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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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Maryland Gov. Hogan wants new Redskins stadium, but won't use public money

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Maryland Gov. Hogan wants new Redskins stadium, but won't use public money

As attendance slumps at FedEx Field this season it's become quite clear the Redskins need a new stadium. By all accounts the team is working hard towards that end. 

News emerged last week that the Redskins are working with the Trump administration and D.C. government officials to get back to the RFK Stadium site. It's far from a done deal, but there is some progress. 

Fans remember RFK fondly, as it was the site of the team's greatest seasons. Every Super Bowl team the Redskins ever fielded called the East Capitol Street stadium home. 

Since 1997, however, the Redskins have played at FedEx Field in Maryland, and it appears Governor Larry Hogan doesn't want to lose the team either. Speaking with reporters, Hogan revealed his plans to get a new stadium adjacent to the MGM National Harbor casino in Oxon Hill. 

The Washington Post reported that Hogan has begun the process of a potential "land swap" with the federal government. Maryland would surrender lands in the western portion of the state in return for the parcel of land next to the casino to develop a new Redskins stadium. 

Nothing is official, but conversations have been ongoing between the Hogan administration and the Department of the Interior. There is one important caveat, however, that Hogan wanted to make clear. 

"We are not going to build a billionaire’s stadium, either,” ­Hogan said. “We have no interest whatsoever, and there have been no discussions, ever, about us spending one penny in construction."

The Redskins' lease at FedEx Field runs through 2027, but sources have told NBC Sports Washington that if the team builds a new stadium in Prince Georges County, those terms could change. The Oxon Cove site would be in Prince Georges County. 


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As Redskins offense continues to struggle, Jay Gruden reveals 'the curse'

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As Redskins offense continues to struggle, Jay Gruden reveals 'the curse'

The Redskins average fewer than 20 points-per-game. The Redskins rank 27th in the NFL in yards-per-game. The stats are bad for the Washington offense, and watching the games, it makes sense. 

For a Jay Gruden team, it's odd that the Redskins can't move the ball. Even when Alex Smith was healthy at quarterback, the offense still struggled. 

Watching the games all season, the offense has often been ugly. On Wednesday, Gruden revealed what he believes to be the root cause for the problems. 

"The big thing is we have way, way too many negative runs. Negative runs have been the death, that and penalties, both of those two things have been the curse of this offense and that kills our drives, that kills our momentum, that kills our ability to call plays, keeping everything open in the playbook," Gruden said. 

The coach isn't wrong. 

The Redskins have 24 false start penalties in 13 games, 2nd in the NFL. The Redskins have 27 offensive holding penalties, the most in the NFL. 

Penalties have been a persistent problem all season, as have the negative runs. 

Using data from the NFL, the Redskins have 19 negative rushes when they run to the right. That's tied for the worst in the league. The Redskins have another 26 negative runs to the center or left of the offensive line. 

Teams can't win when they don't run the football, and the Redskins can't run the football with their current penalty problems and negative plays. 

"When you have second and 18, and third and 15, your playbook goes down," Gruden said. "When you're first and 10, second and six and third and two, everything is open and we haven’t had that luxury."