Posts Tagged With: Josh Norman

Pick Six: Players of the Week

Josh Norman

Josh Norman

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Josh Norman, CB, Washington (NFL): The marketing, advertising and overall hype leading up to Sunday’s head-to-head matchup between Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. and Washington CB Josh Norman reminded me of the now-infamous 1994 duel between Falcons WR Andre Rison and 49ers CB Deion Sanders.

That meeting was about Deion returning to Atlanta to face his former team and his just-as-flashy former teammate, Rison. That meeting started a sort of sibling rivalry of one-upmanship that turned into a (funny more than fierce) fight between the two stars.

This meeting between Beckham and Norman was about a blood rivalry that started last year, when arguably the two best players in the NFL at their respective positions faced each other and ended up trading cheap shots back and forth. And with Norman leaving Carolina for Washington in free agency, he and OBJ are now NFC East foes who will play each other twice a year. Continue reading

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Do ‘shutdown cornerbacks’ still exist in the NFL?

Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman

The first time I remember hearing the term “shutdown cornerback,” it was used to describe none other than Deion Sanders.

And it wasn’t just about Deion shutting down Jerry Rice or Tim Brown or any of the NFL’s other top receivers of the 1990s. It was about Deion shutting down entire halves of the football field. About Deion shutting down a team’s entire passing attack. About Deion shutting down anything in his line of sight.

And since then — while I’ve heard the term “shutdown cornerback” used to describe dozens of other star cornerbacks in the NFL, college and high school — no corner has been as good at shutting things down as Deion Sanders. Continue reading

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Peterson or Norman: Who is the NFL’s best cornerback?

Patrick Peterson

Patrick Peterson

In a sense, there is no such thing as an “accurate” ranking of the NFL’s best players — either overall or at any particular position.

Despite the best efforts of the people who create advanced statistics, there is no official formula. Ranking football players is rooted too deeply in the personal preferences and style choices of the person doing the ranking. And when you get into positions like offensive line and defensive back — where the numbers truly do not tell the whole story — you’re even less likely to come up with a universal order on which most people can agree. Continue reading

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NFL’s Top 100: Washington CB Josh Norman (#11)

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I don’t know the order, and I can only take a decent guess at the names, but I do know for sure that next week’s two-hour TV special unveiling the top 10 of the NFL’s Network’s ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016 will not feature a defensive back.

Because if Josh Norman ended up No. 11 on the list — which was voted on by NFL players — that means no other cornerbacks or safeties are left.

During his breakout pro season, Norman was the league’s most celebrated and talked-out DB outside of Charles Woodson. But because Woodson, a future Hall of Famer, had announced his retirement and was in his farewell season with the Oakland Raiders, he wasn’t eligible for the 2016 edition of the top 100. Continue reading

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Is it time for Darrelle Revis to move to safety?

Darrelle Revis

It’s been a little more than one week since the NFL’s free agency period began in earnest, and already there has been a lot of movement among defensive backs.

Risk-taking, playmaking cornerback Janoris Jenkins went from St. Louis to Los Angeles (when the Rams relocated) to New York (signing with the Giants). All-Pro safety Eric Weddle almost went from San Diego to L.A. via relocation, but the Chargers stayed home and Weddle ended up finding a new home in Baltimore. Sean Smith went from Kansas City to Oakland and Tyvon Branch went from Kansas City to Arizona, significantly changing the look of the Chiefs’ secondary, one of the NFL’s best in 2015. And Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes stayed in-state, going from Miami to Tampa Bay.

But by the time all of the contracts have been signed and the 2016 NFL season gets underway, the most significant secondary move could be the one where Darrelle Revis, a future Hall of Famer, moves from cornerback to safety for the New York Jets. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

T.J. Ward, SS, Broncos (NFL): As much as the voters may have wanted to give Super Bowl 50 MVP to QB Peyton Manning, the Denver defense — most notably LB Von Miller — was too good to be denied. One also could’ve made a strong MVP case for Ward, the 6th-year pro out of Oregon who had seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in the Broncos’ 24-10 victory over the Panthers. Ward, who didn’t have a single interception or fumble recovery during the regular season or playoffs before Sunday, picked off Carolina QB Cam Newton in the third quarter when the Panthers were just outside the red zone and trailing 16-7. Ward’s fourth-quarter fumble recovery set up the TD that was essentially the dagger for Denver.

