Day after day, practice after practice, they make each other better.
Alex Smith, the new Washington Redskins’ quarterback who is known for his precision, realizes he has to be at the very top of his game every time he faces cornerback Josh Norman.
‘It’s a tough test every day’
Norman feels the same way, although he was the one who recently got the better of Smith during a workout.
“He got me on fan day a couple of days ago,” Smith told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan during the SiriusXM training camp tour stop at the Redskins’ Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Va. “It was the first or second play of the day, we tried to go over the top backside, and Josh made a nice play and got me. It’s a tough test every day. The best practice for me going against Josh knowing if I’m off at all with my eyes and feet, at all, if I’m a half-second late, if I’m looking too early Josh is going to make you pay.
‘It’s hard to get any freebies over there’
“So it’s so nice to go against, because I know every little detail matters when I’m throwing to my right (on) any kind of timing route because Josh has such good eyes on the backfield. So if I’m late, if I miss a throw, if I’m staring at something, he has such good instincts and break on the ball, it’s hard to get any freebies over there. I think I’m so aware of my fundamentals when I’m throwing over there, because if you slip up at all, he’s going to make you pay.”
Norman has the same healthy respect for Smith. And he feels that those practice encounters do wonders to elevate his performance for when he’s facing a quarterback from a different team.
‘What beats a perfect defense? A perfect pass’
“I have to drive out of my phase 110 percent every time,” Norman told Miller and Kirwan. “If I don’t, I know it’s completed automatically because that’s the guy we’re going against. I can play the wide receiver all I want, but it’s Alex back there who’s making the wide receiver perfect. I can be in perfect coverage, but he’s going to throw to that wide receiver perfect every time.
“And if I can’t get my hand on the ball, it’s frustrating. Because for me, I’m right there in the play, Alex throws him right. What beats a perfect defense? A perfect pass. And he’s been doing that this whole camp, so it’s kind of hard for me to make a play on a guy like that.”
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