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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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Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 18, eight days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The five best running backs the Redskins will face in 2018

This week we’ll be looking at the best of what the Redskins will face during the 2018 season. Today the running backs are up. They are roughly ranked 2017 rushing yards, although I did some juggling based on offseason moves and other factors. Prior to this, we looked at the best teamsreceivers, and quarterbacks

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys—He actually finished 10thin the league in rushing yards behind two backs who will face the Redskins. Elliott gets boosted up the list because he was suspended for six games last year. He averaged 98 yards per game played and had he been able to play in 16 games he would have led the league in rushing yards with over 300 yards to spare. In three games against the Redskins, he has averaged 110 yards per game and he has five touchdowns. The Redskins’ revamped rushing defense will be tested twice.

Mark Ingram, Saints—He will be coming off of a four-game suspension for Redskins vs. Saints in Week 5. Will he be rested or rusty? If he’s in any kind of form, the Redskins defense will have to be on its game. Last year against Washington in the Superdome Ingram rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. 

Leonard Fournette, Jaguars—The rookie did surpass the thousand-yard mark, posting 1,040. Some pointed out that it wasn’t a consistent effort as he gained 310 yards, almost 30 percent of his total, in two back-to-back games in Weeks 5 and 6. That’s fine but he still is a difficult opponent with his combination of size and speed. I look for him to have a big breakout this year. 

Dion Lewis/Derrick Henry, Titans—Lewis averaged 5.0 yards per carry with the Patriots last year and Henry gained 744 yards while sharing time with the now-retired DeMarco Murray. Lewis will play a lot of third downs and will spell Henry sometimes early in games. That will leave the 6-3, 247-pound Henry fresh to grind up the clock if the Titans have a late lead. 

Jay Ajayi, Eagles—Nobody has quite figured out why the Dolphins dealt him to the Eagles in midseason, but Philly was more than happy to add him to the offense. Ajayi became a workhorse in the postseason with 42 rushing attempts and six receptions in three games. 

I do need to mention Giants rookie Saquan Barkley here. I have to think that the second overall pick of the draft will rank somewhere on this list but without seeing him in an NFL uniform yet it’s hard to rank him. He will be dangerous, no doubt. 

Best of the rest: Lamar Miller, Texans, Alvin Kamara, Saints, Ronald Jones, Bucs

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins offensive tackle Geroge Starke, one of the original Hogs, was born on this date in 1948.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 8
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 22
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 45

The Redskins last played a game 199 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 53 days. 

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How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

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USA TODAY Sports

How's the knee? Trent Williams looks beyond ready in workout videos

Trent Williams went under the knife for his first-ever knee surgery about seven months ago.

Plenty of Redskins fans worried that the Pro Bowl left tackle might not be ready to go when the 2018 season starts.

Worry no more. 

Yes, that is Williams working out with veteran running back Adrian Peterson. And by the looks of it, Williams' knee looks just fine. 

Williams tore his right patella tendon last fall, but continued to play through the pain while the Redskins chances of a playoff bid remained. Once that window got firmly closed after an ugly Thursday night loss in Dallas, Williams contemplated sitting out, but other injuries on the line had already decimated the Redskins. Eventually, Williams shut down his season after a blowout loss in Los Angeles to open December. 

This offseason, Williams got the knee repaired. Washington coach Jay Gruden said repeatedly during the offseason that he expected Williams ready to go for training camp, and the workout videos suggest that to be the case.

This is great news for the Redskins offense, and for new quarterback Alex Smith. Expect Washington to be cautious with Williams, particularly in the early going of training camp in Richmond, but like Trent tweeted, "the walk says it all."

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