The Washington Redskins are figuring out what the Carolina Panthers already knew. Josh Norman is no shutdown corner and never should be considered elite. To mention him in the same breath as Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib or Patrick Peterson would do each of these players a disservice.
During the Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers game, there was a glaring hole in the Redskins defense and for $15M you better be able to play more than one side of the field. Throughout the game, not only I but the commentators often wondered the same. Why is Antonio Brown catching so many balls? The Steelers lined Brown up on the left side of the field, away from Norman, that’s smart football but why didn’t the Redskins just switch Norman over to cover Brown?
That’s the reason he’s being paid that type of money, right? This is what shutdown corners do, they cover the teams best receiver, not stick to one side of the field and shield the 2nd or 3rd best pass catcher, knowing the ball is not coming that way. Do you think Revis would just sit there and let Brown torch the defense without going to or ignoring the coaches orders and guarding Brown himself?
To be told by a coach to stay on one side of the field is one thing but as I watched Brown go in motion, run from the left side to the right I thought “here we go”, but nope, following him was Bashaud Breeland and switching to the opposite receiver was Norman. Have the Redskins figured out in Training Camp and preseason what the Panthers did that made them pull the Franchise Tag from Norman this offseason?
Norman has talent, but not enough of it to be considered one of the league’s best. He may want to be paid like a top corner but money doesn’t always make the man. In a division where Norman will play against the likes of Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr twice a season he must be willing to do more for the money he is being paid.