Here's five takeaways from Redskins cornerback Josh Norman's media session with reporters on Friday, July 29, 2016, in Richmond, Va.
1. Going against DeSean Jackson will only make the All-Pro cornerback better.
It was a matchup fans had been clamoring to see.
For the first time since Norman signed with the Redskins back in April, Norman and Jackson went 1-on-1 in front of a crowd on Thursday.
On their first matchup during wide receiver vs. cornerback drills, Jackson got the better end of the deal, as his stop on a dime cut created tons of room for an easy catch.
But Norman would level the score later in practice, jarring the ball free of Jackson's possession on what looked like a first-down reception.
It's competition like that that should make both players – already among the best at their respective positions – even better.
"His speed is elite," Norman said. "He's like Flash out there, so I mean his elusiveness is just off the charts. So, being able to match up with a guy like that each and every time posted 1-on-1 is only going to make me better because if he beats me, he beats me. He beats me, I'm going to try and figure that thing out until it like draws in my head because for me it's like finding that edge, finding that way to where I win."
If Jackson gets a reception on him, Norman is "coming back trying to find out how he beat me that first play."
"So I can come back and look at it like, 'Let me beat him now,' you know?" Norman said. "So, that's just that competition that drives us to both be elite at our level and what we do. Because he is a special talent."
2. Norman must be doing something right.
Norman yet again was faced with questions about Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday. The two, of course, went toe-to-toe last December in a matchup that resulted in several personal foul penalties being handed out and a one-game suspension for the Giants wide receiver.
After the rivalry was dormant for months, Beckham Jr. once again stoked the flames recently with his comments about making Norman relevant.
Norman laughed it off. The time for talk will come when the two square off on the field once again.
"I don't know, I guess if a guy talks about you that much, you must be doing something right… Means nothing to me, obviously, 'cause the same fact, he's talking about me but I am not talking about him," Norman said. "So, it's kind of like, 'Well, dang.' If he once was the hunter and now you're the hunted, so it's kind of like why am I talking about you? For what? So, I have nothing to say because now we are the hunted and not the hunter."
3. Norman's goal of forcing five fumbles will keep Matt Jones on his toes.
Norman, by all measures, is a ballhawk. For his career, the five-year veteran has intercepted seven passes and forced four fumbles. He's also tallied 37 passes defenses.
The Coastal Carolina product hopes to be the same sort of playmaker for the Redskins, and that starts with training camp practices.
That means he's targeting Jones in a sense.
The University of Florida product struggled with ball security last season. If Norman's turnover ability looms in the second-year running back's head, it will only make him better.
"We crack up all the time because he knows when he comes to that hole, I'm looking for that ball. I'm punching; I'm looking to get it out of there," Norman said. "And he's been holding that thing high and tight, and I don't know if I got him once yet. So I told him, my goal is five forced fumbles this camp. So I'm going to be lurking, trust me, I'm going to try and get it."
4. He's still the same guy, big contract or not.
In 2008, current Redskins safety DeAngelo Hall signed a lucrative seven-year deal with the Oakland Raiders to help a stagnant defense.
While Hall played in just eight games for the Raiders before a mid-season release, his tenure with the team never had the right vibe. Some of his teammates resented him for getting such a big deal.
That hasn't been the same case for Norman after he joined the Redskins on a five-year deal. Part of the reason why is that he still acts like the fighter that worked his way into national prominence.
"For me, it's always been God, la familia and football," Norman said. "Everything else is second to irrelevant. When I had that coming in here – new team, new face, new people to meet – it's just like going to a new school; you've got to make new friends all over again. But, for me, I think it was easy because I was open. I was here to listen. Just because I got paid and I'm one of the highest paid guys on the squad, it's no different."
Norman added that he still feels like he doesn't have the money earned from his contract just yet.
"I'm still trying to be better at something, man," Norman said. "What that is, I don't know yet, but I'm still trying to climb and elevate my level of play. And I guess guys see that and they respect it because we're out here trying to win, we're not out here trying to lose. We're trying to help and benefit somebody else."
5. In Norman's eyes, something like kicking a soccer ball builds chemistry.
Norman is a big soccer fan. This offseason, the six-foot, 200-pound cornerback visited Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.
Then he rolled out to the Redskins' first day of training camp with a soccer ball, lightly passing it back and forth with teammates and front office staff.
For most, kicking a soccer ball around is no big deal. Not Norman, who sees it as a way to create relationships.
"Anybody knows that soccer is worldwide, so just kicking the ball to someone, that builds that relationship to them that you can have and spark that conversation," Norman said. "You know, kicking the ball to somebody that you don't know, 'Oh man, I didn't know you know how to play.' All right, so you go along and further that conversation. For us, it's just bringing some type of fun and outside the box thinking to it. You don't always have to be grinding, grinding, grinding."