Able to be at the Redskins' team facility for the duration of offseason workouts following last year's signing, Josh Norman is using the team to focus on technique and get to know his teammates a little bit better.
Josh Norman faced an uncertain future heading into offseason workouts last spring, as he had the franchise tag placed on him by the Carolina Panthers without a contract resolution prior to the March deadline.
As he waited for a potential long-term contract to be hammered out with the Panthers, Norman elected to remain away from Carolina's headquarters to start Phase 1 workouts.
Before he could return, though, Norman had his franchise tag rescinded on April 20, 2016. Just two days later, Norman not only had a long-term contract during a brief stint as a free agent, but a new home with the Washington Redskins.
Reflecting on his first year in Washington, Norman admitted that the feeling of switching teams was "crazy," but he when looking back on the 2016 season he liked how he performed.
"I think it is probably one of the best solid years that I have put together, off of what we did," Norman told Redskins.com. "It was super solid just because how much things I was attacked with but I still came out and made it successful. If you really truly go back and look at that year, I'm still looking at it like, 'Wow.' Yes, I think I could have held onto a couple more balls, but I was just in such an aggressive mind-state that those things happen. Now that I have this year, I am a little bit more relaxed and it should come to me a bit better."
Norman finished his first season with the Redskins appearing on a team-high 1,059 defensive snaps and collecting 67 tackles along with 19 passes defensed – tying his career-high set in 2016 – and three interceptions.
The playmaking Coastal Carolina product also forced a pair of fumbles.
As he looks to grow on the foundation he set in Washington last year, Norman likes the fact that he's in a better place with his teammates. Instead of getting to know them on the fly, he's got a better understanding of how they are both on and off the field.
Check out these photos of Josh Norman from his 2016 season with the Redskins.
"That's the biggest thing, getting out here and doing the workouts," Norman said. "Workouts are workouts; you are going to do your workouts and you go home. You can do that wherever you are at, but just being around the team, the guys, coaches, and getting the work done that you need to get done, that's the main thing because everything else is pretty much irrelevant at the end of the day. I think coming back here to that is the best thing."
Before returning to the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., last week to begin Phase 1 workouts, Norman spent his four months of early offseason time to focus on technique.
"You can always have a different technique," Norman said. "Even [defensive backs] coach [Torrian] Gray has a technique that I want to get down because he has put into the system that he wants us to do. So, I want to get that down and master that technique and philosophy of what he is trying to have us do."
This will mark Gray's first season back in the NFL in more than 10 years (he previously served as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears during the 2004-05 seasons).
While it will take some time to get used to how Gray lays out his plans for the defensive backs, Norman is ready to see how the former NFL player helps improve his overall game.
"I think that a coach for me is only going to enhance my game even more because I am going to do my thing first, I am going to do that," Norman said. "I think if I can do that and add a little bit of what coach does as well, then the sky is the limit."