NFL Training Camp Tour: Washington’s Josh Norman: Eyes on him ‘magnified times 10 now’

AAAA Josh Norman

Josh Norman sits down with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan

Sign a $75-million contract to join a new NFL team, and people are going to notice.

When you arrive at training camp, they want to see exactly what it is that makes you worth that much money. Every practice. Every snap.

It will only intensify during games.

“I get that scrutiny everywhere I go,” cornerback Josh Norman told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan at Washington’s training camp in Richmond, Va.. “All eyes (are) magnified times 10 now, so everything I do, everything I say, pretty much everything when I line up on the field, everything is always scrutinized. So to know that and understand when I’m going in there, try to do the best I can, not really worried about what other people say because they’re always going to have their opinions. The only thing that matters is mine and what I do.”

Norman also is being challenged constantly in practice by the receivers. At times, they get the better of him. At times, Norman comes out on top. Believe it or not, he doesn’t always want to win.

“Every time you can step up to the plate and get challenged and not win every one, but lose and then come back and figure out how did you lose?” Norman said. “When you have a challenge like that, man, that’s only like growth for you to get better. I don’t want to step up to the line and win every single one. How is that going to get me better? How is that going to improve my game?

“If I get beat, I’m trying to figure out how I got beat and I’m trying to correct that so going back up to the line, it doesn’t happen again. That’s pretty much how any player is trying to elevate their game is going to want it. You don’t want to win every single one. You want to see if somebody can overtake you. And these guys out here are doing that, man.

“I’m getting a game-time rep from them every time. It’s not like I’m getting a slouch route or something that I can just eat up. No, man. They’re giving me their best and I’m giving it back to them.”

NFL Training Camp Tour: Head Coach Jay Gruden on Cousins: ‘He’s got the respect of his teammates’

AAAA Jay Gruden

Jay Gruden sits down with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan

When assessing the state of Kirk Cousins’ game entering his second year as the starting quarterback, coach Jay Gruden puts one quality above the rest.

“The big thing is the comfort level,” Gruden told Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan at training camp in Richmond, Va. “He’s a lot more comfortable, and the more you do something, the better you’re going to get.

“When you’re a backup quarterback, you’re getting two reps out of every 12-play period. Now, he’s getting 10. And he has the year of experience under his belt. He’s got the respect of his teammates. They know who the quarterback is. And, with that, comes a great deal of responsibility. He’s handled it well.”

What Cousins’ teammates see the most is someone who pours tremendous time and effort into trying to make himself the best quarterback possible.

“He’s diligent in his work habits,” Gruden said. “He studies the heck out of the teams in film and our concepts and he’s a lot more comfortable.”

NFL Training Camp Tour: Falcons’ Ryan: ‘I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have’

AAAA Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan sits down with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt

Quarterbacks are supposed to exude confidence and optimism. It’s part of the job description.

Yet, Matt Ryan seems to be going a little bit beyond that with the level of enthusiasm he’s displaying at the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp.

“I feel like I’m in a really good place,” Ryan told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Falcons’ camp in Flowery Branch, Ga., Monday. “I feel like I’m throwing the ball better than I ever have and my body feels in really good shape. I feel really good about being in the second year of this system, very much on the same page with (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan). And I’m really excited about what’s in front of us.

“We’ve got a good, young team and I’m excited about playing with those guys. I’m excited, I really am. I’m excited about our team. I think we have a good football team. … Everybody’s a lot more comfortable, and I think we’re going to have a great year.”

NFL Training Camp Tour: Falcons’ Dimitroff: Moore thinking retirement for ‘awhile’

AAAA Thomas Dimitroff

Thomas Dimitroff sits down with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt

The Atlanta Falcons didn’t have, as General Manager Thomas Dimitroff put it, “grandiose visions” after signing free-agent wide receiver Lance Moore.

They thought he might add some depth, and, if he ended up in the fourth receiver slot, contribute on special teams. But after one practice with the Falcons, Moore — who routinely had big games against Atlanta as a member of the New Orleans Saints — decided to retire Monday.

“We brought Lance in to work out, and I think a lot of us thought, ‘I wonder if he’s still where he is?'” Dimitroff told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Falcons’ training camp in Flowery Branch, Ga. “He ran his routes really well, he was explosive, he looked in great shape and we thought, ‘OK, we might have hit on this.’ Again, we didn’t have grandiose visions of him coming in and turning the world upside down, but he was the kind of person we were looking for personality-wise.

“I think he was excited about it, but what he shared with me this morning is, ‘Hey, look, this is something that’s been on my mind for awhile.’ Obviously, he played at Detroit last year, and I think when he came in here I’m sure it was on his mind. As he mentioned, it wasn’t fair to the team, it wasn’t fair to the young guys he’d be taking reps from if his heart wasn’t in it.”

NFL Training Camp Tour: Jones: 2,000-yard receiver ‘possible’

AAAA Julio Jones

Julio Jones sits down with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt

Julio Jones caused plenty of imaginations to run wild last season when he caught 1,871 yards in passes for the Atlanta Falcons.

The number put another number very much in the discussion of what Jones or some other wide receiver in the NFL could reach: 2,000.

Jones allowed himself to ponder the idea of that milestone being achieved for the first time ever while talking with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt at the Falcons’ training camp in Flowery Branch, Ga., Monday.

“It’s definitely difficult to even think about doing,” Jones said. “My thing is, when I go (into) games, for me, personally, I don’t think about 2,000 yards. I had 1,800 yards last year, but I wasn’t even think about it. Everyone was like, ‘Oh, man, you’re so close, you’re so close. Are you trying to get it? Are you trying to get it?’ I’m like, ‘I’m trying to go out here and get a W, I’m trying to win the game.’

“But I think it’s possible, though. I definitely think it’s possible, but it depends on the defense, if they’re going to let that guy beat them that day.”

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