Josh Norman takes jab at Panthers after Julio Jones' 300-yard day

ByDavid Newton ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- CornerbackJosh Norman didn't hold back when he was asked about how the Carolina Panthers, who rescinded his franchise tag in April, allowed 300 yards receiving to Atlanta Falconswide receiver Julio Jones in a 48-33 loss Sunday.

"You get what you pay for," Norman said Monday on ESPN's The Dan Le Batard Show.

Norman, now a member of the Washington Redskins, has come up in several interviews involving Carolina players and coaches over the past 24 hours because of Jones' performance.

Norman prided himself the past two seasons on holding Jones in check. He held Jones to a combined 10 catches for 107 yards and 0 touchdowns in 2014, when Jones averaged 99.5 yards receiving per game.

Last year, Jones had a combined nine catches for 113 yards when covered by Norman.

But the Panthers opted not to keep Norman when general manager Dave Gettleman didn't see a way to reach a long-term deal worth the $14-15 million that Norman wanted.

Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott wouldn't speculate on how Sunday's game would have turned out had Norman been on the field against Atlanta.

"I haven't thought about Josh on our defense since the minute he left," McDermott said. "We have new players in those positions, and I have a tremendous amount of confidence in those players, and I expect them to do the job at a high level.

"Josh is a Washington Redskin. We are the Carolina Panthers, and we embrace that."

Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly also declined to say whether Norman might have made a difference. He expressed confidence in rookie cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley, who were drafted in the second and third rounds in 2016, respectively, to fill Norman's void.

"That's your guys' job to talk about it," Kuechly said of Norman. "We've got a lot of confidence in what our guys can do in James and Daryl. Those guys work extremely hard.

"So I like our guys, and I'll take those guys every day."

McDermott did admit to expecting growing pains in his secondary after the Panthers rescinded Norman's franchise tag ($13.95 million) and didn't re-sign veteran safety Roman Harper.

"I'd be naive to think that wouldn't have been the case," he said. "That's the case every year when you have players at new positions, in particular in the secondary, where there is a lot of communication that goes on."

McDermott said he didn't expect the defense's rough outing Sunday, when Jones had 12 catches and more receiving yards than any opponent in Carolina history.

"I thought it was uncharacteristic of our defense the last four seasons and how we play, the standard we set for ourselves as players and coaches," McDermott said.

McDermott tried several things to slow down Jones. One of them involved playing starting safety Tre Boston in more third-down passing situations and letting newly acquired veteran Michael Griffin and Colin Jones play more on non-nickel plays.

Griffin, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who was signed Tuesday, played 34 snaps. Boston played 23, and Jones 10.

McDermott wouldn't speculate on whether changes would be made in the secondary for Monday night's game against Tampa Bay. He acknowledged that inexperience, from the rookie corners to third-year cornerBene Benwikere, has been a factor since Norman and Harper left.

"There's no substitute for experience," McDermott said. "Having said that, it wasn't just the young corners. It starts with me. It's a whole team defense at that point."

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