Victor Cruz Talks Josh Norman's Matchup vs. Odell Beckham, Play vs. Redskins

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2016

New York Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz (80) and Odell Beckham Jr. (13) stand together during a drill in practice at the team's NFL football camp, Sunday, July 31, 2016 in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
RICH SCHULTZ/Associated Press

The New York Giants won't play the Washington Redskins until Week 3, but that didn't stop wide receiver Victor Cruz from throwing some shade cornerback Josh Norman's way Wednesday.

"Especially if he calls himself—I don't call him this, he calls himself the best corner in the league—then you have to go cover the best receivers on the other team," Cruz said, per ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan. "Going in, I thought he was going to follow [Antonio Brown] all over the place, but he didn't. So it is what it is. He made his choice."

Washington is coming off a 38-16 opening-week loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which Brown caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Surprisingly, Norman didn't match up with Brown for most of the game.

In his defense, he fared better against Brown than teammate Bashaud Breeland did, per Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson:

Cruz doesn't expect Norman to stay away from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when Washington and New York meet on Sept. 25.

"He didn't get into a fisticuffs with those guys last year, so it will be different," Cruz said. "I'd be a little surprised given the circumstances if he doesn't follow Odell around the field. I'd be a little surprised, to be honest."

As soon as Norman arrived in the nation's capital, Washington and New York's regular-season meetings became two of the most heavily anticipated games on the calendar.

After the Carolina Panthers' 38-35 win in Week 15 last year, Norman called Beckham a ballerina, adding, "That goes to show you...what kind of player he is," per James Kratch of NJ Advance Media. Beckham picked up three personal fouls in the contest, and the NFL suspended him for one game.

On Sept. 2, the Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler shared an excerpt from his book Panthers Rising, in which Norman diminished Beckham's accomplishments in the NFL:

He's yapping over there. And (Beckham doesn't) even sound like he's making any sense. He just went (in the draft) in the first round and everything is handed to him. He gets to New York. ... He catches one stupid little ball, and everybody in New York (loves) this guy, because that’s the biggest amount of media in the world. ... So all that went to his big old head, and for some odd reason he thinks he's somebody that he’s not.

Before Fowler published his article, Beckham used a similar tactic to downplay Norman's impact, which elicited a response from the All-Pro corner:

Cruz's comments are unlikely to be the last shot fired in the ongoing rivalry between the two Pro Bowlers.

Beckham and Norman are two of the best at their respective positions, so their head-to-head battle would be must-see television even without all of the back-and-forth jabs, which should make the Week 3 meeting even more fun to watch.

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