great guy. Great personality. He’s really laid back.”

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