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How Victor Cruz Finally Forced Josh Norman to Shadow Opponents' Best WRs

We can applaud Victor Cruz for finally coming back from that horrendous knee injury, but his greatest claim to fame could be baiting Josh Norman into an electric matchup with Odell Beckham Jr. Could it be that Roc Nation and Jay Z are rubbing off on Cruz?

In a move that could only be labeled as “shrewd," Cruz and Janoris Jenkins set things in motion two Mondays ago when they called out the Washington Redskins' $75 million man for not “demanding” that he cover Antonio Brown.

“Especially if he calls himself – I don’t call him this, he calls himself – the best corner in the league, then you have to cover the best receivers on the other team,” Cruz said of Norman. “Going in I thought he was going to follow AB all over the place but he didn’t so it is what it is. He made his choice.

“It’s always his choice. He can go to the powers that be and say ‘Hey, I want to cover this guy.’ And if they say no, if maybe he did that and they said no, then I’ll have to eat my words. But for the most part you can go and make that request I’m sure.”

Brown went off on Monday Night Football, racking up eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-10 Pittsburgh Steelers blowout win.

There’s no word on whether it was Norman or the Redskins who decided to ride with the “it’s the scheme” narrative, allowing Washington to allegedly just focus on playing a specific brand of defense. 

Norman doesn’t make $15 million a season to play Cover 3, so shadowing the league's best was a non-negotiation.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport via sources, Cruz’s comments to Norman were received, with Norman taking the bait.

Games and moments like this one can be career-defining.

For Norman, a player whose psyche is predicated off how well he plays, it’s imperative that Beckham does not go off for a huge play early or dominate him late.

I'll never forget Nnamdi Asomugha, who was coming off three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons with the Oakland Raiders, when he signed a five-year, $60 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Asomugha struggled in press and man coverage, and the Eagles were 12-20 in the two seasons before he was released following the 2012 season.

-- Glenn Erby

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