The Carolina-Washington Monday night game will be good entertainment, I am sure, but what I would really like is a ticket to see Cam Newton and Josh Norman form their teams and play basketball in the offseason.
The fact that the two play hoops against each other in the offseason in Atlanta – with Norman always playing with his brothers and Newton often playing with his older brother Cecil Jr. and some of his cousins – lends credence to the “they made up after the fight” storyline that developed after an August 2015 training-camp fight.
While Newton laughingly called his basketball ability “God-like” and compared his skills to LeBron James in a conference call with Washington reporters, Norman left no doubt as to who takes the basketball games more seriously and comes out on top more often.
Said Norman to Washington reporters this past week: “We run plays and do everything just like we’re coached to do, and we beat their tail every single time. So, little ‘Bron (Newton) is out here but don’t have a (winning) team. ... I take solace in understanding that we kick butt and we will again this year when we go and play each other this summer.”
Newton claimed that Norman and his brothers all have nicknames on the court like ‘Fat,’ ‘Black Fat,’ Chubby,’ ‘Boobie’ – you don’t know who is talking to who.”
Continued Newton: “They’re running plays in basketball, they’re asking for subs in a five-on-five game. I can’t handle it, man. We just do recreational, pickup games of basketball. They have got team jerseys and stuff.”
With all that history, as well as years of going against each other in practice, it will be no wonder when Newton tries to beat Norman on a ball that he probably should not have thrown Monday night. Newton admitted that he would probably do just that this week but said he was going to try to “control that beast” as much as he could.
▪ In the “veteran speedster” category, the Panthers have Ted Ginn Jr. and Washington has DeSean Jackson. Jackson has had a reception of 50 or more yards in three straight games.
▪ It’s always interesting to me when Jon Gruden has to call a game featuring his brother as the head coach. Jay Gruden, now Washington’s coach, not only is Gruden’s brother but also was once on Jon’s staff at Tampa Bay.
▪ Washington will be playing its first home game in 29 days. Given that and the playoff implications for Washington, I expect a great crowd.
▪ Prediction time. I have correctly picked the Panthers’ outcome the past six weeks in a row to go 9-4 on the season. On Sunday, I think Newton ultimately will be outgunned by Kirk Cousins. My pick: Washington 33, Carolina 26.