It’s almost the New Year and it seems like just about everyone is taking the time to look back at the year that was 2016.
The Redskins were certainly a part of the national attention during the offseason, specifically due to the signing of a certain cornerback and his unexpected parting of ways from the Carolina Panthers.
Josh Norman is on Sports Illustrated’s list of the 16 people who defined the NFL in 2016, a list written and complied by Melissa Jacobs for her weekly “Week Under Review” column.
Norman is No. 12 on the list that includes Odell Beckham Jr., John Elway and Colin Kapernick. The cornerback’s presence in the Redskins defense has certainly been felt throughout the season and he has been a consistent positive presence in the backfield.
He got on the list for his play and the impact that his lack of presence left behind with the Panthers. Norman certainly had a big year overall, including playing in Super Bowl 50 and signing a big contract with the Redskins.
“Norman is not a poor man after signing a five-year, $75 million deal ($51.1 million guaranteed) with Washington two days after Carolina rescinded its franchise tag and made him a free agent in April,” Jacobs writes. “The outspoken corner has mostly been a success in his first year in D.C., though some have questioned his overall value as a shutdown corner. In Week 1 against Pittsburgh, he did not cover Antonio Brown because of Washington’s scheme, and Brown responded with 126 yards and two touchdowns.
But Norman’s impact is perhaps most clearly felt with the Panthers, who have seen their vaunted 2015 defense wither in ’16 due to the hole he left at cornerback.”
While the defense may not have been at its strongest in the early goings of the season, there is no doubt of Norman and the unit’s recent success, including its five interception performance against the Bears, two of which came from Norman. He is putting up some impressive numbers this year with three interceptions, 18 passes defended, two forced fumbles and 48 tackles, all of which are either career highs or close to it.
But as his presence on this list shows, Norman’s impact in 2016 has gone far beyond what he does on the Redskins alone and that doesn't appear to show any signs of slowing down in 2017.