Don't expect any Allen Iverson-esque,"Practice, we're talking practice" type talk from Josh Norman. When the cornerback explains about why he's attending Organized Team Activities with the Washington Redskins, the answer isn't about justifying the massive contract he signed with his new team. The answer also comes across as sincere. As defensive coordinator Joe Barry noted, this guy isn't just about the spotlight, but the work that puts you there, the work a team, a unit needs to achieve their goals.
"Shoot, you saw today. Building that camaraderie in the defensive backfield," Norman said when asked why he feels it's important to show for the non-mandatory OTA sessions. "Everybody on the same page. It works just like that. When you're not here, you're missing, you don't what the other guys [inaudible]. I'm fresh so they don't really know how I would play things."
Norman's enthusiasm pulsates further when he imagines what's in store for opposing passing attacks this coming season. ProFootballFocus.com ranked the Redskins' cornerbacks, headlined by Norman, Bashaud Breeland and Quinton Dunbar, third among 32 NFL teams. The safety unit underwent an overhaul with the addition of free agent David Bruton; DeAngelo Hall and Will Blackmon transitioning from corner and Duke Ihenacho returning from a season-ending injury,
"You got [Bruton] back there. Then you got D-Hall. Come in with [Dashaun Phillips] 35 -- I call him 'Mighty Mouse' -- then you bring in Breeland on the other side. It's just, shoot man, [chuckles], any foes that see us, that's a challenge, man. We just want to keep being better each and every day in these OTA sessions."
After three weeks of OTA sessions, Norman's grasp on the new playbook has grown to the point where he "can move like I was back in Carolina." Two days of dealing with wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who skipped Wednesday's session, helped the cause.
"That's what makes you become better and better and better," Norman said of defending one of the NFL's premier deep threats during practices."
Only one team finished better last season than Norman's Carolina Panthers. Bruton played for that team, the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. As tradition dictates, the Broncos were honored with a White House visit last week. Bruton made the trip from Ashburn to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue where he met with President Barack Obama. Norman did not.
"I kind of let him have his day," Norman joked. "He came back and he said he was at the White House or something. I'm like, 'You suck.You really suck' and I left it alone and walked out.
The Pro Bowl corner admitted the conversation brought back the pain of losing Super Bowl 50. That setback certainly won't prevent Norman from talking or working at getting another shot.
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