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Panthers' Ron Rivera talks 'stubborn' Josh Norman, what it was like to coach him

Panthers' Ron Rivera talks 'stubborn' Josh Norman, what it was like to coach him

When the Redskins host the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, the focus will be on getting another win and continuing to improve their position in the NFC Playoff Picture.

But with cornerback Josh Norman taking the field against his former team, you can expect the buzz to be palpable.

Norman had an exceptional 2015 season with the Panthers, as he made a name for himself as an elite playmaking cornerback and one of the best trash-talkers in the NFL. Norman was a valued member of the Panthers and played an integral role in building the team's bond and relationship, one that played a large part in them representing the NFC in Super Bowl 50.

When asked during Monday's press conference about the team's decision to remove the franchise tag for Norman, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera declined to comment, but he was open to talking about whether the team ever thought about cutting ties with him earlier.

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"No, no," Rivera quipped.

"We saw the talent. We saw the ability. We got frustrated with him. He's stubborn and hard-headed, but he's a heck of a talent," Rivera said with a chuckle.

"You don't give up on talented players like that. I know that coach [secondary coach Steve] Wilks put in a lot of work with Josh. Steve had a lot of faith that the kid [Josh] was going to be something special and we saw it at the end of the 2014 season ... we saw it when we first got him ... it was just a matter of him playing disciplined and playing within the scheme. We then saw it in 2014 and it really flourished in 2015."

What will it be like for Rivera and the Panthers player to see Norman again?

"He's a unique talent, he really is," Rivera stated. "It will be fun, or at least I think it will. He's gonna have a challenge and we're gonna have a challenge as well. It's going to be a unique set of circumstances seeing him out there.  He'll bring his best game because he's going to want to play well and I know our guys will want to play well against him."

When called upon to stop the opposing team's No. 1 receiver, Norman has answered the bell and then some through 14 weeks. While the Redskins' defense still has its struggles, Norman has been as good as advertised.

On Monday he will get the chance to do it against his former teammates, a challenge he is more than willing to take head on.

RELATED: WHAT WE LEARNED FROM REDSKINS' WIN OVER EAGLES

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After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

After two seasons on IR and little production, is Paul Richardson's time over with Redskins?

The Redskins signed Paul Richardson in 2018 to be the deep threat the team lost when DeSean Jackson left via free agency after the 2016 season. It didn't work. 

In two years with the Redskins, Richardson has 48 catches for 507 catches and four touchdowns, and both seasons finished with trips to the injured reserve. Washington, however, paid Richardson handsomely for his work.

He signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Redskins that guaranteed $12.5 million at signing. To date, he's made nearly $20 million despite never being the team's leading receiver. 

Next year, Richardson will carry an $8.5 million salary cap number, but the team could get $2.5 million in cap relief if he's cut while taking a $6 million cap hit. The final two seasons of his contract have no guarantees and no cap number unless he plays.

If the Redskins wait until after June 1st, 2020, to cut Richardson then the numbers flip. The team would save $6.5 million against the cap and Richardson's contract would only count $2 million against the cap. In fact, the team doesn't need to wait until summer to make the move, but rather can use the Post-June 1 designation that the NFL allows organizations to use to better their cap. This should be the obvious move. 

Considering Washington has made a youth movement at receiver, with rookies Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims looking like the future, Richardson looks quite expendable. Especially considering the emergence of McLaurin as a potential elite wideout, both with deep speed and route running ability. 

Redskins team president Bruce Allen signed Richardson, but it's hard to know who will be making calls for the organization in 2020. There is much speculation that Allen could be on the way out, and the team already fired head coach Jay Gruden in October. Interim head coach Bill Callahan is not expected to remain in that position next season. 

If Richardson is cut, it's hard to look at the signing as anything but a disappointment. Big money for little production. That's not winning football. 

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Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

Report: Chase Young plans on returning to Ohio State in lieu of entering NFL Draft

The Redskins are unlikely to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but there is certainly a scenario where the teams that finish ahead of them would be in need of quarterbacks. If that’s the case, then Washington could be in line to select Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who’s widely considered to be the highest-graded player in the draft.

But in an interview with TMZ, Young said his “plan” is to return to Ohio State for his senior year. Young set a school record with 16.5 sacks and counting this season despite missing two games due to suspension.

The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, slated to face No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 28 for the right to play in the national championship. Ohio State hasn’t won the title since 2014, when Young was still in high school.

It’s unknown whether he’d enter the draft if OSU wins it all. For now, Young’s draft status will be something for the Redskins—who will enter the offseason with a plethora of roster needs—to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

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