DeAngelo Hall says Mike Shanahan used to overrule Jim Haslett


(By Mark Gormus / AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Among the explosive end-of-2013 revelations: Mike Shanahan was occasional overruling Jim Haslett’s defensive calls. From The Post story:

Shanahan, in his second year into the job, began sitting in on coaches’ defensive meetings. According to a former coach, staff members stormed out several times, furious after Shanahan had changed that week’s defensive game plan.

Haslett, the defensive coordinator and a former NFL head coach, also had part of his play-calling duties on the defense usurped by Shanahan, according to two coaches and a veteran player.

One of Shanahan’s first calls came in September 2011, during a game at Dallas. With the Cowboys on their own 30 with 2 minutes 20 seconds to play, Shanahan called an all-out blitz — “Cover-0,” as it is known — and it backfired, resulting in Dallas quarterback Tony Romo finding wide receiver Dez Bryant for a 30-yard gain. Dallas eventually kicked a field goal for an 18-16 victory, and Haslett was left to shoulder the blame.

Now, DeAngelo Hall has sort of talked about this before. But probably not as explicitly as he did with Comcast SportsNet’s Chick Hernandez this week.

“When the coaching change happens and Jim Haslett remains, some folks kind of scratch their heads,” Hernandez said. “But let’s be honest here, Jim Haslett wasn’t always the guy calling the plays for you guys last year. How difficult was it knowing that the head coach was sticking his head in and making changes, or making calls?”

“Yeah, I mean, it was probably more difficult for Jim than us,” Hall said. “You know, we were going through all week practicing a certain call, knowing that we were going to call it in certain situations. And there would be certain times where Mike WOULD overrule Jim. And I told Jim, I understand where you’re coming from. There are certain techniques  and things that I want to do that Mike would tell me the same thing — ‘Well, you know, I kind of want you to play it like this as opposed to  that.’

“And football, especially defense, it’s a game of chess moreso than checkers,” Hall said. “You can’t go out there thinking you’re going to just put a chip here and jump. You’ve got to almost set it up four or five plays ahead of time, knowing you’re going to come back to something that looks pretty similar to the defense you just ran.

“And we’ve been doing a great job of doing that out here in camp. We’ve been running things against our offense, switching it up, showing the same look and it’s something completely different, so we’v’e been able to kind of keep them off balance a little bit. And as a defense — as a great defense — you have to be able to do that.”

Incidentally, over/under on the last time a Redskins player talks about the problems of the Shanahan era is 2063.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · August 1

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