Yes, Josh Norman is balling. Better than any other cornerback in the NFL, better than at any point in his career.
Through two games, Redskins CB Josh Norman is the league’s leading cornerback, with a 91.6 overall grade—a higher mark even than his 87.9 from last season.
Norman has been thrown at eight times when acting as the primary coverage defender, allowed three receptions for 40 yards, and has a pair of pass breakups in each game. What’s maybe more impressive is his stat line against two of the best receivers in the game:
Redskins WR Josh Norman versus No. 1 WRs in 2016
Of course, a point of contention for many is the limited amount of snaps the Redskins have used Norman on the opponent's best receivers. Brown and Bryant put up big stats against others corners in those games. PFF notes Seattle uses its elite CB, Richard Sherman, in a similar way to how Washington is using Norman. Of course, the Redskins changed course in the second half against Dallas.
From that point, Norman was asked to start following Bryant. When the fourth quarter opened, Norman was lined up one-on-one against the Cowboys’ top WR on the right side of the defense, a departure from his usual spot on the left. Strangely, there was no straw that broke the camel’s back to cause the change—the team just decided to make the switch heading into the final period.
In the final quarter of the game, Norman lined up across from Bryant on 13 snaps, 11 of which came on the right side of the defense. There were only three snaps in which Bryant was on the field that Norman didn’t follow him in the final period, as well as two snaps for which Bryant wasn’t on the field at all.
Bryant had seven catches for 102 yards in the game, but only one of those catches came in the final quarter—and that was on one of the three snaps where Norman was not lined up across from him.
It should be noted that regardless of where Norman lined, Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott completed 10 of 12 passes in the second half with many coming on the 80-yard go-ahead scoring drive after repeatedly fooling the Redskins defense with play-action and bootlegs in the first half. The defensive issues aren't just about where to use Norman. What's rather clear is that when it comes Norman's play, there have been scant issues at all.