The self-described leader of Washington’s secondary has been among the weakest links of the NFL’s bottom-ranked pass defense. Then late in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hall was ejected — he berated an official in a profanity-laced tirade — and faces possible disciplinary action from the NFL. In his ninth season in the league, Hall is aging poorly, on and off the field.
- Jason Reid
Jason Reid: DeAngelo Hall showing no signs of being leader of porous Redskins secondary
Although we all lose a step as the clock continues to wind, experience should be an asset. Obviously, at this stage of Hall’s career, the Redskins cannot expect him to perform at the elite level he once did, which was Pro-Bowl-good but not Hall-of-Fame-great.
Few cornerbacks have remained at the top of their game for as long as Hall has been chasing receivers. But it’s quite reasonable for the Redskins to look to Hall to set a positive example, especially since they’re not getting enough from him in the most important part of his job.
In losing his cool in Pittsburgh, Hall missed an opportunity to show younger players on the team the right way to react when things aren’t going your way.
Contending that Pittsburgh wideout Emmanuel Sanders should have been flagged for throwing him to the ground, Hall took off his helmet and confronted head linesman Dana McKenzie. The meeting ended badly for Hall, who was booted from the 27-12 loss with 3 minutes 48 seconds to play. McKenzie only made the situation worse by arguing with Hall (“Man, he was going right back at me,” Hall told me Wednesday).
Even if Commissioner Roger Goodell winds up agreeing with Hall, which is highly unlikely, Hall still would have screwed up.
There’s never a good time to curse at an official and get kicked out of a game. It was fine for Hall to complain to McKenzie about Sanders supposedly using wrestling moves on the football field. Once it became clear McKenzie wasn’t interested in what Hall had to say, Hall should have backed off. True leaders display their best judgment during the most emotional times.
Hall is a three-time Pro Bowler. He’s tied for sixth among active players with 37 career interceptions. In past seasons, he has publicly challenged coaches to put more on his shoulders. Hall has sought the spotlight. Because of that, he has leadership responsibility. He can’t chose to put his personal feelings, no matter how wronged he feels, ahead of what’s best for the team.
During a private conversation with Hall on Wednesday at Redskins Park, I got the sense that he’s trying to have it both ways. He definitely wants the respect that comes with being a leader. But he isn’t willing to hold himself to a higher standard than most in every situation.
“We’re not talking about no civil rights movement here. It wasn’t a global situation or problem” that occurred as a result of his actions, Hall said. “I felt like I was justified.”
Well, sort of. After pausing for a moment to reflect on his comments, Hall seemed to realize he wasn’t sounding like much of a leader. On his second try, Hall came across only slightly better, but at least he indicated he messed up.