Panthers Josh Norman Quietly Getting Better

So far this offseason not much has been said about last years 5th round selection Josh Norman. Just to jar your memory a bit, this is the same guy many were thinking could eventually take over the number one CB spot. The problem with that assumption we soon found out was he would be unable to hold on to the #2 CB position.

I enjoy a confident player just as much as the next guy, however, Josh Norman certainly seemed to ruffle some feathers last preseason. He had no problem challenging his own teammate and arguably one of the best receivers in the league, pound for pound, in Steve Smith. While Smith was quick to shrug off Josh’s overzealous and sometimes cocky attitude, you had to wonder if he wasn’t rubbing a few other players the wrong way as well.

His confidence was on full display before he ever even put on a Panthers jersey. Even though he was only the second player from CCU to be invited to participate in the combine, this did not sway him from showing up on the first day of the draft to only eventually head home before round three. He would finally be selected by the Panthers in round 5 which many regarded as a steal in the draft.

Josh’s size and weight make him a very prototypical CB prospect. He showed the ability to make big plays during his time with CCU. I am sure you all remember the famous scrimmage in Panthers practice in which Josh produced 5 maybe 6 interceptions. Many took this as a sign that he could possibly translate that to the regular season. We quickly realized that was not going to be the case.

Trust me when I say, I think Josh can become the player we all hoped he could be. This article is not an attempt to drag him over the coals. I am writing this piece to try and temper many Panthers fans expectations for him this season. Many times last season we would see Josh playing 10-12 yards off the line, allowing the receiver a clean release. This resulted in some big plays down field and left Panther fans scratching their heads as to why? Why was he not on the line jamming the receivers and throwing off their timing? Was there something the defensive coaches were trying to mask? In my humble opinion, I feel there were times when Norman wasn’t able to recognize the plays quickly enough. This left him having to rely strictly on his athleticism and in the NFL that just doesn’t work. I feel the Panthers were a little hasty in thrusting him into a starting role in the first place. He seemed to have needed a little more time to grasp the Panthers defensive concepts and adjust to the speed of the NFL. Looking back I think Josh would have been better off coming in on a handful of downs, testing his ability and getting his feet wet at the same time. The Panthers did his confidence no favors by leaving him in situations he had no idea what was going on play after play. There is no doubt in my mind this kid is going to be great one day, however, it’s just a question of when.

So far this season things have been very quiet on the Josh Norman front. A while back general manager Dave Gettleman made mention of Josh coming back as a “different player”. Since then any time Ron Rivera etc. are asked about the cornerback competition they are quick to label it as “wide open”.  With the 2013 mini camps upon us I am sure we haven’t heard the last from Josh Norman. I just hope this time around he lets his play do the talking and most importantly we start to see it translate when it matters, on Sunday’s.

Topics: @THECatCrave, Carolina Panthers, Josh Norman, NFL

Want more from Cat Crave?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • ahrcshaw

    Like you I do not understand what happened to Josh Norman the DB’s played a lot better when he was benched. But like you I will give him the benefit of the doubt, Also they are real quiet about Gettis? We will see, Go Panther

  • Perry Woods

    Aw come on guys, you expect a fifth round draft pick from a division 2 school to walk right in, sit right down and turn the league on it’s ear? This is their second year in the league and I’d bet they’ll be better this year, probably better still next year. Apparently it’s taken Amani Edwards 4 years to get it but if reports I read are correct, he’s gone from a certain cut to a keeper. Maybe Marty Hurney wasn’t as dumb as the press made him out to be. Players like Newton and Kucechly are exceptions, when they come in, start and contribute right out of college. Have patience, most of these men will develop into NFL quality players and contribute. I wish there was a magic wand that would turn every player into Steve Smith and if there was, I wish Jerry Richardson had it. Turns out, the only magic wand is time. Give these players that and most won’t disappoint you.