DeSean Jackson defends Josh Norman’s much-scrutinized practices

Coach Jay Gruden said it during his news conference and he’s not just pumping up a guy: Linebacker Martrell Spaight looks good. He’s typically facing backups, so keep that in mind, but you can start to see why the Redskins drafted him in 2015. Spaight had a terrific play Thursday when he read RB Keith Marshall running to his left, shot through the line untouched and stopped him for a loss. I’ll have more on this later, but Spaight has worked hard in coverage. What he doesn’t have to work hard on is hitting the hole with violence. That’s what he showed at Arkansas and he’s showing more than a few glimpses in camp.

Mentioned rookie lineman Matt Ioannidis the other day and I’ll touch on him briefly again: He falls into occasional lapses where he stands too upright looking for the ball. When he doesn’t do this, he can be effective and he does move well laterally. For now, it’s part of the transition from college.

With Trent Williams sidelined, second-year Arie Kouandjio took snaps at left tackle Thursday afternoon with the third unit. Ty Nsekhe worked with the starters and continues to hold his own whenever he’s on the field. Those long arms pay off for him.

Another rookie, Su’a Cravens, is starting to feel more comfortable and playing a little faster. You can see his instincts starting to emerge. He covered a checkdown with good speed, racing up to make what would have probably been a 2-yard gain. He broke before the pass so it was a good read. Cravens showed good reaction on a run earlier in the practice, filling the gap fast. And on a boot to his left, Cravens did a nice job covering Ryan Grant on a cross.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins capped a two-minute drive with a fade to the left corner of the end zone for receiver Pierre Garcon, who was covered by Bashaud Breeland. Cousins had two plays earlier that jumped out, one good and one not so good. On the first, Cousins connected with Rashad Ross in front of Norman but the corner never had a chance. The ball was out before Ross had planted and turned. On the next play, Breeland read the play, undercut Grant and nearly intercepted the ball.

Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman fired back at Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who took a jab at Norman on Twitter over his Madden NFL 17 ranking.

After a video from practice surfaced last week of wide receiver Pierre Garcon running past Norman in a one-on-one drill, Peterson replied to a tweet by saying, “but he’s the highest rating lol madden is a joke.” Norman, who actually broke up the pass on the video, received the No. 1 ranking among cornerbacks in Madden NFL 17; Peterson was fourth.

Norman responded on Twitter with a Kermit the Frog meme and said, “guess they ain’t put NO #RESPEK! On your name #4.” On Thursday, Norman, who signed a five-year contract in April worth up to $75 million, was perplexed by Peterson’s initial tweet.

“That guy? Come on, man,” Norman said about Peterson on Thursday. “Be No. 4 and be happy. Come on, don’t talk about me, I’m not talking about you. I mean, I’ll still continue to work and try to be better than No. 1. Where that is, I don’t know, but I’m working toward that. Obviously he’s somewhere trolling other people. He should be worried about what he’s doing on the field and if he gets beat up this year. He shouldn’t be trolling me.”

Norman has battled Garcon and DeSean Jackson in practice, losing on occasion and winning on others. His losses have been shown on video. Peterson then mentioned in another tweet that of the three games Jackson has played against him, he’s only had one big play, which happened to be for 56 yards in 2014.

Richard Sherman: Tharold Simon will be better than me

“The kid’s a player, he just needs to put it all together and hopefully he can stay healthy and it’ll be a fantastic year for him.”

At a fluid 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds with physicality and an ornery disposition, Simon fits the Seattle cornerback mold under Pete Carroll. His potential is one of the reasons the Seahawks believe this year’s version of the famed Legion of Boom secondary could be the deepest and most flexible yet.

“Physically (Simon is) the best he’s been since we’ve had him,” Carroll said this week. “It kind of shows up, he had two huge plays today. We’re just going to let a lot of time go by, we’ll get a lot of snaps and see how it plays out. It’s really good to have that kind of depth, that kind of competition going on at that spot.”

The Seahawks can thank their nucleus of talented, smart and proud veterans for their status as annual NFC superpowers. If they’re going to fulfill this year’s Super Bowl expectations, though, they’re going to need promising breakout candidates such as Simon, Frank Clark, Tyler Lockett and Thomas Rawls to realize their potential.

Former Browns and Titans castoff Terrance West isn’t just pushing for a roster spot in Baltimore. He’s building a strong case to surpass Justin Forsett and Javorius Allen as the Ravens’ top running back.

Through a week of training camp, the Baltimore Sun lauded the slimmed-down West as the team’s “most explosive offensive player.” ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley followed suit on Thursday, noting that West has been the offense’s “No. 1 playmaker.”

West developed a reputation as a headcase in Cleveland after the Browns traded ahead of the hometown Ravens to select the FCS record-setting Towson standout in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Traded to Tennessee for a seventh-round pick early last September, the mistake-prone West lasted just two games with the Titans before he was summarily waived in mid-November. Landing on his feet in Baltimore, he rushed for 180 yards on 46 late-season carries.