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Norman on Dez: Not a battle 'when other person don't show up'

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The smoke had cleared after Thursday's fireworks. And Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was, in his words, still not sure what all the fuss was about.

"It just baffles me that we're going back and forth," Norman told NFL.com by phone after a day of reflection, watching countless media outlets focus on Dez Bryant's comments after their Thanksgiving showdown. "I don't know if there really is anything to say. What am I going to go back and forth for? It's not a battle. It's not a competition when the other person don't show up. What am I competing against? I compete against myself every week."

Bryant and Norman battled for 60 minutes, then butted heads some more after the game. On the field literally and in the locker room figuratively.

Bryant, the lightning rod of a Cowboys receiver, had sounded off postgame when he told NFL Network's Jane Slater he was "wearing (Norman's) ass out" and that Washington "needs to get their money back."

It was reminiscent of when a 2015 version of then-Panthers cornerback Norman said of Bryant, "Hey, they need to get Dez's $70 million back.

"Come on, man," Norman told me this week. "Be original."

As Norman tries to come to grips with why the media world is still talking about Norman versus Dez, he points to the stats. "The numbers show it," he said. Yes, the Cowboys won both matchups. But per NFL Network research, Bryant had just three catches on five targets for 32 yards in the 15 plays Norman was covering him. He finished with 72 yards overall. In their first game this season, Bryant had no catches against Norman in 11 plays on two targets. He finished with 102 yards receiving overall when other defensive backs were covering him.

Further, Norman points out, this isn't new for him. Now with the Redskins, Norman faces a top receiver regularly.

"I have obstacles every week," Norman said. "This is just one of the matchups, just one of the obstacles. This is what he gets up for, not me. He's just another one of the guys that I face. One of the tall tasks they got me stacked up against."

He cherishes the battles against Giants receiver Odell Beckham, but Norman said of his wars with Bryant, "It's not like with the guy from up in N.Y." Norman's point is, it's not a battle when the same person wins all the time.

"If you have a big impact, go off," Norman said. "But you didn't." Norman found Bryant was out of his game, trash-talking out of frustration and moving into the slot to escape. In the Redskins' defense, Norman doesn't follow Bryant there. He admits the Cowboys are good -- who wouldn't?

"But it's not like he carries them," Norman said. "They carry themselves. That stuff he does, it's just extra antics."

Washington is 6-4-1 and if the playoffs started now, the Redskins are a wild-card team. Norman knows he could see Bryant and the Cowboys down the road.

"I hope we see them again," he said.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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