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Josh Norman says with new Redskins defense, 'Everything is about football, nothing else'

Josh Norman says with new Redskins defense, 'Everything is about football, nothing else'

In 2016, the Redskins defense struggled, ranking near the bottom in a number of categories. Their third down defense landed among historic lows, and besides sacks, no position group can claim they performed particularly well. 

The Redskins biggest addition last season was the arrival of Josh Norman. He played well, though he missed a number of interceptions and racked up an inordinate amount of penalties. 

Norman's arrival brought with it a lot of attention, as his release from his franchise tag with the Panthers came via unusual circumstances. His rivalry with Odell Beckham also carried a lot of visibility, and it seemed almost from the start, Norman was working to adjust to life with a new team while figuring out a new system.

Last week, Norman said he thought 2016 was his best season as a pro because he proved he wasn't a system guy like some claimed of his success in Carolina. Norman, though, believes the 2017 Redskins will be much better than last year's version.

"We're building something great, small steps first. We got guys that are really actually in the thick of things. Lockjaw. Dogs," Norman said (full video above). "Everything is about football, nothing else. That's what you need."

MORE REDSKINS: HERE'S WHAT THE NEW DB'S COACH IS DOING DIFFERENTLY  

Listening to Norman, it's easy to think about all of the distractions that popped up for him and the Redskins this time last year. This offseason, the franchise invested heavily in the defense.

The team used their first three draft picks on defensive players for the first time in 20 years, and took a defensive lineman in the first round for the first time in 20 years. D.J. Swearinger arrived via free agency, and he could be a big piece in stabilizing the secondary.

"He brings that attitude to our defense," Norman said of Swearinger. 

Already on the practice fields, it seems Swearinger is shouting out coverages and play design pre-snap more than last year's safeties did. Pro Football Focus rated Swearinger as the 8th best safety in the NFL last season. Will Blackmon was the Redskins highest rated safety in 2016, and he ranked 29th. No knock on Blackmon, as he was converting from corner to safety anyway.

It's easy to be optimistic in June, but Norman seems genuine thinking this defense could be different. With Swearinger, and Zach Brown at linebacker and rookie Jonathan Allen up front, the Redskins defense has new horses from the front to the back in the interior. That should help.

For Norman though, it's the work ethic that stands out. No defensive player missed a single voluntary OTA session, and the from the first team to the third team, the group seems engaged and fired up on the sidelines.

"Nothing but football, eat, sleep, drink it. We got guys that are hungry," Norman said. "You look for those guys that want to prove something, because when you have those guys, man, the sky’s the limit, you can do whatever you want to do."

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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Josh Norman just found a loophole for his illegal bow and arrow celebration

Josh Norman just found a loophole for his illegal bow and arrow celebration

That Josh Norman is one sneaky fellow, isn't he?

Earlier this month, the NFL officially banned players from celebrating big plays with a bow and arrow gesture during a game. That just so happens to be Norman's go-to move, and something he used a few times last season when he was particularly excited.

But with the league's recent announcement, it was assumed that he'd never do it again, since it's an automatic flag and would probably lead to a fine, too. You know what people love to say about assuming, though...

So, the very first time Norman stepped on his home turf in 2017 for a game, he bow and arrow'd when the NFL said he couldn't bow and arrow. That's bold, Josh.

MORE: REDSKINS-PACKERS LIVE BLOG

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Redskins vs. Packers Preseason Live Updates: Week 2 score, stats, highlights, analysis

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Redskins vs. Packers Preseason Live Updates: Week 2 score, stats, highlights, analysis

Week 2 of the NFL preseason is here as the Redskins take on the Packers on Saturday night.

Following the Redskins' 23-3 loss to the Ravens in Week 1, Kirk Cousins and the Redskins starters will look to continue their development again against Green Bay. Head coach Jay Gruden plans to play the starters for at least a full quarter.

The Redskins-Packers preseason game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. and will be aired on CSN Mid-Atlantic. Redskins Kickoff begins a 6:30 p.m. ET, as Chick Hernandez, Brian Mitchell and Trevor Matich get your prepared for the game with 60 minutes of pregame coverage. (Channel Finder)

CSN Mid-Atlantic is here to provide all the live updates, stats, score, highlights, video and analysis from the Redskins and Ravens. If you have a comment about the game, be sure to leave a comment in the section below the article.

REDSKINS VS. PACKERS WEEK 2 PRESEASON LIVE UPDATES

8:36 PM - Touchdown, Packers

Jones 5 pass from Hundley (Crosby kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 73 yards, 3:49
Drive summary: After going three and out his first series, QB Brett Hundley heated up for the Packers. A pass to Trevor Davis got a first down at the Green Bay 44 and then he went deep to Jeff Cass for 38 yards to the Redskins six. On third down, Hundley found RB Aaron Jones wide open for an east touchdown.  

Packers 14, Redskins 3

8:32 PM - First-team defense is done for the night early in the second quarter.

End of 1st Quarter - Packers 7, Redskins 3
-Redskins' first team offense gets their first 1st down of the preseason on final play of quarter.

8:14 PM - We go down one blogger, Pete Hailey is cramping up after a slow off-season. Will try and tough it out but his return is questionable.

8:11 PM - Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers and majority of Green Bay first-team head to bench on second offensive series. Their night is done. 

8:07 PM - Touchdown, Packers

Bennett 3 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick)
Drive: 15 plays, 75 yards, 7:41
Drive summary: The Packers got their drive started with some Aaron Rodgers artistry. Or a cheap trick, whatever you want to call it. He went no huddle on third and five and on a replay review the Redskins were caught with 12 men on the field. One pass to Davante Adams and two to Jordy Nelson got the Packers into Redskins territory. On third and six, Rodgers scrambled for 13 yards to the 13. A hands to the face penalty set up a first and goal at the four. On second down, Rogers threw a fade to TE Martellus Bennett, who fought the ball away from ILB Zach Brown.

Packers 7, Redskins 3

7:53 PM - Redskins get caught with too many players on the field after a forcing a three-and-out. Packers get a first down.

7:46 PM - FG, Redskins  

FG Hopkins 34
Drive: 4 plays, 0:17, 0 yards
Drive summary: The Redskins had a golden opportunity after the Packers fumbled a punt and Niles Paul recovered at the Green Bay 16. But after three incomplete passes the Redskins had to go for three and Dustin Hopkins put it through. 

Redskins 3, Packers 0

7:44 PM - Morgan Moses returns to the field at right tackle.

7:42 PM - On the punt return, the Packers muff the kick, Niles Paul recovered the loose ball at the Packers 16-yard line.

7:39 PM - Morgan Moses goes down on the second offensive play. He is helped to the sideline by the trainers, replaced by Ty Nsekhe at right tackle.

7:34 PM -  Josh Norman uses his infamous bow-and-arrow celebration during player introductions. No flag.

6:50 PM - Get excited, Redskins fans:

6:45 PM - And it's official:

6:30 PM - We'll just leave this right here:

5:10 PM - Preseason games are what they are: Not all that great after the first quarter. But there's value in the games. Here are the three things you should be watching for.

5:05 PM - I implore you to follow me on Twitter. I'm great. You can also follow Our @CSNRedskins account, which is equally great. Our Redskins Insiders JP Finlay and Rich Tandler are OK too. 

5:00 PM - The 2017 NFL preseason rolls on as the Redskins take on the Packers in Week 2 of the preseason at FedEx Field. As is the case again this season, I am Troy Machir, and I will be guiding you through the live blog of tonight's preseason game.