Redskins will let Josh Norman shadow the best receiver
By Ian Cummings
Josh Norman is on the move.
No, don’t worry, he’s still with the Redskins, and he’ll be an important piece in the secondary for the foreseeable future. But according to a recent report from ESPN’s John Keim, don’t expect Josh Norman to be relegated to one side of the field. The corner will certainly work out his cardio next season.
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"The Washington Redskins were reluctant to make the switch early last season, until success and perhaps a little pressure changed their minds. So they started to let corner Josh Norman shadow the opposition’s best receiver.There won’t be any hesitancy to use that tactic this season, but it doesn’t mean they always will.“It’s hard for them to travel at times, but will we do that? Yeah,” Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said."
The statement, albeit brief, says a lot about the confidence that the Redskins have in Norman. The corner is fresh off another stellar season, and in an improving defense, he should be able to keep improving his play. He’ll certainly need to stay sharp. In 2017, he’ll go against the likes of Alshon Jeffery, Dez Bryant (although he isn’t scared of Dez), and Odell Beckham Jr. twice. None of them will be interested in any small talk with the All-Pro cornerback.
The Redskins were cautious with Norman coming out of the gates in 2016, keeping him in one spot, as opposed to having him follow the No. 1 receiver. This strategy proved to be ineffective, as Antonio Brown burned the Redskins’ secondary in week one. Although his onslaught was more the fault of the safeties than Bashaud Breeland, onlookers questioned why Norman wasn’t following Brown.
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The Redskins slowly changed their strategy as the season went along, and it paid dividends. Norman continued his previous success in with the Redskins, logging three interceptions and 19 pass deflections in 2016. He’ll have to be on top of his game in 2017, as he’ll be facing the best player week in and week out. But don’t worry. Josh Norman relishes the challenge.