Josh Norman Will Shadow Odell Beckham Jr. On Sunday
Josh Norman will finally be shadowing a No. 1 receiver on Sunday. He will matchup against stud receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The Washington Redskins have apparently come to their senses. After spending a majority of the first two games locked on the left side of the field, star cornerback Josh Norman will shadow New York Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for a majority of the game on Sunday. The news was first reported by Britt McHenry of ESPN.
The only time Norman will not cover Beckham is when he is in the slot.
This is a move that was long overdue by the team. In the first two games of the season, opposing teams lined up their star receivers away from Norman. As a result, Bashaud Breeland was exposed. The third year cornerback was unable to cover Antonio Brown, the league’s best receiver, and only was decent against Dez Bryant. In the game against the Cowboys, the Redskins actually had Norman shadow Bryant in the fourth quarter and had strong results. In fact, according to Redskins SPORTalk, Norman has not allowed a completion when defending No. 1 receivers.
Norman has also been graded favorably in coverage by Pro Football Focus. They have him ranked as the top cornerback of the young 2016 season, sporting an overall grade of 91.5.
Metrics aside, anyone could tell you from just watching Redskins games that a change had to be made. The team did pay Norman $75 million after all. Why they were not utilizing him to the best of his ability remains a mystery. However, in the ESPN story, a reason for this decision was given:
"It’s a decision the coaching staff had wanted to make sooner, but the staff didn’t want to upset Bashaud Breeland. The corner wasn’t happy with the decision to assign Norman to the No. 1 receiver the last two weeks, so they backed off."
If this is true, then Jay Gruden and Joe Barry may need to be fired. There is no way that a coaching staff should cave to its players on matters of defensive scheme. That is especially a problem if they are caving to their second best cornerback. It some situations, a player can request an assignment, but the decision is ultimately left up to the coaching staff. If they let Breeland talk them into isolating Norman on one side of the field, then that is an absolutely weak move.
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For Week 3, the matchup between Beckham and Norman will be exciting. The last time these two met they were at each other’s throats all game. The two combined to commit four unnecessary roughness penalties and Beckham was suspended for a contest after essentially targeting Norman throughout the game. It will be interesting to see if their feud is still going full force. Even if it is not, then their matchup will still be fun to watch. The two are among the best at their respective positions.
The Redskins definitely made the right choice by planning to have Norman matchup with Beckham. It is a decision that should have been made sooner and one that could have benefitted the team in the first couple of weeks.
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