Updated: May 11
Welcome back to The Burgundy and Gold Report. The buzz about the Redskins new look defense had fans excited, then came the embarrassing Monday night loss in New Orleans. The Redskins defense gave up 456 total yards with Saints QB Drew Brees accounting for over 300. The impressive performance by Brees let to a season high 43 points allowed by the Redskins defense. It was also a night in which Brees would surpass Peyton Manning for the NFL’s all time passing yardage record.
The defensive line has been the strength of the defense, but a legitimate question is who has been the weak link on defense? Through four games, Josh Norman has been the defense’s most disappointing player. Often opposing quarterbacks will avoid a defense’s top corner, but in the case of Norman he has simply blown game changing opportunities time and time again this season. The veteran corner has often attempted to punch out the football from the ball carrier rather than make the tackle. These blown plays have led touchdowns as well as big third down conversions for the opposition. Furthermore, opposing quarterbacks received the memo and will continue to target Norman.
After the game, Norman engaged in a twitter war of words with Saints receiver Michael Thomas. Norman threw out all the excuses he could come up with regarding his lackluster play while going back and forth with Thomas. The Skins defensive back later deleted the tweets and Thomas’s response as real as it gets.
“You corny for deleting your tweets @J_No24 we grown man walk it like you talk it. God ball con artist this my favorite part when we find out you not who you say you are.”
Many believe Thomas was taking shots at Norman’s appearance on the prime time reality dance competition Dancing with the Stars. Norman’s appearance on the show can’t be the sole reason for his sharp decline in play, but being labeled as a “Hollywood Diva” is a bad look. His play in 2017 was also disappointing, but many attributed it to his lingering rib issue from an injury he sustained versus Kansas City. Norman’s lack of hand usage at the line has contributed to his decline. Norman has clearly shown that something is not right. Using Norman in zone or press coverage has had similar results. The fact that Norman’s former coach in Carolina took a shot at the Redskins coaches for how they’ve used him is ridiculous. Norman is responsible for his drop in play, not the coaches.
Going forward, Washington has to figure out how they intend to utilize Norman. But, one thing’s for sure; His aggression level needs to improve. It’s not out of the question for a needy team to come calling Washington. It’s a long shot, but trading Norman is a possibility. Norman currently has a $13.5 million 2018 salary, so releasing him prior to 2019 would result in a large cap hit.
Keeping the cornerback needs to be evaluated as the the team currently sits second in the NFC East standings. At a minimum, Norman should be demoted to the dime corner, but his replacement, Greg Stroman, has shown he’s a liability in coverage as well. The free agent market needs to be revisited. Unfortunately the options are slim. That doesn’t mean that Washington can’t find a serviceable corner, but coaches will have their work cut out for them. This is the NFL in fact and talent is out there.
In the end the question remains Has Norman overstayed his welcome?
Written By Adam Aniba