WASHINGTON — When cornerback Josh Norman left the field with cracked ribs on Monday night, the momentum shifted permanently in Kansas City’s reaction.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, opposing quarterback Alex Smith scored zero points and averaged just 5.4 yards per pass attempt with Norman on the field. He enjoyed 8 yards per throw after the stalwart defender left.
Standing on the sidelines, Norman had a hard time breathing and it hurt when he tried to run. Even if he couldn’t play his normal, physical, bump-and-run coverage, he asked coaches if he could help as a decoy.
“I wanted to go out there, but do I more help the team or hurt the team if I can’t really run and breathe hard?” he asked the media, rhetorically. “It was tough. I told them to put me out there as a decoy. I was coming up with a whole bunch of things, let me get back out there. I just wanted to give [teammates] juice just like they give me.”
Norman’s offers were ultimately declined by his coaches, who didn’t want to risk further injury. Now that the game is over and the adrenaline is gone, cooler heads and a more measured approach are in order.
The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for Norman and the defense.
“I just have to take my time and have faith,” Norman said. His coach agrees.
“There is a concern there,” Jay Gruden told the media on Monday. “I don’t know where it is, how severe the pain is for him, but when you have to play bump and run, you have to tackle and all that stuff, I think it will be a pain-tolerance during [the game].
“We have got to make sure it’s healed enough where he can play and be effective and not do more damage to it. The initial report was a fractured rib will be two to four weeks. But since we do have the bye week, there is a chance he could be up for San Fran.”
There’s also a chance that he won’t be ready until the Cowboys in Week 8. Given the way that injuries like this can linger, the team would be wise to wait until he can play like Josh Norman again. Y’know, like this: