New Redskins cornerback Josh Norman will be tested early and often when the season gets underway in September. Things could get heated even before the already-anticipated Week 3 game against Odell Beckham Jr.
Right out of the gate Norman will be challenged by All-Pro Antonio Brown of the Steelers, who caught 136 passes for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns. Then a healthy Dez Bryant comes to town with the Cowboys. He was slowed down with a foot injury and was not his dominant self in 2015. Bryant should be raring to go in Week 2.
Before going too far into the schedule here one thing that is important to note is that these will not necessarily be game-long, one-on-one matchups between the No. 1 receiver and Norman. The Redskins play a lot of zone, very similar to the scheme that Norman was in when he was an All-Pro with the Panthers. He is unlikely to follow receivers like Beckham and Bryant from side to side. But it’s a safe bet that if it’s a critical situation and the ball is in the air with the No. 1 receiver as the target, Norman will be somewhere in the picture.
Back to the schedule, the meeting at MetLife Stadium against Beckham and the Giants is getting plenty of hype already. Had the schedule makers know that Norman would be wearing burgundy and gold they might have made his a prime time affair. It should not noted that while Norman got into Beckham’s head that day, he did not shut him down. Beckham caught six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
In Week 6 the division’s potential rising star at receiver, Jordan Matthews, comes to FedEx Field. Two weeks later on the other side of the pond it’s Norman and A.J. Green of the Bengals.
Week 11 brings Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers to FedEx for a Sunday night game. After a rematch with Dez it’s on to Arizona where Norman will match up with possible Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.
Under the tree on Christmas Eve, Norman find the Bears’ duo of Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White. The former has established himself as a threat while White is a promising first-year player who missed his rookie season with an injury.
Then, on New Year’s Day make sure you can get rid of your hangover quickly so that you can enjoy Norman-Beckham II.
If Norman can again earn All-Pro honors going up against that slate of pass catchers he will have earned his pay this year.