(photo by Brian Murphy)
When the Washington Redskins signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall it was viewed by most as a low risk, high reward acquisition.
While Hall was a two-time Pro Bowler, he was almost universally labeled one of the most overrated players in the game. “Lots of flash. Not much substance,” the critics would say.
Of course, Hall’s time with the Oakland Raiders did nothing to hush the mounting criticism (even if most players become better overnight simply by turning in their silver and black uniforms and relocating to any other NFL city). Well-respected organizations such as the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers showed interest in Hall, who ultimately chose the Redskins because it was close to home and more importantly, just felt right.
Well, three games into his time in Washington, Hall is beginning to look like a steal. Sure, he’s young and athletic, but more importantly, the 24-year-old adds a playmaker to the ‘Skins defense that has been sorely lacking since Champ Bailey changed zip codes.
In just three games in the maroon and black, Hall already has two interceptions – placing him second on the entire team, just one behind Chris “The Predator” Horton. The other three cornerbacks on the roster – Carlos Rogers, Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs – have a total of three picks (one each) the entire season. We decided to track him down after the Giants game to see why things are coming so easy to him these days.
You just showed up on a team that for years has had trouble holding on to interceptions and are making it look easy. What’s really going on?
(Laughs) “I don’t know,” Hall said. “My hat just goes off to the scheme. It gives me a chance to see the ball. That was one of the biggest things I didn’t like about Oakland. I’m a guy who likes to try and see the ball and try to make a play for the ball. I feel like I got pretty good hands. I played a little bit of receiver too, so any times I can get my hands on the ball I try to catch it. I’ve just been put in good positions. We’ve made good calls on those plays and I was able to make a play.”
What did you see on that play against Eli Manning and the New York Giants that enabled you to pick off that pass?
“I just jammed the receiver, Hixon, and he never really saw Eli throw the ball,” Hall said. “It was just a timing route. I jammed him up and Eli was throwing the ball regardless if he was open or not, and I was just able to make a play on it.”
It looked to us like you could have had another interception if you and Springs didn’t get mixed up. Did you say anything to Springs after that play?
“Nah,” he said. “I just told him we need to make some baseball calls and call it in the air. You know I’m an ex-centerfielder, so I’m used to calling it. I guess he’s just not used to hearing me call for it, so we bumped into each other. They punted it away a few plays later, so were still able to get the ball back. It would have been devastating if they’d have been able to go down the field and score, so we were happy about that.”
Both of your interceptions have ended with you striking the same pose. Do you have a name for that move yet? If not, we should come up with a name for it because we’re hoping to see a lot of it.
“Nah, it’s just something I’ve always done since my rookie year,” he said. “I just gotta keep it going.”
So that’s my challenge to ‘Skins fans – come up with a creative name for Hall’s Johnny Drama Tribute. Feel free to leave a comment below with your best shot.