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Beckham – Norman Round II? Feuding Players Focused on Game

(Photo by Rob Samuels - Double G Media)

(Photo by Rob Samuels – Double G Media)

 

Chaos. That is one of many words to describe the last time New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and then-Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman matched up opposite each other.

When the Giants and Panthers faced off against each other December 20 last season, the Beckham-Norman game long scrum took everyone’s attention off the actual game. It felt as though a professional wrestling match broke out onto the field. A belly to belly suplex, a hip toss, open palm slaps to the helmets, a mandible claw, and constant smack talking. Ok, done with the wrestling references. Things escalated even further in the game when Beckham launched himself towards Norman, giving him a helmet-to-helmet hit. The yellow flags streamed down like confetti onto the field the majority of the game, mostly in the direction of Beckham and Norman. Now with the proverbial rematch is coming upon us this weekend, as the Giants face the Redskins, who acquired Norman this offseason.

“Honestly, there really is a bigger concern,” said Beckham. “Division game, 2-0 start to the year. Really focused on going 3-0. Wherever I go, wherever I lineup, that’s my job…The biggest concern is winning, winning this game.”

Safe to say that Beckham has moved on from last year’s incident. Even Norman has stated that he has moved on from last year’s squabble with Beckham.

“[I] focus on winning,” said Norman. “I think nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t win the game, you fall short. No matter who you’re covering, [or] how many yards you have in a game, if you don’t come out with a ‘W’, it’s really all for nothing.”

It’s nice to see that both sides have moved on from the incident last year and focusing more on winning the game for their respective teams. However, take this into consideration, this is what they said before they stepped onto the field. Once the refs blow the whistle and the opening kickoff is launched into the air, it’ll be interesting to see if they both sides feel the same way once the adrenaline is pumping.

During last season’s matchup, Beckham caught four of six passes for thirty yards and a touchdown. The stats don’t really tell the full story of the actual gameplay that occurred. If you look past the throwing, helmet-to-helmet hit, and grabbing each other by the facemask, you can see that Beckham did have the speed advantage on Norman. On the opening drive of the game, Beckham zoomed past Norman, reached towards the ten-yard line, but dropped the wide open pass. Even look at Beckham’s touchdown catch past Norman with less than two minutes to go in that game. Beckham showed that he can get past Norman, just mental gaffes due to the trash talking from both sides created a distraction for both players.

Norman has undergone scrutiny for how he has been used so far this season with the Redskins. Norman signed a five year, $75 million contract with the Redskins after the Panthers released him from his contract. With this lucrative deal, many fans expected Norman to cover the top receivers on all opposing teams. However, the coaching staff has Norman play exclusively on the left side of the field. In the first two games of the season, he did not cover receivers Antonio Brown (Steelers) and Dez Bryant (Cowboys), who were lined up on the opposite end of the line. However, for Sunday’s matchup, reports say that Norman will cover Beckham in all areas except the slot position.

“I don’t bow down to nobody or their thoughts of me,” said Norman. “I try to make my own, and when I do, I impose my will, so I try to do that each and every time I step on the football field – no matter who we’re facing.”

Beckham learned of the reports that the Redskins will have Norman follow him throughout the game and had this to say.

“It would be the same as if I was on the other side going one-on-one with anybody else. It is what it is at this point,” said Beckham. “That’s not really my concern. My concern is our game plan. If that’s their game plan, then that’s their game plan.”

Even though the feud does seem a bit downplayed by both players, we’ll have to wait for Sunday once the adrenaline of an all-important division game starts pumping.

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