Josh Norman has always made it clear that the cornerback has little concern for the feelings of others, though especially this week with a profile of him in ESPN the Magazine with quotes that torch Odell Beckham, Demaryius Thomas and Sam Bradford, among others.
It just goes to show that there’s no one Norman will spare in his campaign to antagonize. And while that may not endear him to every fan around the league, being highly competitive is the nature of the position. It’s part of the game.
So who gets it this year? Let’s walk through Washington’s schedule for a week-to-week guide.
Week 1: Pittsburgh. Not surprisingly, Norman is matched up against Antonio Brown, arguably the best receiver in football. Norman has no choice but to spend the game ridiculing Brown’s Tetris hair and the time he leapt crotch first into the upright.
Week 2: Dallas. While Dez Bryant is the obvious target and the person Norman is responsible for covering, the ‘Skins corner is intriqued by the trolling potential of Dak Prescott, who has become the hot commodity as the backup quarterback during the preseason. While it’s still too early in the year for Romo to have lost his job, Norman reserves most of his invective for yelling at Prescott and calling him a flash in the pan whilerunning along the sideline.
Week 3: at New York Giants. The big rematch with Beckham after their huge scrap late last season. Norman ups the psychological ante by bringing a bat covered in barbed wire to the pregame, which would be bad enough, though Beckham takes to a even more disturbing place by by bringing a sledgehammer to the sideline and winds up being ejected even before the opening kickoff.
Week 4: Cleveland. Though Norman has no personal stake in how the ‘Skins fare against their former quarterback, he can’t resist a good rivalry and starts taunting RGIII anyway. After every incompletion he does a slide just to show Griffin he can. When he’s feeling really tasteless, Norman simulates suffering a knee injury.
Week 5: at Baltimore. Messing with Steve Smith isn’t advised for anyone, so Norman focuses his attention on the fact that hometown hero Michael Phelps is attending the game in a luxury box. Norman is somehow able to send a team employee up to the box to mention the theory that Phelps really didn’t win one of his golds in the 2008 Olympics.
Week 6: Philadelphia. After Norman trashed Bradford by calling him not even one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the NFL, Bradford gets revenge by playing like the 20th best QB in the league in a narrow Eagles loss.
Week 7: at Detroit. Megatron’s retirement leaves Norman without an elite receiver to deal with, but he does have a lot of fun saying offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s name, as do we all.
Week 8: at Cincinnati. The matchup against AJ Green means Norman has another serious threat to tangle with, though he has the challenge of trying to make Marvin Lewis change his expression ever. He should have known there are just some faces you can’t affect after seeing Jim Caldwell the week before.
Week 9: Bye week. You might think the bye week would mean quiet from Norman, but then you have to remember that he signed a TV deal after arriving in Washington. He’ll go after everybody in the league and even those on the outside, given that it’ll be the week of the presidential election. Norman is going to inspire several national conversations, all of them bad.
Week 10: Minnesota. After riling up every one during the bye week, you’d think the business of football would slow the headlines, though Norman keeps it coming by insulting the memory of Prince during a game against the musician’s favorite team. He rips up a sign of Prince’s logo before the game and even has an elaborate guitar celebration that I don’t want to spoil for you now.
Week 11: Green Bay. Norman nearly drives Aaron Rodgers to the point of insanity by whispering that “The Princess Bride”is overrated in the quarterback’s ear after one play.
Week 12: at Dallas. Thanksgiving game! Though Norman has to contend with Dez Bryant all game once again, he makes the big news of the day by discussing how problematic the Redskins name is prior to the game, saying the whole “cowboys vs indians” motif makes him very uncomfortable. A reporter tweets out a photo of Dan Snyder and Norman screaming at each other in the tunnel immediately after the final whistle.
Week 13: at Arizona. Norman has a dramatic showdown with fellow cornerback Patrick Peterson because the rule of cornerbacks is two top ones can’t be involved in a particular game without there being histrionics. It’s just the nature of the position.
Week 14: at Philadelphia. By now Carson Wentz has taken over as starter for the Eagles, for there’s no need to bother with Bradford again. Instead, Norman knows the true way to get under the skin of Philadelphians is by trashing their favorite gas station/eatery, Wawa. He stomps on several of their subs before the game and riot police have to spend an hour restoring order in the Linc.
Week 15: Carolina. The showdown with Norman’s former team is much hyped, though Norman has no real beef with his ex-teammates (besides, Cam Newton is too large to fight again), only the management that cast him off. So Norman hires a few people to deface Jerry Richardson’s statue the night before the game.
Week 16: at Chicago. Jay Cutler is a true master of not giving a shit, and this is tested with Norman’s many attempts to bother him. But no matter what Cutler just stands there looking bored. It’s Norman’s must frustrating outing of the year.
Week 17: New York Giants. Beckham and Norman are warned by the commissioner that they could face a possible year suspension for any antics done to one another, so instead Norman has to focus on fellow cornerback Eli Apple and, by extension, his mom. Norman goes after her in the days before on Twitter and has a few unprintable things to say during the game. Going after football’s most notable mom is a safe way to ensure that everyone truly despises Norman by the end of the season.
Beyond. There’s no telling whether the ‘Skins’ season will extend to the playoffs, so it’s unreasonable to speculate from here. Suffice it to say, if there has feather to be ruffled, Norman will find them, whether he’s on the playing field or not.