NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret Josh Norman likes to talk smack. He’ll get into it with anyone who dares to get up in his face.
But Norman, the Washington Redskins’ star cornerback, doesn’t shy away from throwing compliments to opposing players when he feels they deserve them.
Just ask Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
The No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft is moving closer and closer to earning the starting nod in Week 1 of the regular season at Detroit. He was stellar against the Atlanta Falcons in last Friday’s preseason opener and continued his solid play this week during three joint practices with the Redskins down in Virginia.
And though he was admittedly doubtful at first that Darnold would live up to the hype, Norman said he left those practices completely impressed.
“Someone asked me about him the other day and I was like, yeah, whatever, he’s just a guy,” Norman said on Tuesday. “Then you go out here and see him making these throws and you’re like, all right. That’s not so much a college-level throw. He’s putting them on the money.
“But then you go to 7-on-7 and it’s like, ‘OK, pass, catch here. Right there.’ But doggit, this little kid is not making mistakes. And he’s like, he’s really accurate.”
Darnold went 11-for-19 with two touchdowns against the Washington defense in practice on Tuesday. He’ll almost certainly see many of the Redskins’ first-teamers on Thursday night when the teams meet in a preseason game at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
Heading into training camp, it seemed like the Jets’ starting job was veteran Josh McCown’s to lose, if for no other reason than because he did so much last season before getting hurt, he deserved to at least enter the 2018 season as the starter. However, with the emergence of Darnold and with Teddy Bridgewater continuing to defy the odds following a brutal knee injury that kept him out of the NFL for two years, the Jets’ competition has gone from having a favorite to up for grabs to having another favorite.
He took 23 of his 28 reps with the first team on Tuesday. Though head coach Todd Bowles has not tipped his hand about who will get the nod for the regular season opener, many expect Darnold to start Thursday night. That would leave just next week of practice and the game against the Giants on Aug. 24 for this competition to be determined. Traditionally, the fourth preseason game is about backups fighting for roster spots. Bowles will likely know who his starter is by late next week, even if he won’t admit it.
Norman said Darnold has an “it” factor only few young quarterbacks possess.
“You know, you get rookies in here and you try to mess with them and bait them a little bit and thinking he’s going to throw a route that you know you can make a play on and (Darnold) is not having it,” Norman said. “It’s so crazy to see at an early age. Dak (Prescott) had that, Carson (Wentz) has that, so it’s like, man, they must come in here and not want to screw it up. He’s so far, he’s impressed me and I didn’t want him to. That’s the main thing.”