Josh Norman will not keep especially fond memories of his debut in Washington.
Just six minutes into the Redskins’ Monday Night Football opener against the Steelers, cameras caught Norman in a sideline spat with safety David Bruton Jr. Veteran defensive back DeAngelo Hall quickly intervened, giving Norman a shove in one direction before going over to calm Bruton down.
Here’s the incident, courtesy of the New York Post:
It’s never a great sign when teammates are yelling at one another so early into the first game of their season, but the these kinds of sideline jawing are fairly common, especially when a team is getting beat as thoroughly as the Redskins were on Monday.
And it was Norman’s actual performance during the game that was more frustrating.
Leading up to Monday Night Football, ESPN framed Pittsburgh vs. Washington as a battle between Norman and Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown. But Norman and Brown, for whatever reason, rarely actually lined up across from one another.
Throughout the game, Norman stayed at right cornerback. Brown moved all over the field and was shadowed by Washington’s second cornerback, Bashaud Breeland.
Brown caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Here’s how Breeland fared against him:
Antonio Brown vs. Bashaud Breeland: 8 targets, 7 catches, 113 yards, 2 TDs
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) September 13, 2016
Sometimes, a team puts its second cornerback on their opponent’s best wide receiver, though that usually means it will also bring help from somewhere else — usually the safety. (Bill Belichick and Patriots like to do this, for example.)
But Washington didn’t, and it was quickly clear that Breeland simply wasn’t good enough on his own for Brown. And yet, the Redskins never adjusted by moving Norman, their $75 million, All-Pro addition at the position, to guard him.
In the end, Pittsburgh won in a rout, 38-16.
Norman, who has been known for colourful post-game quotes, didn’t have much to say after his Washington debut.
“I have total, 100% confidence in Coach Joe Barry [the Redskins defensive coordinator],” he said. “Everything he wants us to do, I’m 110 per cent in.”
He added: “They had an excellent game plan. They executed it flawlessly. They took us behind the woodshed today. A good, old-fashioned butt whipping. That’s what it was. Can’t take anything anyway from that.”