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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. 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CARDINALS

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.”

RELATED: REDSKINS' WEEK 13 PLAYOFF SCENARIOS 

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Draft Trade Simulator: Are the Chargers desperate enough to make the Redskins move?

Draft Trade Simulator: Are the Chargers desperate enough to make the Redskins move?

The Redskins hold the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL Draft and there could be plenty of suitors for the pick. JP Finlay works through hypothetical draft day trades. 

As some buzz grows that Washington might look to trade down from the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, one team that could be interested in moving up would be the Los Angeles Chargers. 

Yes, Los Angeles, not San Diego, and that’s a big part of why this could actually happen. Once the Chargers left Ron Burgundy’s hometown to move up to Hollywood, they lost a ton of fans, and soon they will be playing football in a new stadium. A rookie quarterback with a national name could help sell a lot of tickets and convert new fans to the Lightning Bolts. 

That quarterback’s name? Tua Tagovailoa.

The Bengals will take the draft’s biggest star in Joe Burrow with the first overall pick, and after Burrow, no player will command more attention than the former Alabama record-breaker. Injury questions will trail Tua throughout the pre-draft process, and the lack of official visits and workouts could hinder his ability to make an impact of NFL decision makers. Still, Tagovailoa is an elite prospect decorated with an incredible career for the Crimson Tide that, if healthy, could transform an NFL team immediately.

So how could a trade between the Redskins and Chargers happen? Let's take a look.

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Parameters

In 2016 the Eagles made a massive trade to move from the eighth spot to the second spot so they could draft Carson Wentz. To make the move, the Eagles sent the Browns five total picks, including their first-rounder, third-rounder and fourth-rounder that year in addition to another first and second-rounder in subsequent years. In the transaction Cleveland sent back a fourth-rounder in 2017. 

This year the Chargers hold the sixth pick but their biggest competition to take a quarterback is Miami, the team with the fifth overall pick and a load of draft capital to make any move work. If the Chargers want to get ahead of the Dolphins, the package will need to be big, and perhaps similar to the deal the Eagles made in 2016 for Wentz.

The Chargers hold one pick in every round of the next two drafts, so they could work out a package of picks to move up if they want. Los Angeles could also try to package tight end Hunter Henry in a deal. He’s currently on the roster via the franchise tag, and the Redskins desperately need help at the tight end position. 

Outlook

Don’t count on it but don’t count it out either. The Chargers have Tyrod Taylor under contract for 2020 but no long-term answer at quarterback. 

It’s also possible Los Angeles decides to wait for a QB another season and just build the rest of the team for multiple reasons. The Coronavirus could change schedules dramatically, and the Chargers have a lot of talent on their roster. Another year of building the entire team could be the best path, besides a major draft trade could hurt the effort to build a long-term winner in LA. 

Here's the thing though, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

The Chargers ranked dead last in NFL attendance for the last three seasons. In 2019, the Chargers averaged about 32,000 fans per game, almost 20,000 fans fewer than the next closest team.

Los Angeles has to build its fanbase. Must. Tua could be the ticket to selling tickets. 

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Redskins great, Hall of Fame legend Bobby Mitchell dies

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Associated Press

Redskins great, Hall of Fame legend Bobby Mitchell dies

Bobby Mitchell, who became the first black player on the Redskins before going on to spend decades in the team's front office after his Hall of Fame playing career had ended, died on Sunday according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 84.

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Bobby Mitchell. The Game lost a true legend today. Bobby was an incredible player, a talented executive and a real gentleman to everyone with whom he worked or competed against. His wife Gwen and their entire family remain in our thoughts and prayers. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations,” Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker said in a statement. 

Mitchell was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the eighth round of the 1958 draft. He was traded to Washington in 1962 and by the time his 11-year playing career ended, he was third in NFL history with 14,078 total yards.

He earned four Pro Bowl nods. He started in Washington's front office immediately after his playing career ended, eventually rising up to be the team's assistant general manager. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. 

“I was extremely saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Bobby Mitchell. Bobby was a Hall of Fame player and executive and represented the Washington Redskins organization with integrity for over 50 years. His passion for the game of football was unmatched by anyone I have ever met," Redskins team owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. 

"Not only was he one of the most influential individuals in franchise history, but he was also one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was a true class act and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gwen and the entire Mitchell family during this time."