Norman wasn’t the only one frustrated by Thomas.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with that guy,” Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar said. “Just going out there and competing man. He’s talking [expletive]. I talk my [expletive]. I ain’t backing down from nobody, so it is what it is.”
After the game, Thomas, who had four catches for 74 yards, reveled in his ability to get under Norman and Dunbar’s skin.
“I made that boy check out after the first half,” Thomas wrote of Norman, who was benched for the first series of the third quarter.
That tweet sparked a back-and-forth with Norman, who wouldn’t waste his breath on Thomas in the locker room, but couldn’t resist trading jabs with the third-year star on social media before apparently thinking better of it and deleting his tweets. (Don’t worry, there are screenshots. There are always screenshots.)
“You clout chasing,” Norman replied, while using a clown emoji. “25-times Lined it up toe-toe (blocking decoy) out-come of that 0-0-0!! Drew didn’t even look yo damn way. ... Waste of a tweet!”
“Zone Corner, play your role,” Thomas replied. “Lol you don’t even have no clout to chase. I didn’t have to do nothing but punk you all day and watch you bust coverages all game and cost your team so who really a clown. And im going to bully you ever time i see you just so you know #sis.”
When Norman replied that Thomas did “nothing but block” on Monday night, Thomas told him to go to bed. “I was punking you all night give me a break,” Thomas wrote. “@ your coach so you can put your so called tough guy self in timeout again.” Thomas also taunted Norman for “crying to the media” in his “cheap” suit.
“You 30 yrs old dude,” Thomas wrote. “Life comes at you fast.”
Norman managed to keep his cool in the locker room when asked about Redskins Coach Jay Gruden’s decision to bench him early in the second half.
“I leave everything up to the head coach,” Norman said. “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.”
Norman’s fiery nature got the best of him in his early-morning Twitter exchange with Thomas, who had the final word.
“You corny for deleting your tweets @J_No24 we grown man walk it like you talk it,” Thomas said. “Goof ball con artist this my favorite part when we find out who you say you are.”
Later Tuesday morning, former Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall didn’t hold back in his critique of Norman, his teammate of the past two years.
“It comes a point where you just gotta play football,” Hall said during his weekly appearance with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “Josh is, I think, in love with being a celebrity right now and not necessarily being a football player. Josh needs to kind of refocus, get back on the grind, get back to the basics technique-wise and really work, because he’s not going to live off the reputation of being Josh Norman. Teams are starting to go at him and he’s either going have to make plays, or somebody else is going to get an opportunity to play. I think we’ve seen the coaching staff kind of take that approach. There’s no coming back from being benched. That already happened, he knows it, the team knows it, the outside world knows it. For him, he has to get focused on just playing football and playing to the best of his ability."
According to Pro Football Focus, the Saints didn’t target Norman when he was lined up opposite Thomas on Monday. Norman was targeted twice in the game, plays that resulted in a 62-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith and a one-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill.
Even before his night went downhill, ESPN analyst Booger McFarland had said during Monday night’s broadcast that Norman was no longer Washington’s best cornerback.
Last week, former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly told the Junkies that Norman, who signed a five-year, $75 million deal with Washington before the 2016 season, was “actually the third-best corner” on the team.
“Fundamentals are kind of killing him on his press technique, and being disciplined,” Casserly said. “He never was the most disciplined guy. He’s very competitive, he’s just not doing a good job with his hands on press.”
That analysis proved to be spot-on in Monday’s loss.
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