(ABC)–Jay Gruden is backing his star player. In fact, Gruden may be ‘doubling down.’
Following Sunday’s tie against the Bengals in London, cornerback Josh Norman said that one of the game officials ‘sucked.’ Norman was flagged five times in the game, and the Redskins committed 15 penalties overall.
Gruden spoke with reporters Monday via conference call, and I asked him if he was concerned that Norman – following his comments about the officiating Sunday – could be ‘targeted’ by officials moving forward.
“Well, he can’t be any more targeted than he was yesterday, that’s for sure,” said Gruden. “Josh is his own man and he really speaks his mind and he just felt strongly about the way he felt and he put it out there.”
Gruden continued: “It’s going to be hard to put a filter on Josh. He’s very passionate about the game. He’s a great player, I love his energy, I love what he brings to this football team. He’s one of the greatest competitors on this team that I’ve seen in a long time and I will not take that away from him. So, he’s just going to continue to go out there and compete. As far as him being targeted, he probably is a little bit but he’s going to have to deal with it and work on his hand placement and just continue to work and get better and better, but he’s a great player and I love his passion.”
Gruden noted that – in his opinion – being ‘targeted’ is not uncommon for aggressive, high-profile cornerbacks.
“You know, I think some of the great corners had to go through that a little bit. I think [Darrelle] Revis probably has in his career and it just goes with the territory. When you’re a great player, people keep a closer eye on you.”