Josh Norman intercepted his first pass as a Washington Redskin today. He was penalized on the play for taunting as he acted as he was firing an imaginary bow and arrow, reminiscent of riding Delta after a pick-six in Carolina last year.
Norman has been playing well in Washington after being let by the Panthers this offseason. Panthers General Manager, Dave Gettleman, let the flamboyant corner walk after Norman hesitated signing the franchise tender. Norman has been viewed by many as a system corner. It was the Panthers front seven that made Norman elite they claimed. Opposing wideouts and critics taunted Norman for not following the best receiver around. When Gettleman parted ways with Norman, it only seemed to strengthen the argument that Norman was as great as the numbers said.
The numbers haven't changed much for Norman. He was ranked as the 3rd best corner going into this week by PFF, and his performance today should have only elevated this ranking more.
Carolina, on the other hand, surrendered 500+ passing yards to Matt Ryan and the Falcons. It was Julio Jones who was celebrating Norman no longer not playing for the Panthers. He racked up 12 catches, 300 yards, and a touchdown today against a putrid Panther secondary.
The Panthers recension of Norman's franchise tag was the most puzzling of offseason moves. He was clearly a key factor in Carolina's success last season. The Panthers could have rented his services for another year if they had simply franchised Norman. To make things worse, it Gettleman didn't have a plan in replacing Norman either. He drafted three consecutive cornerbacks, seemingly throwing a bunch at the wall hoping something sticks. Zack Sanchez isn't on the team, Daryl Worley has been the worst, and James Bradberry has shown promise but was MIA in Carolina's meltdown in Atlanta.
Most excused Gettleman's choice to release Norman because he's been pretty solid of his management of the team. He's seemed to have a clear vision and it's paid off in Carolina with three consecutive division titles, an NFC Championship, and a Super Bowl appearance. Today's debacle, however, raised challenge what has been near immunity for Dave Gettleman. There are real roster problems in Carolina and watching Josh Norman succeed in Washington only challenges Gettleman's untouchable status.
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn