Josh Norman apparently was tuning out Redskins head coach Jay Gruden during halftime, literally. According to Redskins insider Kevin Sheehan, Norman’s benching at halftime of Monday’s blowout loss against the New Orleans Saints was not for his blown coverage in the first half, but because the cornerback was wearing headphones while Gruden and the coaching staff was addressing the team.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post relayed a transcript of Sheehan’s description of events leading to Norman’s benching.
So here's something. Kevin Sheehan, longtime host of the Skins pregame show, reported on his podcast today that Josh Norman was benched last week for not taking his headphones off during Gruden's halftime talk. Here's Sheehan's report. Listen here https://t.co/KDjbTIAx36 pic.twitter.com/CryxCD14Ot
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) October 12, 2018
Norman was benched to start the third quarter in favor of rookie and seventh-round pick Greg Stroman. Stroman ultimately was beat by Saints wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith for a 35-yard touchdown — the same receiver that got past Norman and safety D.J. Swearinger in the first half after a mix up in coverage that led to a 62-yard touchdown. Norman would return to the game on the next series.
Following the game, Gruden said the matter was between him and Norman. When asked about his benching, Norman said “whatever Jay said that’s what we’re going to go with.”
According to Sheehan, Gruden had to remove the headphones from Norman and he added “there is not a lot of good vibes” from the coaching staff about Norman.
Having a cornerback for whatever the reasons allegedly wearing headphones while the head coach is addressing team after the same cornerback was involved in three huge plays that cost his team — two touchdowns passes and a holding penalty — there would be no surprise if anyone within the organization’s perception of Norman has soured.