As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today, we'll focus on cornerback Josh Norman.
1. Free Agency was the first recruitment process of his life:
Norman, still shell-shocked from being released from the Panthers, was suddenly being aggressively recruited by teams across the NFL. For Norman, a fifth-round pick who was barely recruited out of high school, the attention was flattering amidst a whirlwind week.
“Coming out of Coastal Carolina to the Carolina Panthers, there wasn’t no big hoorah, but now on the biggest stage in the world and I get to be a free agent, geez, it was like a party," he said. "So I kind of got a feeling of how those first-rounders and everybody felt when all the glitz and glam started coming. So I enjoyed it, man. I was very appreciative of it.”
2. He signed with the Redskins after a family vote:
Norman had narrowed his decision down to the Redskins, the only team he visited, and the Saints, with his long time friend Sean Payton recruiting him to New Orleans. He left the decision up to a family vote, and almost unanimously, his family made the right choice.
“Everybody raised their hand and I looked at it like, ‘Well, here we go. This is done, sealed, signed and delivered me over,’" he said. "So I was here. I loved it every step of the way. Every time I stepped in the building, it was like a family feel. It was welcoming, and their hospitality, it just sparked into my family and that’s kind of how I got here. And I’m so blessed and fortunate enough to be a Washington Redskin.”
3. He feels like a “rogue savage” in the Redskins’ defense:
Norman had a big smile on his face when asked about playing in defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s defense.
“I’m more free I think. His defensive scheme is a concept to where if I get a No. 1 wide receiver I can play it pretty much however I really want to play it in the concept of the call that he’s made," he said. "I have free range to do that…
“Coming here I just feel like our different coverages and traps and everything are a little more… to my style of play, man. I’m like a rogue savage out there. So I’m playing ball at the highest level speed I don’t need to think much, I just need to go.”
4. He is “as blue-collar as they come”:
Norman fine-tunes his skill set in the offseason to make the small improvements that can turn pass breakups into pick-sixes.
“There’s a lot of stuff we still need to work on. We’ve got to be technicians of the game. We’ve got to be technicians of putting in good work on the football field. Each and every day you can get better at something. I don’t want to hear that this is practice and going through the motions, nah man. I want to see what I can get better with.”
5. Horses clear his head:
After playing the hero on Sundays, Norman likes to literally ride off into the sunset. Norman, who owns 11 horses with his father, will spend an entire day each week during the season with his horse to clear his head.
Now that Norman is with the Redskins, he’s considering moving his favorite horse, Delta, up to Loudoun County, Va.
6. He wants to help the pass rush:
Using his ability to bog down the opposing team’s No.1 receiving option, Norman wants to give the “formidable force” of the Redskins pass rush more time to pressure the quarterback and get coverage sacks.
“Really, being a cornerback, it goes hand-in-hand with what we do with the D-line and the cornerbacks because if you can hold up on the outside and give those edge rushers some time to get back there to get to the quarterback, I mean hey, we slapping hands, you know?”
7. He lives for high pressure moments:
Norman lives for matching up against the other team’s best player. Beginning the season with matchups against Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant and, of course, Odell Beckham Jr., Norman is amped to go toe-to-toe with three of the best receivers in football.
“Oh my gosh, your back is against the wall, everyone is gunning for you. Who’s going to make a play? Who’s going to be that hero to save the day? That’s the biggest thing I get from it, that gets my blood pumping, excited," Norman said. "Goosebumps are rising right now as I talk about it because I could be out here all day playing football, I love the game that much. That’s what gets me going.”
Danny Heifetz | redskins.com | July 12, 2016