RICHMOND — As many of you know, Josh Norman started 14 games for the Redskins last year (902 snaps), and he did not get a single interception.
The lack of takeaways by the cornerback whose contract carries a salary cap value of nearly $17 million was disturbing to many. A good cornerback should be able to pick off one or two passes even is just by accident.
However, a look at some numbers might give a hint as to why Norman could not get an interception. Opponents attempted 531 passes against Washington. Of those, Norman was targeted just 49 times. That’s just 9.2 percent. That did not give Norman many chances to make a pick.
Regardless, the Redskins would like to see some takeaways from their $17 million man. And if Norman can make a few plays — like the one he made on Saturday in practice — he’ll get some.
In 11-on-11 work, Alex Smith threw a deep pass intended for Robert Davis. There were two problems with the pass. For one thing, Davis was triple covered. Also, the pass was underthrown.
For a moment, it looked like the pass might fall to the ground. But Norman turned around to face the quarterback, went up high in the air, got both hands on the ball and went to the ground. It was a hard fall, but he managed to keep possession of the ball.
The crowd at Fan Appreciation Day went wild. Norman was a bit slow to get up, but he managed without assistance.
The days of Norman getting four interceptions with two of them being returned for touchdowns like he did in Carolina in 2015 probably are over. He just won’t get enough opportunities with players like journeyman Orlando Scandrick or the unproven Quinton Dunbar playing opposite him.
But if he can use his skills as a ballhawk to steal some 50-50 balls that quarterbacks inevitably will throw up several times during the course of the season, he could help the Redskins get on the plus side of the turnover margin, somewhere they have been just once since 2012.
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