Hall demands top receiver be his duty from here out
Frustrated about late defensive breakdowns during Sunday's 30-27 overtime loss to the Houston Texans, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said Monday he plans to follow opponents' top receiver regardless of which side of the field the wide receiver is on.
Early in the day, Hall said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's opinion on the subject was not of great importance to him.
"It don't matter what he say," Hall said Monday morning. "This my team. This my defense. So I'm [going to] follow the receivers around. That's what I'm [going to do]. If we got to do that to win games, that's what we do."
But in a radio interview later in the day, Hall said he respects Haslett and did not mean to appear critical about his role on the team. He also said he was not upset about Haslett's scheme or his teammates' performance in the loss to the Texans.
"It comes out a little harsh, a little brash, in heat of the moment," Hall said. "If I could go back and say those words differently, I would have. But I said them and I meant them."
Hall was playing the side opposite the Texans' Andre Johnson, perhaps the league's top wide receiver, when quarterback Matt Schaub and Johnson teamed up on a 34-yard touchdown pass to help Houston tie the score at 27 with 2 minutes 3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday. Johnson leaped over safety Reed Doughty to snare the pass on fourth and 10, with Hall, the Redskins top cornerback, far from the action.
"That's how it was. That ain't how it's going to be from here on out. I'm going to be wherever the . . . ball's going," Hall said early Monday, emphasizing his point with a profanity. "Wherever the receiver's going, that's where the . . . I'm going. That's the bottom line. That's something we got to do in order to win games. So that's what's going to happen."
Asked at his news briefing later about Hall's remarks, Coach Mike Shanahan said: "Well, first of all, I'm not exactly sure how it was said. But just listening to your comments, I want all the players thinking that way. I want Carlos Rogers thinking that way, I want DeAngelo thinking, LaRon Landry, Kareem Moore, all those type of guys, wanting the pressure to cover the top receiver. Same thing inside with London Fletcher. You want guys that believe in themselves and know they can get the job done."
Hall said he has previously mentioned his concerns about his role to Haslett.
"Has knows me. He's seen me play over the years. He knows I like to do that," Hall said.
In his afternoon appearance on 106.7 The Fan, Hall said: "Not taking anything away from Has. We take the lead from him."
On the crucial touchdown, the Redskins were in a man-to-man defense. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon had responsibility for Johnson underneath and Doughty was covering deep.
But Buchanon released Johnson to Doughty before he should have, Hall said, and Doughty was no match for the taller and stronger all-pro wideout.
"You would like the coverage to work out the way it was designed to work out," he added. "Two guys on him, you got a chance to win. We'll go back to the drawing board. It won't happen like that again. If Andre Johnson's out there, I'm going to be out there."
Hall said he usually was matched against opponents' top wideouts during his first four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. "You give me enough opportunities, I'm going to make plays," Hall said. "That's how it is. Yesterday, I didn't have no opportunities to make no plays."
Hall said he could not remember how many times he lined up opposite Johnson Sunday. But he said he had too few opportunities to effect change as part of the Redskins' heavy reliance on zones in the defensive backfield.
"We were dominating those guys, hitting Schaub whenever we wanted to. He was falling down without anybody even around him like Peyton Manning does a lot. I don't know what transpired from [the third quarter to the fourth], all in the middle of that, to spark that comeback and us eventually losing."