CHARLOTTE – Cornerback Josh Norman appreciates the respect opposing quarterbacks have shown him recently by not throwing his way.
But he can't hide the fact that he misses the action.
"I kind of do. I'm not going to lie," Norman said after Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford tested him just once last Sunday. Norman impressively broke up that pass to tight end Zach Ertz in the end zone. "I want to be a part of the game."
On Thursday, Norman expanded on the topic.
"I want to get in there and feel like I'm making a play or helping the team out," Norman said. "It was kind of frustrating me and I was like, 'Come on J-No, make a play!' Well, can't really make a play if it ain't coming to me."
He should be plenty involved against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.
Unlike the Eagles and Seahawks, Carolina's previous two opponents who don't feature a clear-cut No.1 wide receiver, the Colts frequently rely on wideout T.Y. Hilton, who leads the team with 37 receptions for 606 yards.
Quarterback Andrew Luck has been targeting Hilton more than 10 times per game.
"That challenge – I accept it," Norman said. "He's pretty darn good."
Will Norman cover Hilton exclusively? Norman and head coach Ron Rivera aren't about to distribute that information days before the game. But it's clear Norman will get his opportunities against the Colts' top target, and that's what Carolina's passionate, playmaking corner wants.
"I have a goal in mind. I can't reach my goal without being thrown to," Norman said. "I'm trying to be the best corner, I'm trying to be the Defensive Player of the Year, and I'm trying to have the most interceptions. If you set those high goals, who says you can't meet them?"
Norman wants to continue to produce like he did at the start of the season, but defensive coordinator Sean McDermott pointed out, the stats don't tell the whole story for elite cornerbacks.
"If they are not going to throw his direction," McDermott said, "that to me is the greatest sign of respect you can give someone."
View photos from the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game versus the Colts.