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Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger swing between silent and opinionated following Redskins' fourth consecutive loss

Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger swing between silent and opinionated following Redskins' fourth consecutive loss

FEDEX FIELD -- The New York Giants didn’t just clobber the Washington Redskins 40-16. They briefly silenced Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger. 

The talkative defensive backs separately passed on answering questions in the postgame locker room, a combination of events as rare as Washington trailing by 40 points at home. 

They didn't remain quiet for long. Stinging opinions eventually followed on what went down during their most lopsided setbacks in recent memory, and the Redskins’ four-game losing streak.

Both declined to comment to similar questions about the Redskins’ readiness entering a pivotal late-season contest.

In response to a query over whether he felt the team was ready to go at kickoff, Norman offered a “Next question."

The first question to Swearinger, a frequent critic of the team’s practice habits during his two seasons with the team, focused on comments moments earlier from his head coach. During his press conference, Jay Gruden said Sunday’s result was not indicative of the team’s week of practice.

After brief and silent contemplation, Swearinger answered, “No comment.”

Two of the league's greatest quotes passing on answering questions. The universe now officially makes no sense. 

The situation didn’t silence all of their takes.

The second question to Swearinger involved what’s gone wrong for the defense in recent weeks after a strong start to the season. "We just didn't execute. We just didn’t execute. We didn't get the job done. That's the answer they want me to give."

Norman, on what went wrong in the game: “Everything.”

Swearinger, on what changes are needed defensively. “I’ve been saying that for two years, man. Obviously, they didn’t listen. I can’t tell you what needs to change. I’m not the coach.”

Norman, on where he thought the game went off the rails: “You saw the game,” he responded.

Swearinger on whether he felt the game slip away in the first quarter when New York opened the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown: “Somewhat, somewhat, somewhat, but as a defender, you have to try to stop them, and we didn’t do a good job.”

Both players were part of a defense that surrendered three touchdown passes in the loss. Norman was also asked about the team’s mindset following the defeat. “We got took behind the barn like my grandma would do,” Norman said. “Had one of those big, thick paddles and got put to the backside pretty good.”

It’s understandable that the current slide, one that dropped Washington from 6-3 and a two-game lead in the NFC East to a losing record four weeks later, left the defensive leaders flummoxed.   

Washington’s run defense ranked among the league’s best through seven weeks, allowing an average of 70.7 yards on the ground. Only two opponents topped 100 yards in a single game. Over the next six games, the Redskins allowed each team to reach the century mark for an average of 150 rush yards.

“Can’t say it’s the players,” Swearinger said on the topic of the plummeting run defense. “We’re the same players. We’re the same guys. We’ve put in the same work. We’re practicing hard. I’m speaking for my (fellow defensive) players. We’re practicing hard. … I can’t give you no answers to that because I’m not the coach, but I know we’re trying to do what we need to do on defense as players. We’re trying. We’re trying hard.”

Through the frustration, both proud players passed on declaring the season over despite the dire projections with three games remaining and the losses piling up.

Josh Johnson, signed by the Redskins Wednesday, played in the second half Sunday and will start next week at Jacksonville. The Redskins then face Tennessee before a Week 17 home finale against Philadelphia. They likely must win all three games for any hopes of a playoff berth.

Swearinger admitted it’s not easy remaining positive, but he had no intention of flipping to the dark side.

“I’m going to keep grinding,” Swearinger said. “I’m blessed to play football. I’m blessed to be a Washington Redskin. I’m going to approach this thing like a pro. Positive attitude, Get ready to beat Jacksonville if we can.”

Staying mentally positive is one thing. Flipping the momentum that way is quite another.

“Hell I don’t know,” Norman said. “Come to work Monday and find out. It sucks. Trying to keep my emotions intact. I really am.”

Like Swearinger, Norman has no intention of folding with games remaining.

“We fight. We’re warriors. We go out there, and we try to win, try to put ourselves in position to be successful,” Norman said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work out in our favor. That’s the cards we’ve been dealt right now. Got to play it and hopefully, we’ll catch a full house one of these times.”


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Redskins fans shouldn't hate the idea of Daniel Jones at No. 15 as much as they seem to


Redskins fans shouldn't hate the idea of Daniel Jones at No. 15 as much as they seem to

For some reason — whether it's because they like another quarterback better, or because his college numbers don't exactly pop, or because he went to college at Duke — a ton of Redskins fans really don't like the idea of their team drafting Daniel Jones 15th overall.

In fact, its gotten to the point where some have even changed their handle on Twitter to names that reflect their anti-Jones stance. 

In a Mock Draft Special on NBC Sports Washington's MyTeams app, though, Charley Casserly has the Redskins taking Jones at pick No. 15. Now, before you punt your phone or spike your laptop, hear Casserly out on what there is to like about Jones. 

"He's the most pro-ready quarterback in this year's draft," the former GM explained. "Why do I say that? Vision and anticipation. Vision is the ability to see the field and go in a progression from one to two to three in the receivers. Anticipation — see the blitz coming, get it to the hot receiver, get the ball out before the receiver makes his break. He's very good at both of those things."

What Jones doesn't have, such as a top arm, is something you can see right away in workouts and on tape. But his strengths, such as his ability to find the right read or throw a wideout open, aren't as simple to notice.

Perhaps that's why 'Skins fans are so against him — because you have to do more projecting when it comes to his future as opposed to someone like Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins, guys with tons of college success and tape that will wow you.

Jay Gruden has mentioned this offseason how, if Washington does grab a QB, he expects that player to come in early and compete. They can't be treated like a minor leaguer, someone who can slowly work their way up to a place where they're ready for Sundays. 

According to Casserly at least, Jones won't need much grooming. Maybe that catches Gruden's eye.

In his mock, the analyst slotted the Duke product to the Redskins instead of Missouri's Drew Lock due to, among other things, Lock not being as accurate. Other players the Burgundy and Gold could've selected but didn't were Brian Burns, Clelin Ferrell and DK Metcalf.

In the end, Casserly kept lauding Jones' readiness. In addition to his athleticism, Casserly expects Jones to come into the league and make a difference early with his eyes and his mind.

"Super smart guy," he said. "He's a natural at that stuff. That's not natural. That's stuff you have to learn."


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Why Daron Payne switched to No. 94 as soon as it was available

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Why Daron Payne switched to No. 94 as soon as it was available

Redskins' defensive lineman Daron Payne will be sporting a new number in his second season, reverting back to No. 94 after playing his rookie season in the Burgundy and Gold at No. 95.

Payne, who had preferred No. 94 through his days in high school as well as while down in Tuscaloosa as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide, didn't have the option to choose it after being selected 13th by the Redskins in the 1st Round of the 2018 NFL Draft, as the number was already claimed by then-Redskin Preston Smith, who had chosen it three years earlier.

With Smith off to Green Bay, Payne pounced on the opportunity to shift back to the jersey number that he'd gone with for so long before coming to the nation's capital. 

Payne performed admirably in his inaugural season with Washington, recording 35 solo tackles, five sacks, and one forced fumble, while suiting up in all 16 games and receiving praise for his outstanding play from the Pro Football Writers Association as one of the premier up-and-coming interior linemen in the NFL.