Josh Norman avoided a major injury, but the Washington Redskins cornerback will still be out about a month.
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Norman had held out hope that he’d play Monday, having increased his activity Thursday and Friday. He was limited, but he did participate in individual drills. Norman did not practice Saturday, and coach Jay Gruden said he had yet to be cleared by doctors.
Josh Norman suffered a rib fracture and small damage to his lung lining during Monday night’s loss, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.
Wednesday’s news is a good turn for Norman, who appears to have avoided a possible punctured lung or other severe internal damage. Even if he does miss a game or two, Washington should get their top corner back sooner rather than later.
Another big topic last season involved who he defended in a game — if he’d stay on the left side or rotate to cover the opposition’s best receiver. Before the season began, then-coordinator Joe Barry said he didn’t want to move him around. But late in a Week 2 loss to Dallas, Norman started covering Dez Bryant no matter where he aligned. After that game, the Redskins used Norman on either side when desired.
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Part of it stems from scheme: They will run a lot of pick or rub routes. But some of it stems from Carr’s accuracy and timing. He doesn’t need to always throw downfield to move the offense. On one route against the Jets, for example, receiver Michael Crabtree was breaking behind a linebacker in zone coverage about seven yards off the ball. He wasn’t yet open, but Carr was already getting ready to throw the ball. So when Crabtree hit the open spot, the ball was already in place, and it led him into eight more yards.
Making plays, after all, is why they signed Norman to a contract that averages $15 million per year, which was highest in the NFL for a cornerback at the time he signed and is No. 2 now. In Carolina, Norman also played with more talent. The Panthers placed four defenders in the Pro Bowl after that 15-1 season — that’s the combined total of Pro Bowl defenders Washington has had since 2012.
Norman and Bryant tangled with each other after a Week 12 game last season. Television replays appeared to show Norman taking a swing and throwing a towel at Bryant, and both players took verbal shots at each other after the game.
“They come back at you in a way like cheap nfl jerseys, ‘He’s not going to punk me! He’s not going to sissy me out!’ All right! But then when you go and you do things you’re not accustomed to doing, that’s pretty much what it is,” Norman told the website.
Norman works on his coverage skills after every practice, sometimes for more than a half-hour. And he knows it’ll take more game speed to fully get his timing down with where he needs to drop, or where he must look and for how long.
After the game, Washington cornerback Josh Norman blasted the Raiders’ receivers. The postgame rant, Norman said, stemmed from pregame banter in which the wideouts claimed they’d go off for 200 yards.
The Redskins are concerned Norman suffered a a possible internal injury, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. They are particularly concerned he is dealing with a possible lung issue, Rapoport added.
Gruden said Norman will continue to be evaluated and didn’t say after the game what the timeline for Norman’s recovery could be. They also can have Norman stay on his side and, if the top target is on the other side, the Redskins can then focus more help to that part of the field.
That’s what the Redskins are counting on. By having Norman play more off the ball more than in 2016, they’re hoping it leads to big plays. He played this way two seasons ago for Carolina and it led to four interceptions, including two pick-sixes, and three forced fumbles. Last season, he was used a little differently and intercepted three passes with no scores. However, playing with an injured right hand against Cincinnati, he did drop one that would have been a pick-six.