When cornerback DeAngelo Hall said Friday he was “extremely confident” about the Washington Redskins’ secondary’s ability to cope with the Saints offense in Sunday’s season opener, there was little evidence to suggest his faith was justified.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees set NFL records for completion percentage and passing yards last season. The Redskins were playing without two safeties, injured starter Brandon Meriweather and suspended backup Tanard Jackson, and their remade defensive backfield appeared vulnerable at times during the preseason.
But Hall, as it turned out, was right.
Some of Brees’s numbers in Sunday’s game were decent. He threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns.
But for the most part, the Redskins’ defensive backfield got the job done. Brees, who completed 71.2 percent of his passes last season, connected on only 46.2 percent of his throws Sunday, going 24 for 52. He threw two late interceptions and the Redskins won, 40-32.
“I was surprised by the way the secondary covered,” former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert, now a broadcaster in New Orleans, said by telephone Monday. “That was surprising to me because of the injuries at safety. You don’t keep Drew Brees under 50 percent very often. It just doesn’t happen. And it wasn’t necessarily that Drew was off by that much. I felt like they had people covered and made some plays in the secondary to prevent some of those passes from being completed.”
DeJon Gomes, who started in place of Meriweather, had one of the Redskins’ two interceptions Sunday. Reserve safety Reed Doughty had the other on the game’s final play as Brees lofted a desperation pass into the end zone.
Hall had one of the Redskins’ two sacks of Brees.