Cornerback DeAngelo Hall came to the defense of two of his teammates Monday, expressing confidence that Robert Griffin III and the offense will begin clicking in the regular season, and encouraging safety Brandon Meriweather to continue to play with aggression.
The scrutiny surrounding Griffin intensified this weekend as the young quarterback had his worst showing of the preseason, recording just 20 passing yards while also throwing an interception and getting sacked three times.
Meantime, Meriweather found controversy again when he drew a personal foul penalty after delivering a blow to the head of Ravens receiver Torrey Smith.
Meriweather last season received fines and a suspension for illegal hits to the head of opponents. He has said this offseason that he is working to change the way he tackles. He expressed frustration after Saturday’s game and said he had tried to lower his strike zone and focus on Smith’s midsection. But he still wound up hitting the receiver in the head.
Meriweather said he will continue to try to work with coaches to find ways to refine his technique and avoid additional illegal hits.
Asked on Monday if he had spoken with Meriweather, Hall said he told his teammate, “Keep hitting. I’ll pay the fine.”
Meantime, Hall said he expects Griffin and his unit to play at a high level once the regular season starts. While the defense has played well during the preseason, Washington’s starting offense has struggled mightily, failing to score a touchdown, and turning over the ball three times in limited action.
But Hall disagreed with the notion that the defense may have to carry the offense until Griffin & Co. find their rhythm.
“The offense, they haven’t been as successful as we have on defense because they haven’t been doing some of the things we’ve been doing,” Hall said. “It’s a lot easier to go out there, run and react and tackle than trying to scheme guys up. We understand the weapons we have and the mentality they bring to the field, and I’m excited. I’ll take those guys every day of the week to go out there and play. I think offensively we’ve been as vanilla as possible. … We haven’t tried to feature anybody, haven’t tried to scheme guys up to get guys open and play to their strengths. We’ve just been out there running some base things. I’m excited for the season to start and to see this thing take shape and for these guys to start to execute, and to scheme guys up and play to the strengths of the guys on this team.”
Former Redskins great Joe Theismann caused a stir Saturday night when he said that backup quarterback Kirk Cousins had outplayed Griffin, and that if the two were engaged in a competition for the starting job, Cousins would have won.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden has reiterated that there is no competition, and that he sees improvement out of Griffin even if the struggles in games have overshadowed the positives.
Many in the Redskins fan base have shared Theismann’s sentiments while also expressing concern over Griffin’s struggles. But Hall said he doesn’t understand the reactions and criticism his quarterback has faced.
“I don’t. But, fans gonna be fans. They want to win right now,” Hall said. “They want to win during conditioning, during training camp and the preseason. That’s not how we’re made. We’re made to kind of keep progressing and keep progressing, and headed toward a right time, and we understand as a team that we have to be rolling at the right time. We can never be too high, or be too low, and just try to play good football, and keep trying to get better every time we step on the field, and I think that’s what we’re doing.”
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