Darian Stewart, FS, Broncos (NFL): Before, during and after the game, the dominant Super Bowl stories revolved around opposing quarterbacks Manning and Newton. Overlooked and underappreciated as usual were the respective defenses, and one standout was Stewart, who is referred to as the quarterback of Denver’s defense. He had three tackles and one sack on Sunday and helped lead a phenomenal team defensive effort by the Broncos. Continue reading

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Super Bowl 50: A look at the secondaries

Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib

Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib

Two story lines have dominated the buildup to Super Bowl 50: Peyton Manning‘s unforgiving oldness and Cam Newton‘s unforgivable Blackness.

It’s no surprise, since quarterbacks are almost always the stars of the pre-Super Bowl show. But in most years there are at least some other intriguing angles for the media and for the public to latch onto: a reclusive running back’s maddening silence, a legendary linebacker’s impending retirement, a curmudgeonly coach’s mysterious methods.

This year, however, it seems to be all about the QBs. Which of course means that the difference-maker who will decide the outcome of Sunday’s game will probably be a player who received little to no attention during these two hype-filled weeks. And that man will suddenly become the subject of a thousand “Who is this guy?” pieces about the “unknown” who was completely available for get-to-know-you interviews while everyone was busy chasing Cam and Peyton. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

Divisional+Round+Pittsburgh+Steelers+v+Denver+8AcrW4Aagw3x

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Bradley Roby, CB, Broncos (NFL): While he did get beaten a few times by Pittsburgh’s Antonio-Brown-less receiving corps in Sunday’s AFC divisional-round playoff game, Roby stepped up and made the single biggest play of the game. The Broncos were trailing the Steelers in the fourth quarter when Roby dislodged the ball from RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, forcing a fumble that set up QB Peyton Manning to drive Denver down for the go-ahead score in their 23-16 victory.

Rashad Johnson, FS, Cardinals (NFL): The bad? Johnson and All-Pro CB Patrick Peterson were the ones who allowed Packers WR Jeff Janis to catch that impossible Hail Mary touchdown that forced overtime in Saturday’s NFC divisional-round playoff game. The good? The Cardinals were still able to get the W, and Johnson had Arizona’s only interception (that counted) against QB Aaron Rodgers as well as adding five tackles in Arizona’s 26-20 overtime victory. Continue reading

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Berry battles back from cancer to make NFL All-Pro Team

Eric Berry

In a surprising break from the norm, a defensive player was the headliner when the Associated Press revealed its All-Pro Team for the 2015 NFL season.

Rather than the competition for first-team quarterback between Cam Newton and Tom Brady (Cam won), or Adrian Peterson regaining his spot as the game’s top running back after missing almost an entire season, the top story when the rosters were released Friday was Khalil Mack, the Oakland Raiders star who made history by being the first player in NFL history to make first-team All-Pro at two positions in the same year.

Mack, a second-year pro who had 15 sacks and 77 tackles, was named to the first team at defensive end and linebacker. Continue reading

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Pick Six: Players of the Week

NFL: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

Josh Norman, CB, Panthers (NFL): On paper, it was not on par with some of the “shutdown” performances he’s had against other elite NFL receivers. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. did manage to catch six balls for 76 yards and a touchdown against Norman on Sunday, but OBJ was shut out in the first half and was so aggravated by Norman that he engaged in some slap-fighting reminiscent of Deion Sanders and Andre Rison, and later hit Norman with a helmet-to-helmet cheap shot that will earn him a fine from the NFL. Norman finished with three tackles and Carolina remained undefeated with a 38-35 victory.

Tevin Carter, S, Utah (NCAA): The Utes built a 35-0 lead in the first quarter of the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday thanks to five BYU turnovers, including two interceptions by Carter. The senior safety returned his first INT 28 yards for a touchdown, then brought his second pick back 33 yards to the 1-yard line, which set up another Utah score. BYU rallied after that disastrous first quarter, but Carter and the Utes held on for a 35-28 victory. Continue reading

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