NFL 1 year ago

NFL: NFC East receivers not a problem for Norman

  • NFL: NFC East receivers not a problem for Norman

    (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Since Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. gave the phrase "on-field altercation" new meaning back in 2015, the Washington Redskins cornerback has built quite the reputation amongst the NFL's premier receivers.

One only has to think back to last Thanksgiving for a reminder of what Norman can do.

After limiting Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Des Bryant, to just three catches (32 yards) from five targets; the pair's late-game run-in typified Norman's presence as the perennial thorn in his competitors' sides.

Now, after a successful free agency period from the Philadelphia Eagles, it seems Norman will have his hands full when the new season rolls around and the ever-aggressive NFC East divisional rivalry resumes.

Given the freedom Redskins head coach, Jay Gruden, affords Norman every snap, here are the top NFC East receivers he is bound to face in one-on-one coverage this season:

Jordan Matthews | WR | Philadelphia Eagles:

This upcoming season will mark Matthews' fourth in the NFL. Despite being the number one receiver on the roster for the past two seasons, he is yet to reach a 1,000-yard campaign and has struggled to make the kind of impact both head coach, Doug Pederson, and Chip Kelly before him, had hoped for. When healthy, Matthews is able to cause plenty of problems for any secondary. However, his inability to make plays under pressure remains a cause for concern.

Brandon Marshall | WR | New York Giants:

Marshall's jump to join the G-Men in free agency left the city of New York delighted and disappointed in equal parts. The 12-year veteran will work with an offence that is stacked with potential and will no doubt take on more of a leadership role now that Victor Cruz has moved on. Despite the Giants being the fifth franchise of Marshall's career, he continues to average over 1,000 receiving yards per season.

Alshon Jeffery | WR | Philadelphia Eagles:

After amassing almost 5,000 receiving yards in five years with the Chicago Bears, Jeffery welcomed the 2017 free agency period by signing a one-year, $14 million deal with the Eagles. The 27 year-old was on pace to produce another successful season in the Windy City last time out but saw his campaign cut short after he was suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Nevertheless, Jeffery's arrival will have his new fans full of excitement.

Odell Beckham Jr. | WR | New York Giants:

Beckham will enter the new season looking to build on a 2016 edition that saw the Giants reach the postseason for the first time since 2011. Beckham's elite-levelled production also broke franchise records for the most consecutive seasons with 10+ receiving touchdowns, 75+ receptions and 1,200+ receiving yards (three). Despite having a temper that often teeters between calm and crazy, it's his unique skillset that keeps him a class above.

Dez Bryant | WR | Dallas Cowboys:

While many continue to ponder whether Bryant still has what it takes to produce as the Cowboys' primary receiver, one cannot deny the threat he brings. After a hairline fracture kept him out of action for over a month, he later returned to finish the second half of the regular season with seven touchdowns and 646 receiving yards. Now, with his health in check and a young offence that continues to improve, perhaps 2017 will bring Bryant's best back.

Irrespective of the imposing individuals listed, Norman remains both unperturbed and unimpressed. His self-confidence, a trait he supports through his consistent on-field displays.

Speaking to Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne, Norman left no stone unturned in his assessment of the NFC East and its receivers:

"Technique wins almost 99 percent of the time...I'm going to take away what you like to do best.

"You've got a gear? I've got one too. You bring yours and I'll bring mine.

"People who say, 'This guy can't be covered', show me that. Show me that obstacle we're faced with. Because I guarantee that I will destroy that challenge.

"Trust me when I tell you, it's going to be bad blood this year.

"You think the NFC East didn't like each other before? This year right here...I'm letting all hell break loose."

Business just picked up. And as the new season promises to bring more tension and animosity than ever before, Norman remains primed and ready.

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