Redskins Change Strategy, Start Moving Josh Norman

by Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — Another week and another rough start for Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who continues to allow uncontested receptions to the opposing team’s top receivers.

That’s easy to do against the likes of Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant, two of the best receivers of this generation. But it’s a task that fellow cornerback Josh Norman has handled much more naturally.

Even when Norman has allowed receptions–as all defensive backs do–they have been contested.

ALSO READ: Breeland ‘Defiant’ After Humbling Week 1

The team made the decision after signing Norman to a $75 million contract that he would handle the left side of the defense (right side of opposing offense) while Bashaud Breeland handles the right side (left side of opposing offense).

It’s a strategy that general manager Scot McCloughan helped institute in Seattle with the likes of Richard Sherman. But the strategy didn’t work in Washington for Week 1:

And it wasn’t off to a good start in Week 2. Finally, after five and one-half quarters, the Redskins made the decision to start moving Norman around the field, following Bryant. He flipped to the right side for some plays and even lined up in the slot.

As a result the Redskins were able to hold the Cowboys to a field goal going into halftime, keeping them within one score.

At the end of the first quarter, John Lynch, a long-time safety in the NFL and this week’s color analyst for the Redskins-Cowboys game, recommended that the team should consider this adjustment or expect more of the same.

“Cornerback is a confidence position,” he said, advising the team to move Norman around to follow Bryant. “And right now, Breeland’s confidence is shaken.”

Lynch cautioned that making a change like this is difficult to implement unless the team practiced this way throughout the offseason. He credited his former teammate and one-time Redskins star Champ Bailey for his offseason work to prepare him to play all over the field.

He further alluded that the Redskins may not have a better Plan B.

“They had so much confidence in Breeland that they didnt’ plan for this,” Lynch said. “It is difficult [to switch sides], but it is possible.”

Expect this to continue to be a storyline, until Breeland gets back on track. Both head coach Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Joe Barry said they never considered making the switch last week, which makes this an ongoing development.

 

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