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Victor Cruz questions Josh Norman not covering Antonio Brown

On Sept. 14, 2016 Giants players talked about how they need to shutdown Drew Brees and try and improve to 2-0 when the play the New Orleans Saints in their home opener on Sunday. (Credit: Big Blue Entertainment

Victor Cruz didn’t watch all of the Monday Night Football game between Washington and Pittsburgh, but what he did see – and heard about later – surprised him. Especially when it came to cornerback Josh Norman’s assignments.

“The selfish football player in me wants to watch the game, wants to see him travel and follow the best guy around the field,” Victor Cruz said of Norman staying on one side of the field while the Steelers simply moved their top target, Antonio Brown, to the other side. “Especially if he calls himself – I don’t call him this, he calls himself – the best corner in the league, then you have to cover the best receivers on the other team. Going in, I thought he was going to follow AB all over the place, but he didn’t so it is what it is. He made his choice.”

Choice? Was Norman ducking Brown?

Cruz thinks so.

“It’s always his choice,” Cruz said. “He can go to the powers that be and say ‘Hey, I want to cover this guy.’ And if they say no, if maybe he did that and they said no, then I’ll have to eat my words. But for the most part you can go and make that request I’m sure.”

Cruz wasn’t the only one who thought it odd to see Norman not on Brown.

“I think when you’re paying somebody $70 mil, there shouldn’t be no gameplan,” Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins said. “The gameplan should be ‘You’re on this guy.’ That’s what it is.”

It may be next week. The Giants face the Redskins in Week 3 in a game that has been circled by just about everyone as the rematch of Norman against Odell Beckham Jr. Now, though, there is a sense that it might not take place. Norman may be asked to – or even ask to, according to some Giants – cover someone else such as Cruz or Sterling Shepard.

“I’m sure he will,” Cruz said of Norman requesting the assignment, practically goading him to do it. “I’m sure he doesn’t have to, I’m sure it’s already spoken for in his mind.”

Why didn’t he cover Brown then?

“He didn’t get into fisticuffs with those guys last year, so it’s going to be different,” Cruz said. “I’d be a little surprised, yeah, given the circumstances, if he doesn’t follow Odell around the field. I’d be a little surprised to be honest.”

Clearly, though, surprised has happened before.


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