photo by Brian Murphy
During the offseason the Washington Redskins dominated national headlines with their $100 million acquisition of free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. And while that move garnered all the attention, the ‘Skins also moved quickly to lock up another defensive stalwart, inking cornerback DeAngelo Hall to a six-year, $55 million deal.
After joining the team halfway through last season, the playmaking Pro Bowler was just what the doctor ordered – finally giving the team’s secondary someone capable of creating turnovers for the first time since Sean Taylor.
We wanted to catch up with Hall this week to talk about his news of the week, the depth at cornerback and anything else on his mind.
Okay, you’re a week into training camp, how you feeling these days?
“I feel good,” he said. “I feel good. I’m still pushing through a little bit of the conditioning stuff and getting the body used to the movements. Like I said, when I train in the offseason I don’t do too much backpeddling and all that stuff, so this is good for your base to kind of get going. We’re a week down, still feel good.”
We hate to be the ones to bring this up, but you know there are folks out there who are convinced now that you’ve gotten paid, you’re going to be content to sit around and collect a paycheck. What do you have to say to those individuals?
“The critics can kiss my ass,” Hall said.
“A whole bunch of stuff,” he said. “You know, all access to me and what’s going on. Redskins stuff, on and off the field with DHall TV … man, it’s gonna be all access.
Be real with us, is this you, or did you pay some dude to run it for you?
“Nah, this is me,” Hall said. “I’m obviously not a computer major, so I can’t go up there and run the whole website, but I’m definitely hands on with blogging and stuff like that. I’m doing that, videos and stuff. It’s a lot of me on it.”
All of this, it just feels like home for you, right?
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I feel good. I feel good. Like I said, all the critics can wait and see. Just wait and see. We’ve got 16 weeks, four preseason games and I get a good receiver every week. We’ll get a chance to go out there and win games. It’ll definitely be fun. And I’m feeling great, so it’s gonna be real fun.”
We wanted to check in with you and see how the young guys like Justin Tryon and Kevin Barnes are coming along. What are you seeing from them so far?
“They looking good,’ Hall said. “When I came here last year, Tryon was a rookie and I didn’t really know what to expect. But this whole offseason, I’ve been watching him prepare, and then they drafted Barnes, and I’ve been watching him kind of working some of the bugs out and transition from college to the NFL. You know, those guys look good. Those guys look real good. If we need them, I think they can definitely play for us and contribute.”
Okay, everything else aside, how good can this defense be?
“Great isn’t a word I use a lot, but we could definitely be great,” he said. “We could be great. You look at the guys we’ve got and the talent we have, we could be great. But it’s not about on paper or the stats or stuff like that. We’ve got to go out there every Sunday and show everybody what we can do. That’s the bottom line. Until we do it, it really don’t mean too much.”
Well, we’re on record as saying that DeAngelo Hall will be the defensive MVP of the Redskins this year. So make sure you go out there and make us look good.
(Laughs). “Okay, I appreciate it,” Hall said.
As we were wrapping up the interview, Hall decided to go back to something we talked about earlier.
“You had to be there,” Hall said. “You had to be there in Oakland to see just how bad it really was to understand. And here … it’s beautiful. It’s completely different.”
And that pretty much sums up every conversation we’ve had with Hall since he came to D.C. last year. He’s not the cocky coach killer that many worried would negatively influence the locker room when he first arrived. He’s someone who, at just 25, feels lucky to have a second chance to show the world he is among the NFL’s elite, and more than anything, is simply glad to be here in Washington – a place he’s happy to call home.