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Redskins' Norman takes the high road when talking about his old team

Redskins' Norman takes the high road when talking about his old team

While the Panthers’ decision to rescind the franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman has many layers and ripple effects, one thing is clear—they sure could have used him this year.

With Norman last year, the Panthers allowed an average of 6.2 yards per pass attempt. That was the best in the NFL. This year they are allowing almost a yard and a half more per attempt; they are 22nd in the NFL allowing 7.6 per pass.

A stat via ESPN highlights the effects of the absence of a cornerback like Norman even more. Last year the Panthers allowed an average of 90.5 yards per game on passes outside the numbers, the fewest in the NFL. This year they are allowing 148.9 yards per game, last in the league.

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The big number is wins and losses. A year ago they were 13-0, on their way to 15-1 and a Super Bowl appearance. They are now 5-8 and on the verge of playoff elimination. It’s not all due to Norman; they have been hit hard by injuries, especially on the offensive line. But subtracting the first-team All-Pro cornerback from the equation unquestionably has done some damage.

One could forgive Norman if he enjoyed a few moments of schadenfreude over the plight of his old team. But given the opportunity to do some gloating, Norman took the high road when asked about the Panthers’ struggled.

“I don’t like to kick people when they’re down so that’s a thing that I don’t, I haven’t been taught to do,” he said. “I just see how you come up in a system and you know the guys and you build that bond and everyone knew where you were at at that very moment in time. Then one of those cogs from the system absolutely, abruptly departs and then you try to fill that void and that hole, I mean, shoot, just like anything else, it’s going to take time.”

The thing is, you don’t always have time in the NFL. The Panthers had a good mix of a productive offense with Cam Newton at quarterback and a hammering defense. After going 15-1 and losing in the Super Bowl the conventional wisdom is that you should hold on to the key pieces that got you to the doorstep of the championship because you don’t know when you will have the right mix of players again. If you can hold on to an All-Pro at a high-impact position such as cornerback for another year you do it, even at a high price and even if you don’t think you will be able sign him to a long-term deal, you do it.

But general manager Dave Gettleman decided to pull the tag from Norman and set him free just a couple of weeks before the draft. Sometimes doing the unconventional thing works; in this case, at least in the short term, it hasn’t.

Given another chance to take a shot at Gettleman and the Panthers organization, Norman again chose not to.

“I don’t get up because people fail,” he said. “That’s on them. I don’t have anything to do with that. My success is determined by where I’m at and what I do for the team or organization that I’m with. I was there one point in time, had fun, was successful, but I’m here now and it’s kind of like, you know, I want to be successful here more so than I do anywhere else.”

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Make no mistake, Norman isn’t taking the “this is just one of 16 games” tack. Although he said that he didn’t start thinking about this game until this week, he acknowledged that this one will be different. He was asked about containing his emotions when Monday night comes around.

“I don’t know if emotions ever do because now I just let them run wild,” he said. “So whatever you see is what you’re going to get. But I do know how to contain it to a certain extent. But then again, I just let the fire go that’s inside and I don’t know how to pretty much shut it off once it gets started. So it’s kind of one of those things where it’s going to be a different feel. Definitely. it’s going to be a different feel, I know that. Just because coming in earlier in the week, I paid attention to detail and then I saw something and I was like, OK, now [that] reminds me back of practice again.”

We will see what happens when Norman lets the fire go on Monday night.

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Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Redskins365 Episode 1: The Future Starts Now

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season. In episode 1 titled "The Future Starts Now" the Redskins begin their journey toward improvement following the conclusion of the 2018-19 campaign.

The episode begins immediately following the disappointing end to Washington's season as players participated in locker cleanout day. A somewhat somber atmosphere, the likes of Shaun Dion Hamilton, Adrian Peterson, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams reflect on the season and look ahead to 2019.

Following that, it's on to the additions and changes on the coaching staff. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on new defensive staff hirings Ray Horton and Rob Ryan as well as Kevin O'Connell's jump to offensive coordinator. Ryan and O'Connell also explain their excitement for next season in their respective roles.

With the coaching staff puzzle becoming clear, the episode transitions to the NFL Combine. Gruden along with Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, President Bruce Allen and Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith take you through the Combine process. Discussions about the interview process and what the Redskins are looking for in players give insight into how evaluations are done. 

The Combine portion has a heavy focus on players Kyler Murray, D.K. Metcalf and Montez Sweat among others. Released on March 20, one can see and hear from Sweat before the idea of him becoming a Redskin came to fruition and listen to Metcalf's thoughts on Jay Gruden.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Englehart also makes an appearance, discussing his viral moment with Ed Oliver at the combine and the fraternity-type bond conditioning coaches in the NFL share.

Washington's journey toward success in 2019 began the moment the clock ran out on the 2018 season. Episode 1 of "Redskins365" picks up right in that preliminary stage.


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Trent Williams will not report to Richmond to open training camp, per report

Trent Williams will not report to Richmond to open training camp, per report

Trent Williams will not report to training camp this week when the Redskins head to Richmond to officially begin their 2019 season, according to NFL Network.

The news comes as no surprise, as Williams missed all of the Redskins voluntary offseason workouts and skipped the team's mandatory minicamp in June. Reports streamed out that Williams was upset about his contract and looking for a new deal -- not to mention reports that he was angry with the team's medical staff after a missed diagnosis with a growth on his scalp. 

Williams has made no official statements, and the Redskins organization offered very little in terms of a timeline for his return. Washington team president Bruce Allen said he knows "the truth" about Williams' situation, and head coach Jay Gruden said he hoped things would be resolved before Week 1 in Philadelphia. 

A seven-time Pro Bowler, Williams is arguably the best left tackle in the NFL. He's an immensely talented offensive lineman with two years remaining on his deal. Beyond the medical situation, Williams could be upset that in 2020, the final year of his deal, there is hardly any guaranteed cash. The team could release Williams with less than $2 million in salary cap penalty and save nearly $13 million against the cap. 

Without Williams, the Redskins could be in real trouble. Second-year pro Geron Christian did not seem capable of playing at a starting tackle level last fall, and that was before a knee injury landed him on IR. Morgan Moses should be locked in as the right tackle, but opposite him in Williams' spot will be dicey. 

Multiple sources with the Redskins and around the NFL suggested more cash could change Williams' mind before Week 1, and for now, it looks like the 31-year-old will be waiting for that increased payday. If Williams missed actual games, he would begin to lose money from this year's $14 million salary.