The feud between Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will likely take center stage Sunday, as the Redskins are reportedly expected to have Norman shadow the Giants' top target in most situations.
Britt McHenry of ESPN reported Wednesday that Washington's prized offseason addition is going to follow Beckham around the formation unless he lines up in the slot.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden hinted Tuesday a change of tactics could be in order, per JP Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
"We have some of that in every game plan where he can travel. I think a lot of people are making a big deal about him not traveling," Gruden said. "Each week could be different. He might play Odell every snap traveling."
Norman's role within the defense has been a hot-button topic through the first couple of weeks. Washington faced two of the game's top receivers, Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, and the corner spent most of the time locked on the left side of the field.
The 28-year-old reigning First-Team All-Pro selection spoke about the situation with ESPN's Ed Werder last week: "My office is on the left side, hours are 1 to 4. You can make an appointment, check in and I will see about you."
Now it appears the Redskins' plans are changing just in time for Norman to face off with Beckham after the pair engaged in a heated battle last December while Norman was still with the Carolina Panthers.
Washington ranks 20th in the league in pass defense through two weeks in large part because Bashaud Breeland, its No. 2 corner, isn't capable of covering the likes of Brown and Bryant.
A source told McHenry the coaching staff wanted to make the switch sooner but worried about Breeland's reaction to the decision. He'd expressed disappointment about the idea that Norman would shadow the top target in previous weeks.
The Redskins made a large investment in Norman after the Panthers rescinded his franchise tag in April, giving him a five-year, $75 million deal, per Spotrac. It's virtually impossible for him to present that type of value if he's locked on the left side battling a series of No. 2 wideouts.
It just so happens the change in philosophy comes as a matchup with Beckham looms, which should lead to plenty of fireworks during Sunday's clash. It's a crucial contest for the Redskins, who are already two games behind the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.