Josh Norman surprisingly named a Pro Bowl alternate for 2017

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Josh Norman was named a 2018 Pro Bowl alternate. Given his play in 2017, this accolade is somewhat of a surprise.

Before the 2017 season, the secondary was looking like a potential strength for the Washington Redskins. With Josh Norman coming off a strong season, Bashaud Breeland looking for a bounce back campaign, and Kendall Fuller improving during the offseason, the cornerback groupd had teh potential to be very strong. However, that hasn’t entirely materialized so far.

Fuller has played at a high level this season. Breeland has been burned a few times, but generally has been strong. Surprisingly, Norman appeared to be the weak link of their starting corners. After suffering a rib injury early in the season, Norman has been burned frequently and has many Redskins fans questioning what’s wrong with him. Some think he’s banged up, others think he’s not putting forth a great effort due to the Redskins record. No matter what’s impacting his play, he has had a mediocre season at best.

Advanced statistics back this up. Pro Football Focus is grading Norman as the No. 54 overall corner this year which constitutes an average ranking based on their system. And in terms of the eye test, Norman passed early in the year but post-injury he just hasn’t been the same.

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With that said, it was somewhat of a surprise to see Norman named as a Pro Bowl alternate. To be frankly honest, there have been plenty of cornerbacks who have played better than Norman this season in the NFC. He hasn’t even been the best corner on his team this year. That honor would go to Fuller, who probably deserved the Pro Bowl nod over Norman. What this boils down to is name recognition and reputation.

One of the flaws in Pro Bowl voting is that reputation can sometimes lead to players making the final cut. That’s why Trent Williams has made it in for six straight years. He’s just that good and everyone knows it. However, reputation can sometimes lead players having a down season, in this case, Norman, to be elected when they don’t necessarily deserve the nomination in a given year. But the fans want what the fans want, and that’s why Norman is an alternate.

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Normally, Norman would be a more than deserving candidate to make it into the actual Pro Bowl as a starter or backup. But this year, he just shouldn’t have made it. Fuller deserved the recognition more, but at the end of the day, it’s not a big deal. Perhaps this honor will motivate Norman to play better in the final two weeks and that could give him some momentum going into 2018.