After the Panthers placed and then suddenly rescinded their franchise tag on Norman, the All-Pro signed a five-year deal with Washington, becoming the most valuable cornerback in the league at $15 million a year. Norman’s absence in Carolina’s secondary was immediately felt at the start of the season, most notably against the Falcons during Julio Jones’ 300-yard game, and has haunted Ron Rivera and Dave Gettleman throughout the year. Meanwhile, the corner is having quite a nice season in Landover — he’s the 18th-ranked cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus — and is proving wrong those who suggested he was a product of a Carolina game plan that kept him away from top-tier wideouts.
Of course, Norman has a massive chip on his shoulder, saying earlier this week that he’s as eager to match up against his former team “just as much as I’m looking forward to being Santa Claus.” Whatever that means. We expect the quips to keep coming on Monday night and to see some fireworks from both sides when Norman lines up against Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn and Carolina’s receiving corps.
With rumors circulating that DeSean Jackson may one day become a Philadelphia Eagle again, Jackson played a signature DeSean Game in his former home town. What does that entail? Three catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, with the 80-yard score representing a momentary turning point for Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense. Of course Jackson slow-jogged into the end zone to prove his point. In many ways, he represents the still-great untapped potential of this offense and they’re running out of time. It would be hard to imagine general manager Scot McCloughan doling out cash for both Jackson and Pierre Garcon this offseason while Jamison Crowder and cheap nhl jerseys and Josh Doctson are on the roster and under their rookie deals.
People should not be diving off the Wentz wagon. The rookie sensation had the Eagles within 14 yards of a game-winning touchdown with 12 seconds to go before Redskins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan blew by third-string offensive tackle Matt Tobin for the sack-fumble. Should Wentz have anticipated the rush? Perhaps. It did not come from his blind side. But at that point, the team needs a touchdown, has no timeouts left and receivers aren’t breaking open. Quarterbacks can probably get a break for holding the ball a little longer there in search of the big play.
Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was playing through a third-degree separation in his left shoulder, and the severity of the injury was evident every time he was involved in a play. He was ejected from the game after throwing a punch at safety Kurt Coleman late in the third quarter, finishing with one catch for six yards. It’s tough to imagine Kirk Cousins’ most valuable target as a significant factor in Washington’s push for the No. 6 seed.
Washington coach Jay Gruden won a pair of challenges, both occurring on spectacular sideline catches by DeSean Jackson. After taking a backseat to Reed and second-year slot receiver Jamison Crowder early in the season, Jackson has teamed with fellow veteran wideout Pierre Garcon to carry the passing game of late. Still one of the toughest covers in the league, Jackson has exceeded 100 yards in three of the past four games. It will be interesting to see if the Redskins open contract talks prior to the onset of free agency in March.
While it should never be surprising to see a 13-year veteran get released this time of year while general managers try to get younger and cheaper, Jenkins looked to have a decent chance of making the roster. He could still be a heavy favorite to return once the Redskins can get him on a week-to-week deal and don’t have to guarantee his salary for the season.
If Washington doesn’t bring him back, they’ll obviously keep their eyes peeled for help along the defensive line. The team is currently relying on the likes of Ricky Jean-Francois, Kendric Golston, Chris Baker, Kendall Reyes and Ziggy Hood. Jenkins played in 14 games for the Giants last season, logging three sacks and 15 total tackles. A defensive tackle and stretch end, Jenkins could still be versatile enough to find a home in any defensive system.
ASHBURN, Va. — If 2015 was the year when Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins surprised the NFL, then this season offers a crucial opportunity to remind us all of what he truly can do. There is no more flying under the radar, no more chances to capitalize on the time-tested benefit of being underestimated. Cousins enters his fifth year knowing full well what’s on the line and what needs to be proven. All he has to do now is deliver.
What makes Cousins so interesting is that he led the Redskins to the NFC East title in 2015, yet he still has to show this team that he’s worthy of being the long-term answer at quarterback. Washington has guaranteed him a one-year salary of $19.953 million — after designating him as a non-exclusive franchise free agent in February — but neither side could agree on a new contract during the offseason. So Cousins has to impress his employer all over again, just as he did when he supplanted Robert Griffin III last year. That, by the way, is just fine with him.
Simply put, the Redskins need to run the ball the way they did against Philadelphia to be serious playoff contenders. They generated 230 yards on the ground and reminded people once again why they’re currently riding a four-game winning streak.
This is still a team with enough flaws that it could implode at any moment. One of the best ways for Washington to avoid such a plight is by doing what it did on Sunday: keeping things simple and bullying opponents whenever possible.