The hype leading up to Sunday’s showdown between Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has morphed into a debate over who leaked information Wednesday to ESPN that Norman will trail Beckham this weekend. That report also quoted the source as saying, “We’re going to let [Norman] earn the $75 million” and stated that Washington’s coaching staff wanted to have Norman regularly shadow the opposing No. 1 receiver before this week but didn’t want to upset fellow cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
That came on the heels of Sunday night’s Pro Football Talk report that there were “multiple offensive players” complaining about the performance of quarterback Kirk Cousins after the team’s 0-2 start to the season. News of unnamed players expressing unhappiness with their quarterback prompted defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois to say, “Hopefully one of my teammates is listening to me right now: Don’t be anonymous.”
Former Redskins offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus, who co-hosts a weekly podcast, “The NFL Journeymen,” with former Washington teammate Will Montgomery, discussed why Washington produces so many unnamed sources.
“I played six years of my career here, and I just kind thought it was normal for everyone to be complaining to the media,” said Montgomery, who says he underwent a media blackout and avoided social media during that time in his playing career.
“No! No!” Polumbus interrupted, indicating that kind of interaction is not normal.
Polumbus, who played with the Redskins from 2011 to 2014, offered his theory on the primary source of leaked information during his time at Redskins Park.
“You know what the problem is? The front office out there doesn’t set the standard,” Polumbus said on this week’s episode. “I honestly feel like 70 percent of the leaks come from the front office out there. So then a guy comes out and starts complaining behind the scenes [that] a player does it and it’s like, ‘Well, what are you gonna do? Because we all know that half the leaks are comin’ from the front office, so maybe you guys can shut your mouth up there and we’ll shut our mouth down here.’ ”
“It is funny how now that I’m talking to some of the media here, all the media, they have all the players’ numbers,” said Montgomery, who played with the Redskins from 2009 to 2013. “They’re all cozy with texting everybody. It’s too easy for everybody to just leak something out. As a player myself, I stonewalled everybody. I wasn’t giving anybody anything, but apparently these days everybody has a little cozy companion in the media.”
Polumbus recalled a meeting that former Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan held with the team when he benched Robert Griffin III in favor of Kirk Cousins as the fruitless 2013 season was coming to an end.
“He says, ‘Look, guys. This is a closed-doors meeting. Whatever we say in here does not escape this room. Do you understand me? Does every man in this room understand me? I’m about to tell you something that I expect to not hit the media until game day,’ ” Polumbus said. “And it was when he was benching Robert for Kirk, and he said, ‘I’m going to go ahead and make a change at QB this week, and we’re putting Kirk in there, but this does not escape this room.’ Literally by the time I got back to my locker and pulled up my Twitter, it was a million different reporters saying, ‘Undisclosed player just told me that Kirk Cousins will be starting at QB this week.’ ”