The Washington Post

Wait ‘til next year--again

When DeAngelo Hall came to the Washington Redskins midway through the 2008 season as a free agent who had been cut by the Oakland Raiders, the Redskins – then coached by Jim Zorn – owned a 6-2 record. But they stumbled, going 2-6 to finish 8-8.

Hall recalls how he and his teammates entered that offseason saying “hopefully next year will be our year.”

But Zorn and the Redskins went 4-12, and the coach was fired. The players again hoped for next year, and Mike Shanahan took over in January of 2010, but went 6-10 in his first season.

Now the Redskins own a 5-10 record and need a win over the Philadelphia Eagles to equal last year’s mark and equal the lowly record of Zorn’s embarrassing two-year tenure. And once again, Hall is hoping for next year.

“I’ve been here 3-1/2 years and it’s always been ‘hopefully next year,’ so it’s definitely tiring. Hopefully that won’t be the case next year,” Hall said chuckling and rolling his eyes. “Hopefully [we’re] one offseason away. Hopefully one draft, one free agency away from adding more pieces on offense, maybe a couple pieces on defense away from being what we want to be.”

Hall said he believes a turnaround in Year 3 of the Shanahan era is possible. The organization spent last season primarily upgrading the defense, and the results have started to show. Now the hope is that with an emphasis on the offense this coming offseason, a breakthrough will come there as well.

“We took the 31st-ranked defense to now being top 15,” Hall said. “The offense has been playing great the last couple weeks, so hopefully, through the draft and free agency we can get the pieces we want and get our kind of guys, Washington Redskins, and be the team we want to be.”

The Redskins face an Eagles team Sunday that, like them, entered the year with high aspirations, only to post a disappointing campaign and miss the playoffs. Hall and his teammates hope to avenge a 20-13 loss to Philadelphia earlier this season and at least give themselves a positive start to their unwanted vacations.

“When I got here, they were 6-2, and that’s more wins than we’ve got right now. We’re not trying to compare the two coaches and win for that. We just want to go out there and end on a good note,” Hall said. “It’d be nice [to win]. It’d be real nice, especially against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that we know pretty well and haven’t been able to beat for a while.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.



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