Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was benched to start the second half of their brutal 43-19 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night — though it was unclear why.
Initially it was thought that it may have been because of a blown coverage in the first half, when Saints quarterback Drew Brees hit Tre’Quan Smith for 62 yards for a touchdown — which also set the NFL all-time passing record. Or it simply could have been an effort to shake up the defense, which struggled to contain Brees all night.
According to Washington, D.C., radio personality Kevin Sheehan, though, it was for a fairly simple reason: Norman didn’t take off his headphones during halftime.
While head coach Jay Gruden was addressing the team at halftime, Sheehan reported on Friday that Norman was busy listening to music through his headphones. Naturally, that didn’t sit well with Gruden.
This is what I’ve learned. The reason Josh Norman was benched for the start of the second half against the Saints had very little to do with him getting lost in coverage on the record breaker, where the defense just laid down.
At halftime, according to my source, he put his headphones on while the coaches were addressing the team. Jay Gruden told him to take them off. He either didn’t hear Jay or he ignored him, but with that, I was told, the headphones were removed. By whom? My source says that he believes it was Gruden who removed the headphones from Norman’s head.
But regardless, Gruden benched him to start the third quarter, and thatw as the reason why. My source alsy tells me that there is not a lot of good vibes when it comes to Norman among several of the coaches right now. Not much they can do about it. They’re hopeful he beings to play better. They’re hopeful he acts professionally the rest of the year.
Gruden didn’t say much about the issue after the game Monday night, only that they “talked about some things.”
“Had to cool him down a little bit,” Gruden told the Washington Post on Monday. “Everything’s fine. It’ll be back to normal, and he’ll play the rest of the year.”
Norman — who has 18 tackles and one fumble recovery so far for the Redskins — didn’t have much to say about the incident, either.
“I leave everything up to the head coach,” Norman told the Washington Post on Monday. “Whatever Jay said, that’s what we’re going to go with. I don’t have anything else more to say on the issue.
“At the end of the day, yes, I’m a fiery competitor. Never want to come off … But whatever the head coach says, I’m a go for it. That’s the chain of command. He’s in charge … I respect the head man in charge.”
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