Six days after keeping $15 million-per-year cornerback Josh Norman on one side of the formation against the Steelers, Washington apparently will be doing it again against the Cowboys.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Norman will remain primarily on the left side of the defensive formation. Which will allow Dallas to deploy receiver Dez Bryant on the other side, for a more favorable matchup against overmatched (on Monday night) cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
It’s no surprise. If Washington would have abandoned its plan for playing defense after only one game, it would appear that they have yielded to public and media pressure.
Besides, Dak Prescott is throwing the ball this week, not Ben Roethlisberger. The veteran signal-caller still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for finding that sweet spot between lingering physical abilities and expanded brainpower based on more than 12 years of experience. Brown burned Breeland in part because Ben kept putting the ball in tight spaces. If Prescott can’t, Breeland suddenly will look a lot better.
Besides, it sounds as if Breeland has learned his lesson after Week One.
“I should’ve used my hands more, use my length more other than my feet,” Breeland said this week, via Mike Jones of the Washington Post. “I gave him too much room. And I crowded the line too much other times and that put me in bad positions as well. You have to know that you’re not always going to make plays. You’re going to get got sometimes. So, you have to have that mentality of, ‘I’m not always going to get got.’ Just keep playing the next play. Short-term memory.”
It would help Breeland if Washington would slide safety help over to his side, when Bryant is on it. All too often, safety DeAngelo Hall was in the middle of the field on Monday night, and Breeland was on his own against Brown.
That’s arguably the more confounding aspect of the decision to keep Norman on one side. Wherever he is, the safeties should be able to slide the other way, with one helping Breeland and the other covering the tight end or a running back.
Again, there’s a chance it will work better this week because they’re facing Prescott and not Roethlisberger. But Washington won’t be facing a rookie quarterback every week.