It is upon us: the sequel to the most hyped, contentious wide receiver-cornerback feud in recent memory.
When the Redskins visit the Meadowlands this Sunday to take on the Giants, it will signal the culmination of an offseason-long string of barbs and subtweets launched back and forth between former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, now with the Skins, and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, who had an infamous on-field battle in Week 15 of the 2015 season.
Ahead of the rematch, Norman once again had to face the local media, who rightly tried to goad him into more smack talk. Norman, to his credit, was having none of it and instead presented himself as more revisionist historian than vengeful warrior.
"He's a good player. He's a really good player. No hate whatsoever, man," Norman said of Beckham on Wednesday. "The guy can play ball. I think the competitor in me likes that. Just a challenge to get up for that. He's a good player."
When asked whether he held a grudge against Beckham for the receiver's helmet-to-helmet hit last year, Norman played peacemaker.
"God tells us to forgive all. So I'm working on that," Norman mused. "But I have moved past it. That was last year. There are things that happened in the past that stay in the past whether they're here or not. I'm sure he didn't want it to happen, just like everybody else didn't. But it did. My feelings about it, really doesn't matter to be honest with you."
There's reason to question whether Norman's quotes are emblematic of an honest detente between the two players or he's simply playing games in the media, lulling his opponent into a false of security. Or maybe Norman is tired of this nine-month-long storyline, just like the rest of us, and is trying to put it all to rest.
One question that won't go away is whether the expensive Redskins corner will even cover the same side of the field as Beckham. In Washington's two opening losses, Norman has been criticized for not playing on his opponent's top wideouts, namely Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant. Norman has said he's just doing what the coaches tell him to, but for some, that's not a good enough excuse to have the most valuable player on your roster cover lesser receivers.
When asked about his plans for Norman on Sunday, coach Jay Gruden was vague, saying, "A lot of times in (the Pittsburgh game), they were a lot of no huddle. ... Week 2, we're able to adjust a little bit. Players are starting to play a little bit more together. Week 3, we could change a little bit more. I think you'll see us change every week, week-to-week depending on who we're playing, what the game plan we have for that team. Just how comfortable guys are at different positions is whether we'll move them around or not."
Norman claims he is in the dark on his plans for Beckham, or is being very coy, taking after his coach.
"I don't know. Somewhere I saw a leak that says I'll be shadowing him everywhere but the slot. But it's kind of crazy because I didn't get the memo," Norman joked. "I didn't know we were planning on anything. I know I'm playing on the left side of the field like coach asked me to do. Where that came from, I have no idea. Maybe you could tell me."
Norman added that he hasn't spoken to Beckham since their December duel, but something tells us they'll have plenty of time to chat on Sunday.