The Washington Redskins released DeAngelo Hall in March only to sign him at a reduced rate in April.
Last year, Hall took a lot of heat for being one of the leaders on a defense that ranked 30th in pass defense. But with the way the corner has played so far this season, the Redskins have to be happy they brought him back.
The veteran’s presence has stabilized a young secondary that’s been gradually improving.
“I think he’s played well all season, but it’s kind of caught on to everybody seeing that he’s playing really well,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said.
Heading into tonight’s game at Minnesota, Hall has tallied 26 solo tackles, nine passes defended, three interceptions, one fumble recovery and three touchdowns — impressive numbers for a player many had written off as the Redskins’ secondary imploded last season.
“Whoever thought about giving up on him, I don’t know where that would come from,” corner E.J. Biggers said. “The guy is playing lights out right now. He’s locked up on the best guy every week and he’s a ball hawk. I’ve been around two guys like that — Ronde [Barber] and Hall. They find a way to get around the ball.”
Hall has been tasked with stopping some of the top receivers in the league, including Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Gates, and has emerged unscathed after each battle.
“I feel good. I feel young,” the 29-year-old said. “I feel like I can keep playing this game. The coaches go out there and ask me to lock certain guys down and I’m able to come out here and execute the game plan.”
Haslett credits the work of the entire secondary for helping Hall play at his best this season.
“A couple of years ago when [Hall] made the Pro Bowl, he had a heck of a year, and he’s doing the same thing [now],” Haslett said. “Josh [Wilson] and David [Amerson] are playing well and that helps when you have three corners who are playing at a high level.”
Now, Hall says, the team is gaining momentum after last week’s dramatic win over the Chargers. The Vikings don’t have an elite receiver, but expect Hall to be in the middle of things anyway.
“It was definitely a character-building situation,” he said of last week’s overtime victory. “We’ve got a lot of things to correct. Do you like the fight in the guys? Absolutely.”
Three questions with Redskins cornerback E.J. Biggers
1. What has the secondary done to get better?
“We’re a close group and we all pay attention to the details. We help each other, with whatever it is. You never know who is going to be up, so it makes everybody work. That starts in the film room.”
2. What have you taught the rookies in the Redskins’ secondary?
“You are going to have bad weeks. Even the best players have a bad game, so learn from your mistakes. That’s a professional. It’s been great watching these guys grow, and it teaches you. You remember the things you went through and it makes you reflect.”
3. Who is going to stop the Miami Heat (for whom Biggers’ cousin, Udonis Haslem, plays)?
“There is no reason why they won’t win it all. That’s my team, and there’s nobody better than them in the NBA right now.”