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Redskins coaches hint Josh Norman could travel to cover Larry Fitzgerald

Redskins coaches hint Josh Norman could travel to cover Larry Fitzgerald

Few players cause more problems for opposing defensive coordinators than Larry Fitzgerald, and, perhaps most impressively, the Cardinals wide receiver has been doing it for more than a decade.

Now playing in his 13th season, Fitzgerald has more than 800 yards receiving through 11 games, well on his way towards another 1,000 yard campaign.

On Sunday, the Redskins will be tasked with stopping Fitzgerald, and Washington coach Jay Gruden knows how difficult that challenge will be come Week 12 when the Redskins head to Phoenix

"He’s a great player. He uses his size, he uses his physicality and nobody talks about what a blocker he is," Gruden said. "He’s the best blocker in the NFL as a wide receiver and it’s not even close. So he’s just a great all-around football player. We’re just going to have to man up and body him up and try to get physical with him."

It's no secret that Josh Norman is the Redskins best cornerback, and on Wednesday, Gruden hinted that Norman might cover Fitzgerald regardless where the wideout lines up.

"He could in certain situations, there’s no doubt about it, and we have the luxury of possibly matching him up," Gruden said when asked if Norman could follow Fitzgerald into the slot. 


The Cardinals, smartly, deploy the 6-foot-3, 225 lbs. Fitzgerald in the slot more now than ever before in his career, and it's working. Last season, he went for more than 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns, and is on pace for similar numbers this season. 

Gruden did not exclusively commit to Norman covering Fitzgerald all over the field, but the 'Skins coaches have been reluctant to move their $75 million corner into the slot. While saying 'he could in certain situations' hardly guarantees Norman moves inside, it's noticeably different from things said earlier in the season.

It's also worth pointing out that Gruden then spoke highly of Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller and Quinton Dunbar as slot corner options. In the end, the coach believes the Redskins best bet to slow Fitzgerald is to get to QB Carson Palmer.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard.”


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Giants HC Pat Shurmur is done talking to Mike Francesa

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Giants HC Pat Shurmur is done talking to Mike Francesa

Just two days after the Giants announced they'd be benching Eli Manning for Daniel Jones, the team also announced that head coach Pat Shurmur has canceled his weekly radio segment on WFAN with Mike Francesa.

The Giants are 0-2, just benched Eli Manning, and there generally aren't a whole lot of positives coming out of the Meadowlands these days, so it's no surprise that the team may be cutting back on media availabilities.

Francesa has made a career off of being an outstanding radio personality and as somebody not afraid to ask the tough questions. But as the losing seasons have piled up, and Giants are winless this season, the first two interviews between Shurmur and Francesa have bordered on uncomfortable. In fact, calling them interviews might be a stretch. There was a lot of Francesa talking and not a ton of question-asking.

Being that this has become more of a behavior than a one-off occurrence, the Giants have decided to pull the plug on the weekly spot for now.

“I think that was an organizational decision not to do that,” Shurmur told reporters Thursday. “Most people aren’t aware of this, but I wasn’t contractually obligated to do that spot. We did it as a courtesy and out of respect for our relationship with the radio station. We just felt like for a while, just put that to bed for a while and not do it and move forward.”

The Giants' feud with Francesa is even more far-reaching. Eli Manning also ended his weekly spot with Francesa ahead of this season. After Francesa blasted the Giants for drafting Corey Ballentine, who was shot after the draft — for which he has since apologized — he was denied access to Giants general manager Dave Gettleman at training camp. In turn, he canceled his annual program from camp.

There's no telling where this saga goes from here, given Francesa's candor and platform, but one thing's for sure; he won't be talking to Pat Shurmur on the radio.


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Amari Cooper calls Week 2 score against Redskins the 'easiest TD I've ever had'

Amari Cooper calls Week 2 score against Redskins the 'easiest TD I've ever had'

The Redskins defense performed poorly against the Cowboys, but the plan wasn't to give up the easiest touchdown of Amari Cooper's career. 

Still, according to Cooper, that's what happened.

Early in the third quarter of Washington's 31-21 loss to Dallas last Sunday, Cooper grabbed a 10-yard touchdown pass from QB Dak Prescott. The play capped off a nine-play, 75-yard drive for Dallas, and while the catch didn't look hard and Cooper only needed to make one man miss before he scored, it didn't seem quite as easy as the former Alabama star described it either. 

"Boy, that was the the easiest touchdown I've ever had," Cooper said. "I had space. [Defender] wasn't over there."

"I'll take it."

Cooper's comments came from a Cowboys produced video on Twitter with players and coaches mic'd up. You can watch the full video below; Cooper's comments come at about the 3:10 mark.

Whether it was Cooper's easiest score ever or not is debatable, but it does underline an issue for the Redskins secondary through two games: blown coverages. 

The players and coaches have talked about communication issues to open the season, and fans tend to focus on deep pass plays as the prime examples in those situations. 

On Cooper's TD, it seems miscommunication struck the Redskins secondary yet again.