In the aftermath of Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown’s big Monday Night Football performance where he torched the Washington Redskins’ secondary, many questioned why the league’s highest paid cornerback Josh Norman didn’t cover Bryant more. Immediately following the game, the outspoken Norman defended his team’s game plan that called for himself to stay on the left side of the defense while Bashaud Breeland stayed on the right, where Brown ended up playing most of his snaps.
Former Steelers cornerback Ike Turner joined The Jim Rome Show on Thursday and was curious as to why Norman didn’t demand to play on Brown’s side at some point during his team’s 38-16 loss.
“I just thought considering Norman and his ability of being one of the league’s top corners, why not go against the league’s best receiver, snap in and snap out?” Taylor said. “I don’t think Coach Gruden wouldn’t deny Norman, even at halftime.
“Let’s say he didn’t start out with Antonio Brown, and he saw what was going on with his other compadre, Breeland. At halftime, if he would have told Coach Gruden, look Coach let me get on Antonio Brown, let me line up against him, let me match up against him. I don’t think Coach Gruden would have denied Josh Norman of doing that. But at the same time, that’s a want to. I mean your coaches are going to give you the green light to do whatever you want to do, but you’ve been the caliber corner, the shutdown corner, why wouldn’t you not want to play the league’s best receiver?”
Taylor wasn’t buying Norman or the coaches “scheme” excuse for why the $75-million cornerback wasn’t covering Brown. The former All-Pro said his position is easily adjustable.
“Playing outside corner, there’s nothing exotic about the two outside corners. The two outside corners either you’re in man or you’re zone,” Taylor pointed out. “Everything exotic in the defense is in the inside, between your stunts on the line, your cross blitzes between the linebackers, and your most exotic player in that defense is your nickel corner, who comes in on sub packages because everybody’s got to know where the nickel back is, and he’s the most talkative person on that defense. Anything other than that, for the two outside corners, there’s nothing exotic about that. So I’m cool with you saying it’s the scheme, but at the by the end of the day, it’s a boxing match on the outside.”
The two-time Super Bowl champion wanted to see Norman and Brown go at each other. It would’ve been a challenge Taylor said he would have begged for in his playing days.
“I was just kind of disappointed in Norman for not lining up,” Taylor said. “You have two caliber guys, one on defense and of course on offense, and you got to want to do it. Coach ain’t going to make you do it. That’s a want to.
“When I played, I was upset when the coach said I couldn’t play the team’s best receiver. Upset, upset, but that didn’t happen till towards the end of my career. Now I get it, coming towards the end of my career, we are talking about 11 and 12. Hey Ike you had it, it’s slowing down a little bit, we just going to line you up on one outside. Alright, coach I’m cool, I’m still mad, but I get it. For the sake of the team, I get it. But other than that, in my prime, I couldn’t wait until I got into the meeting, the coaches meeting and defensive meeting, the defensive backs meeting and be like hey, I know who you got this week. Yes sir, let me watch my tape. I gotcha!”
Rome asked why Taylor thought Norman didn’t measure himself against Brown. His answer: “You got to ask Norman that, and I hope Norman is listening.”
After spending time this off-season working out with rookie Dak Prescott, the current NFL Network analyst had some high praise for the Dallas Cowboys’ young quarterback.
“He’s a poor man’s version of a Jameis Winston,” Taylor said of the fourth round pick. “He’s a natural leader. He’s the first to come in, the last to leave out. He’s not an anointed quarterback leader. Like sometimes you will get somebody who is anointed, because he’s the quarterback, so you don’t want him to look bad or get kind of sensitive, Dak is that guy. And this is how you know he is that guy, look how the line blocks for him; look how when he does throw touchdowns his teammates celebrate with him.”