Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman will be on the same field on Sunday, that much is certain. How often they are lined up across from each other remains a mystery.
The Redskins have spent most of their first two games playing a scheme with Norman locked on one side of the field and not following a star player, but ESPN reported on Wednesday morning that Washington’s game plan is to have Norman shadow Beckham everywhere he goes “except for the slot.”
Norman himself downplayed that report — “That’s kind of crazy because I didn’t get the memo,” he said on Wednesday afternoon — but it’s still a strong possibility and one the Giants are prepared for.
In fact, they may be reveling in it because they are one of the few teams that can afford to lose some production from their best receiver and still have two others who can win them a game. The Giants, after all, are 2-0 without the benefit of a Beckham touchdown or even a 100-yard game.
“It’s tough to do those things,” Beckham said about defenses focusing on one player. “You have the Rookie of the Year on this team [Sterling Shepard]. You have Victor Cruz, who is going to be Comeback Player of the Year . . . They’re going to get open and do what they have to do, so whether somebody follows you or doesn’t follow you it’s not my game plan. My game plan is if they tell me to line up to the right I go to the right, if they tell me to line up to the left I go to the left, if they tell me to line up inside I go inside. That’s really it.”
Ben McAdoo said he put little credence in the media report.
“We trust our own preparation,” he said. “We trust what we see on film. That’s first and foremost.”
“We’ll see,” Cruz said. “It’s something we have to go into the game and see how it happens. Obviously we have confidence in our ability that we can make plays and go out there and do what we do against the opposition. We want to see what they give us and attack off of that.”
Beckham insisted that he will not play any differently if he is lined up against Norman or anyone else.
“Wherever I go, wherever I line up, whoever is over there, it’s my job,” Beckham said. “It’ll be the same as if I was going one-on-one with anybody else. It is what it is at this point.”
Norman may have downplayed the report of him covering Beckham, but he did made it clear he’d welcome the assignment.
“Heck yeah, why not?” he said when asked if he wants to cover Beckham. “I don’t shy away from nobody. I’m a guy who goes in on Sunday who reeks and oozes with confidence. I don’t bow down to nobody or their thoughts of me. I try to make my own and when I do I impose my will. I try to do that no matter who we’re facing on the football field.
“At the end of the day, give me your best shot,” he added. “I’ll take it.”