What makes a cornerback in today’s NFL controversial? Is it his style of play or aggression during each play? Is it his choice of words when speaking with the media? Maybe it’s how he expresses what’s on his mind. Perhaps it’s his style of dress or maybe the manner in which he conducts himself both on and off the field. Maybe it’s the way his inner man won’t allow opposing wide receivers to mistreat him within the rules of football. We’ve all seen it. A punch to the helmet, a hand smack, tugging on his facemask or the verbal sparring that crosses every gentleman’s line. Some might say it’s the way he interacts with his teammates, head coach and fan base.
If you guessed any of these, you’re not wrong. You’re actually describing Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. He is considered by many to be that controversial cornerback. In the minds of some, Norman likes to grab attention and walks around with an “I’m better than you” demeanor. Some think he dresses too flashy. There are many complaints and questions about why Josh Norman does this or that. Some find it difficult to accept his willingness to express himself without sugarcoating his reality.
Just ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. In an interview back in 2015 when Norman was asked how he felt about the league’s direction under Goodell, Norman wasted no time expressing his disappointment in many of Goodell’s decisions. Norman suggested that the NFL should appoint a board to enforce policies and hand out punishment, not just one person. This author believes those comments are what prompted Norman to be subjected to five “random” drug tests that were administered by the league all within the first six games of the 2016-17 season. There was also the 15-yard unnecessary or offensive gesture penalty against Norman for shooting an imaginary bow and arrow while off the field of play on his own Redskins sideline. We’ve witnessed other players be allowed to use tangible items as props, such as kicking practice field goal net or the Salvation Army deposit jug without being penalized as harshly as Norman.
One thing we can all agree on is Josh Norman is no pushover. If you bring it to him, he’s giving it back double. Whenever he and OBJ (Odell Beckham, Jr.) of the division rival New York Giants compete, it’s must see TV! Both players have an honest pure dislike for one another, while at the same time having respect for the skills that each one brings to the table. Every matchup between Norman and OBJ has fans on the edge of their seats, watching and waiting for the impending conflict. It gives fans something to discuss around the water cooler at various offices and workplaces.
To me, Josh Norman isn’t controversial. He’s confident and deliberate in all he does. Norman brings a certain toughness to the Washington Redskins secondary that fans haven’t seen since the younger days of DeAngelo Hall. Norman has a cover capability to rival that of Washington Redskins Hall of Famer Darrell Green and a mean streak matching the often misunderstood late great Sean Taylor. These qualities can’t be taught, a player either has them or he doesn’t. Technique, play recognition and certain cornerback skills can be taught. Josh Norman demonstrates a plethora of unteachable skills such as ball hawking, make-up speed and the constant effort it takes to try to separate the offensive player and the football with a motion we’ve come to know as the “punch out.” Norman’s leadership skills are beginning to blossom here in his second season with this Redskins team – both by example and verbal instructions. Washington Redskins fanatics, meet Josh Norman – our complete, consistent and yes, sometimes controversial cornerback! Enjoy his style of play and leadership, which in this writer’s opinion is amongst a dying breed of professional football players today. HTTR4LIFE!
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