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Norman misses practice after questioning role with Redskins
By BRIAN MCNALLY
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Josh Norman spent practice casually riding an exercise bike on the sideline of the Washington Redskins' indoor facility.
Coach Jay Gruden said Norman's knee was sore. The cornerback insisted nothing was wrong.
Nothing better sums up the Redskins' predicament as they prepare for the final three weeks of the NFL season already eliminated from the NFC playoff race at 5-8.
Norman let his frustrations spill over after a 30-13 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, telling reporters after the game that he signed a $75 million, five-year contract with the Redskins because he believed they could win a Super Bowl. That goal doesn't feel close after two consecutive blowout losses.
"If we're not doing that, what are we doing? Why are we here?" Norman told The Washington Post.
Norman rarely misses practice. He broke a rib Oct. 2 loss at Kansas City and missed the following two games. But since his return in a Week 8 loss against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 29, Norman hasn't missed a snap in seven games.
He insisted Wednesday his knee isn't an issue at all and expects to play against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday even if there's nothing on the line for his team.
"Maybe a little wear and tear," Gruden said. "I don't think it's anything serious. More of a rest day for Josh, so to speak. But he is a little sore."
The Redskins aren't willing to push Norman's health, however. He was beaten deep on a pass to Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen on Sunday and has felt frustrated as a defense that showed signs of improvement early this season has fallen on hard times again.
"We've got to win. That's all that matters," Norman said Wednesday. "Nothing changes other than doing what we're supposed to do, doing what we're asked to do, doing what we're coached to do."
Norman has made it clear he enjoys the challenge of covering an opponent's top wide receiver. That hasn't always happened during his time in Washington and didn't again on Sunday, when fellow cornerback Bashaud Breeland sometimes matched up against Allen.
Norman expressed frustration with that, too, though Gruden said the 29-year-old's role is "fine."
"He's a corner, that's what position he plays," Gruden said. "The majority of NFL teams have two or three really good receivers, and a lot of times you start trying to run around and matching with one guy, then everybody else has to get set on their guys and it creates confusion."
NOTES: TE Jordan Reed, placed on injured reserve Monday, could undergo surgery on his injured big left toe. . LT Trent Williams (knee), LB Zach Brown (illness/hip/Achilles tendon/toe), S Montae Nicholson (concussion) and RT Morgan Moses (ankle) also did not practice Wednesday. ... K Dustin Hopkins (hip), on injured reserve since Oct. 18, could return before the end of the season. In his absence, rookie Nick Rose has made 10 of 11 field goals, with a long of 55 yards.
For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Updated December 13, 2017
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