The Panthers have a confident rookie cornerback in camp, a fifth-round pick named Josh Norman. Earlier this week, he was talking about covering Steve Smith in practice, and alluded to covering him well.
“He’d get frustrated,” Norman said. “He’d throw his hands in the air. He’d have a couple words.”
Smith’s one of the most competitive players in the league. He practices as hard as he plays.
And now Norman’s gone and stirred him up.
“For a young guy, he’s coming out and he’s playing well,” Smith told Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer on Friday from his football camp. “But as far as how much swagger and he loves to compete, I look at it like all the other veterans – May and June you just kind of cruise a little bit just to get through.
“Once late July, August comes, he’s going to learn very quickly this isn’t Coastal Carolina,” Smith added. “I look forward to camp. I hope he looks forward to camp, just like all the other DBs because the first week is never a good day for them when we’ve got this offense with Chud (offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski). It’s going to be early and often and real quick.”
Smith’s one of the league’s top playmakers. He also feels like it’s part of his responsibility to help coaches pick the team by sorting out defensive backs in practice.
Norman’s going to need all the confidence he can muster. Because now he’s gotten Smith’s attention.