“I can take it” were the words Josh Norman used to describe the strategy he has used since signing with Washington. Since being signed, Norman has made numerous headlines for being brutally honest. Even when comparing his time in Carolina to his experiences here to this point. He described the differences in organizations by saying “it’s like going from a dictatorship to freedom” and also mentioned that he felt Carolina was focused strictly on promoting only Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.
Norman also spoke on receivers Odell Beckham, Demaryius Thomas, and also defended the Redskins name in the latest edition of ESPN Magazine. Let’s also not forget Norman feeding into Patrick Peterson’s comments about Norman’s training camp videos of him being beat in coverage.
The signing of Norman has ignited the fan base, his personality and honesty with the media has won Redskin fans over, but he now has a huge target on his back. Jay Gruden has stated players can be themselves within limits and if they say anything stupid they and he will be held accountable. Norman is finally able to be himself, he has all the attention he wants or needs, but the world is watching and bad performances early on will get him in big trouble.
The knock on Norman amongst many fans of the game is that Carolina’s defensive front made Josh Norman who he was and things will be drastically different because the Redskins front is nowhere near the same. Another knock is that he is a scheme guy, many fans not familiar with the Redskins scheme believe he will not thrive here. The first three weeks he will be facing three motivated guys in Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, and Odell Beckham Jr. All three of these guys are motivated for different reasons, but one thing they have in common is that they will be gunning to embarrass Josh Norman.
There are two narratives already in place for Norman, mostly created by him. If he starts the first quarter of the season out well and shows he is worth the money, “he is a guy that loves to talk and he backs up that talk on the field with ease”. Fans of the Redskins will love it, and other fans will have to eat crow.
However if Norman is put on a highlight reel a couple times by each of those top ten receivers, coupled with losing some, if not all of these games, the vitriol will be nonstop by all fans. “Josh Norman is exactly who people thought he was, a product of Carolinas defense”. “He did so much talking, and forgot he still had to actually step on the field”. These narratives are already in place for a guy who has created numerous headlines before playing a down for his new team, and truthfully both narratives are well deserved after the decisions he made.
For Washington fans, past players on the team have drawn attention to theirselves by predicting greatness to come (Brian Orakpo, Robert Griffin III, and Junior Galette) but it never came into fruition. So for obvious reasons, Josh Normans best bet is to bring that same energy he has now, to the field when September 12th rolls around. He has the power to control what is said with his play.