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Jay Gruden not worried about Josh Norman against Odell Beckham

Jay Gruden not worried about Josh Norman against Odell Beckham

Prior to their Week 3 matchup, the whole world seemed to focus on Redskins cornerback Josh Norman against Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham. The hype was understandable.

In their 2015 meeting, the level of play went from physical to dangerous, as Beckham attempted to spear Norman. Once Norman signed with Washington in the offseason, one of the first questions he answered came about facing Beckham twice a year. The trash talk got dialed up throughout the summer, and by game time in late September, the entire NFL was ready for the matchup. 

Beckham put up strong stats in that game, seven catches for 121 yards, but Norman's team got the win. Now, the two men are slated for another matchup this Sunday at FedEx Field, but the noise surrounding the pairing is significantly dialed down.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden was asked Wednesday if he would say something to Norman about keeping his cool against Beckham, and the coach made clear he didn't find that neccessary.

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"Josh has done an excellent job playing within the system and playing within himself and, you know, the headlines are the headlines, but come game time he’s got himself ready to play," Gruden said. "He stays focused on his job, his responsibility and I think he’ll do the same thing against Odell and the Giants."

While Norman has made some headlines this season, largely, his play has been superb and he's been a model citizen. He's been fined a few times, at times unfairly, and penalized heavily. Beckham has played tremendously, but has had sporadic emotional outbursts, including another showing after New York's loss last Thursday night to the Eagles when he growled at himself while holding his head against a metal security gate. 

The Giants' star receiver has talked about his need to stay under control, both on and off the field. During their Week 3 matchup, Beckham inadvertently blasted himself with a kicking net after swinging wildly at the net with his helmet, widely considered to be reflective of his frustration from going against Norman. 

A huge difference in this week's game: The Giants have already locked up the No. 5 NFC playoff spot. For one week, the pressure should be off Beckham, as his team has nothing to play for against Washington. That said, New York coach Ben McAdoo has repeatedly said he will play his starters. How long the volatile star plays, however, remains a question.

"They’re going to play the game," McAdoo said of his starters, providing little clarity. 

Already, the Giants aren't taking any shots at Norman, contrary to what happened before the last matchup.

"I think he’s a good player and I think he’s played well," Giants wideout Victor Cruz said Wednesday. "Obviously watching him over the course of the season, he’s done some positive things. I wish the guy nothing but the best."

Norman vs Beckham in Week 3 had buzz, a lot of it.

Norman vs Beckham in Week 17, so far, seems quiet.

Expect that to change once the ball is in the air.

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Redskins SVP of Player Development Doug Williams has a 'great relationship' with Dwayne Haskins, he's a fan

Redskins SVP of Player Development Doug Williams has a 'great relationship' with Dwayne Haskins, he's a fan

While some may be hesitant to crown Dwayne Haskins the future of the Redskins organization, Doug Williams has made his stance on the former 2019 first-round draft pick clear: He's a fan.

“I’m a fan of him. We have a good relationship," Williams told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday. "Like I tell him all the time, I don’t coach him, but I can coach him on a lot of other things other than on the football field and how to handle certain things. Him and I have a good relationship. "

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As the Washington Redskins SVP of Player Development, Williams has a significant role in the front office. Haskins is one of the biggest prospects taken while he's been an executive of the team.

"I hear all the media pundits and stuff talk about what we should do regarding Haskins," Williams said. "But from what I’ve seen this young man do last year, I can’t see too many people as or more talented than him.”

In Haskins' nine appearances last season, he threw for 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 1,365 yards. 

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Kyle Allen can handle anything, and that includes being the backup

Kyle Allen can handle anything, and that includes being the backup

Since Ron Rivera took over as the Redskins head coach in early January, he has insisted on finding competition for rising second-year passer Dwayne Haskins. Rivera found that competition when the Redskins acquired Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers a few weeks ago, and the two are expected to compete for the starting job come training camp.

Rivera spoke to the local media on Tuesday for the first time since the trade and explained he envisions "a good competition" between the two. But as Rivera went on to rave about Allen's character, it's clear the Redskins new head coach brought in Allen for multiple other reasons besides just competing with the Redskins first-round pick from a year ago.

Allen -- an undrafted free agent in 2018 who started 12 games a season ago -- has played every role a quarterback can possibly have at some point during his first two seasons in the league. His mindset, and the ability to handle different roles and responsibilities, is something that stood out to the new Redskins head coach.

"What he's really concerned about is doing the best job he can," Rivera said. "If he ends up starting and being the guy, great. He'll be fired up about it. And if he's not, if he's in a backup role, he'll be fired up about that as well."

Although there will be some sort of QB competition, the Redskins don't necessarily expect Allen to win the job. Rivera even said as much during a radio interview last week, as the team plans to enter training camp with Haskins as QB1. Others, such as former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, simply think Haskins is the better player.

But should Allen have to step in as the team's starter for one reason or another, Rivera has full confidence in the 24-year-old. Allen is familiar with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner's system, one he called difficult to grasp but a system that has plenty of potential once learned. 

When in Carolina, Allen spent two seasons in the same room as Cam Newton, someone Rivera referred to is having a "strong personality." Rivera was impressed with how Allen handled himself there, especially with there being constant change at the position due to multiple injuries to Newton and former Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke. 

"Having been around Kyle for two seasons, I've kind of watched him interact with the quarterbacks that were in the room," Rivera said. "He was in the room with a very strong personality in Cam Newton, and Kyle handled himself tremendously. I just know what kind of person he is and feel like he's the kind of guy going into this, he's not threatened by anything."

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Outside of Haskins and Allen, the Redskins still have Alex Smith under contract as the veteran QB continues to recover from his gruesome leg injury. While Rivera has said not to rule out Smith in the past, the move to acquire Allen was something the head coach called "insurance," as Smith is still rehabbing and a ways away from returning to the field.

When taking the Redskins head coaching job, Rivera knew he would be tasked with turning around the culture in Redskins Park, a culture that has not seen playoff success in over a decade. Turning around a culture means finding people that will buy into the team mindset and the overarching goal within the organization, and that's something Rivera thinks Allen will do tremendously.

"He's the right kind of person for that room, and that's what I felt very strongly about," Allen said. "That's why we were able to make the deal with Carolina and bring him in. I just think he's got that real good sense about him, you know, being part of something is better than being an individual."

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