The mouthy Washington corner didn’t have a great first week — not because he got smoked, but with the Steelers shifting Antonio Brown into matchups against Bashaud Breeland and Brown setting Breeland’s life on fire, everyone was left to wonder why Norman wasn’t shadowing the best wideout in the NFL. He is, after all, the best cornerback on Earth and a top-five corner of all-time. Just ask him!
The presumptive logic was a schematic decision by the Redskins on defense to take away half the field (like the Panthers did with Norman), but Giants wideout Victor Cruz believes it was Norman’s choice to avoid Brown.
“Especially if he calls himself — I don’t call him this, he calls himself — the best corner in the league, then you have to cover the best receivers on the other team,” Cruz said Wednesday via the New York Post. “Going in I thought he was going to follow AB all over the place, but he didn’t, so it is what it is. He made his choice.'”
“It’s always his choice. He can go to the powers that be and say, ‘Hey, I want to cover this guy.’ And if they say no, if maybe he did that and they said no, then I’ll have to eat my words. But for the most part you can go and make that request, I’m sure.”
It’s understandable to want and see Norman on Brown. Norman got $75 million this offseason from the Redskins, making him the highest-paid cornerback in the league. You don’t buy a 1958 Ferrari F250 Spider so it can sit in a giant glass room and you can talk about how pretty it is.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who also received a massive contract from the Giants this offseason, echoed similar sentiments, saying for Norman’s cash he should be locking down the best receivers in football.
“I think when you’re paying somebody 70 mil, there shouldn’t be no game plan,” Jenkins. “The game plan should be: ‘You’re on this guy.’ That’s what it is.”
But here’s the thing: Brown was going to torch no matter who covered him. He’s that good, hands down the best receiver in the game right now. He’s also a terrible matchup for Norman because of his size and speed.
The question is really going to pop up over the next two weeks when Norman faces off against the Cowboys — with Dez Bryant — and the Giants — with a trio of dangerous receivers in Odell Beckham, Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard — as to whether or not he was worth the money they gave him.
Norman is a very good cornerback. He’s capable of making big plays and locking down big-time receivers. But if the Redskins paid him $75 million so Breeland can get smoked on a weekly basis, it is going to look like a questionable investment.
At least it’s entertaining!
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Multiple members of the Giants mock Josh Norman for not covering Antonio Brown