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Norman wants defense to attack, laments 'trolls and clowns'

Norman wants defense to attack, laments 'trolls and clowns'

Josh Norman came back from the Redskins’ break after their Thanksgiving Day loss to the Cowboys saying that the defense needs to have a renewed focus as the team moves into the stretch run.

“Be aggressive and attack,” he said when asked what he wanted to see from the defense the rest of the way. “Aggressive and attack, nothing more, nothing less.”

Has that not been the case all year?

“Sometimes in games, sometimes in certain games, we haven't,” he said. “We've got to continue to turn it on.”

The Redskins currently are 25th in the NFL in total defense and 18th in points allowed. They will have to be more aggressive on defense if they are going to make the playoffs and make any noise if they get there.

Norman was the target of some verbal barbs thrown by Cowboys receiver Dez Bryan after their game last Thursday. He didn’t want to comment on that.

“Nothing . . . It was a game. We lost, they won,” he said when asked about it.

Nor did he want to talk about Twitter barbs thrown at him by cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals, the Redskins’ upcoming opponent.

“Can't get into it, man,” he said. “Everybody wants to go against me for some reason. At the end of the day, that was then, this is now.”

“I really don't care, man. I don't,” he said. “To this day because, what I've done, they try, but it really don't matter to me. I just go out there and try and be that attack guy. At the end of the day I can't control nobody. Can only control what we do.”

“Trolls and clowns, trolls and clowns. When you're at the top everybody's gunning for you."

It does seem like Norman has had enough of the sideshows but he tends to be a magnet for it all. The Redskins hope he can just focus between the white lines and let all of the verbal stuff go.

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Does Adrian Peterson want Case Keenum to start at QB? Sure sounds like it

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USA Today Sports

Does Adrian Peterson want Case Keenum to start at QB? Sure sounds like it

The Redskins coaching staff intend to use their practice time in Richmond to determine the team's starting quarterback for the 2019 season, but for Adrian Peterson, that determination has been made. 

"Offensively, we really look good with Case Keenum back there. He’s a veteran," Peterson said last weekend at SportsCon in Dallas

Peterson's comments came just 10 days before the Redskins open training camp with what's expected to be an open battle at quarterback between Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins, not to mention Colt McCoy if he's healthy. Of that group, Keenum has had the most success in the NFL, particularly his excellent 2017 campaign in Minnesota where he completed 67 percent of his passes for more than 3,500 yards with 22 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in 14 starts.

It's important to point out that Keenum has only hit that level of play one year out of eight seasons in the NFL. The rest of his career has been marked with more interceptions and a lower completion percentage. 

Still, watching Redskins minicamp in early June when Keenum and Haskins got the majority of the snaps, it was clear the offense ran smoother with the veteran instead of the rookie.

"He’s been in the league for a long time. He’s a gunslinger. He’s a guy that’s going to throw the ball and spread it around," Peterson said of Keenum.

That doesn't mean the future Hall of Fame running back didn't speak well of Haskins, or more accurately, Haskins' potential. 

"I'm looking forward to seeing what he'll do in training camp," Peterson said of the rookie from Ohio State. "Once he gets more under his belt and becomes more comfortable, he'll be able to play faster as well."

In minicamp, the pace of the NFL - calling plays, adjusting at the line of scrimmage, and most of all, the speed of the pass rush - seemed to overwhelm Haskins at times. Those are all things he can learn, and his arm is already the best on the team. Once the mental game catches up, his physical traits are absolutely capable of winning big in the NFL. 

What might make the most sense in listening to Peterson's comments is how he looked at the 2018 season. Last year, Washington lost a lot of talent to injuries, including their top two QBs in Alex Smith and Colt McCoy, and still finished in the playoff hunt. 

"The most important thing for us is guys staying healthy. Last year we had 22 guys on IR, and was still one game away from making the playoffs if we would've won the last two," Peterson said. "That's the thing that impresses me the most. We really went through a grind in losing our first-, second- and third-string QB throughout the year, and still had a chance to make the playoffs. I feel like the mindset is there."

For a team with the mindset of grinding wins and getting into the playoffs, Keenum makes more sense than Haskins. At least it does for Peterson. 

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10 Training Camp Questions: How long will the offensive line stay healthy?

10 Training Camp Questions: How long will the offensive line stay healthy?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

4) How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract?

Being a political town where scandals and elections bring in new folks all the time, Washingtonians are used to changing personnel. That said, what's happened to the Redskins offensive line in the past two seasons is plain outrageous. 

In the last two years players like Pro Bowl stalwarts Brandon Scherff and Trent Williams have missed extended time. Veteran journeymen signed late in the year as free agents, guys like Jonathan Cooper and Luke Bowanko, have been injured. Everything in between has happened to the Redskins offensive line. In some ways it's been a more dangerous profession than playing drums forSpinal Tap. 

Looking ahead to 2019, it's near impossible to simulate what will happen for the Washington offensive line. What is known, however, is the team will rise or fall depending if their big guys can stay on the field. 

Ignoring the precarious Scherff contract talks and the unnerving Trent Williams holdout, the Washington O-line has talent. Beyond those two, Chase Roullier and Morgan Moses are strong players in their own right. The final guard spot seems like a toss up between rookie Wes Martin and veteran Ereck Flowers, though he's never even played the position. Expect Martin to win that battle. 

Still, none of it matters if the injuries pile up again.

Football Outsiders determined that the Redskins offense missed more man games to injury than any other team in the NFL, and while it's the injuries at the quarterback position that stand out from last year, almost every starter on the line missed action.

Add in the fact that Washington lost veteran swing tackle Ty Nsekhe to free agency, and all of a sudden there is real concern about the depth at tackle.  Williams is holding out, Moses has a history of ankle issues, and second-year pro Geron Christian did not look particularly impressive last season. Additionally, all three men are working back from offseason surgery and none took part in offseason workouts. 

So, maybe Flowers will have to stay at tackle? He tried that with the Giants for parts of four seasons, and the results were awful. Don't expect it to change in Burgundy and Gold. 

In an odd change, after years of neglect, the Redskins did invest in the interior of their line. Bruce Allen drafted Martin in the fourth round and added Ross Piersbacher in the fifth, a versatile center/guard out of the University of Alabama. Those are depth moves that should help this season. 

Based on recent years, the Redskins will need the depth on their offensive line. Lots of it. 

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