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Redskins agree to terms with All-Pro CB Josh Norman

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Redskins agree to terms with All-Pro CB Josh Norman

The Redskins signed former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman on Friday, making a bold—and costly—move designed to shore up a pass defense that ranked 25th in 2015. The move was reported by multiple media sources, including Rand Getlin and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

CSNmidatlantic.com has confirmed the news.

Norman instantly becomes Washington’s best player on defense, having earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors last season while playing for the Super Bowl runners up. And, although precise figures have yet to emerge, the 28-year-old is expected to become the Redskins’ highest paid player on defense and the team’s second highest paid player behind quarterback Kirk Cousins, who will earn almost $20 million this season.

Norman is a feisty player known for his swashbuckling confidence. He's also known for backing up his brash talk with big plays and steady production. Last season, he notched career highs in passes defended (18), interceptions (4) and forced fumbles (3). His two interceptions returned for a touchdown were tied for the most in the NFL.

ProFootballFocus.com rated Norman, a 2012 fifth round pick who had spent his entire career in Carolina, as the sixth best cornerback in football a year ago.

Although Norman is changing teams, the learning curve is not expected to be very steep. He played a lot of zone coverage in Carolina. The Redskins play a lot of zone under defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

The Redskins could put Norman opposite Bashaud Breeland, giving the Redskins a top-tier veteran on one side of the field and an emerging star on the other. Assuming Chris Culliver returns to form after suffering a torn ACL in November, that could give the Redskins a trio of physical, productive and proven corners on the backend.   

For all the above reasons, the addition of Norman makes a lot of sense for a Redskins’ team that went 9-7 last season and is attempting to take the next step. But the signing doesn’t come without a couple of questions. For one, can Norman achieve the same level of play with different players around him and different coaches asking different things of him? And two, why did a quality team allow an All-Pro corner to walk out the door without any compensation?  

We don’t have the answers to either of those questions. But we know this much: if Norman can reproduce the season he had last year, he’ll be worth the price of admission…and then some.

Think about this Redskins fans: Norman will get to face his former team in Week 15 at FedEx Field, on Monday Night Football nonetheless. You’ll also get to see him match up against Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant two times each season.

MORE REDSKINS: Pursuit of Josh Norman looks a lot like chase for DeSean Jackson

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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