Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was flagged five times in his team’s tie against the Cincinnati Bengals in London on Sunday. Among those penalties called on him, four were illegal use of the hands.
Following the game, Norman called official Brad Freeman out, indicating that he needs to be penalized by the league for the calls.
Norman: "we play a physical game, they know that.We come here international game, it all goes out the window. …he needs to be reprimanded"
— Mike Jones (@ByMikeJones) October 30, 2016
While Skins’ head coach Jay Gruden wouldn’t go as far to agree with Norman on this, he did show support for his cornerback.
“As far as him (Norman) being targeted, he probably is a little bit, but he’s going to have to deal with it and work on his hand placement and just continue to work and get better and better,” Gruden said, via ESPN.com. “He’s such a high-profile player and he plays so hard and he’s always up there in bump-and-run, playing physical with the receivers, so I think they keep a close eye on him and his matchup.”
There are a couple different things to look at here.
Norman has always been physical at the line. And when officials decide to call a game tight, he will be penalized more for this. We’ve seen this on occasion with Richard Sherman in Seattle, who probably best compares to how Norman plays.
Secondly, only one of the penalties called against Norman was questionable. You can’t put your hands up to the face of a receiver as he’s starting his route and expect to get away with it on a consistent basis. Norman was simply caught with his hand in the cookie jar Sunday in London.
It will be interesting to see how the corner responds to this latest development on the field. He’s likely going to have to change the way he plays as tad, especially if there is a target on his back.