RICHMOND – After playing together last Thursday night at game speed for the first time, projected starting safeties DeAngelo Hall and David Bruton Jr. expressed encouragement over how things worked. But they returned to the film room and practice field on Saturday and Sunday with a critical eye and a determination to perfect their union.
“Still working on some things. Obviously, it wasn’t great but wasn’t that bad either,” Hall said. “I missed a couple tackles I needed to make. But it was good to get out there in game mode and see what we need to work on.”
After moving from cornerback midway through last season, Hall played primarily at strong safety, but now will start at free safety. Bruton this offseason signed as a free agent from Denver and has worked primarily as the starting strong safety during offseason practices and training camp.
With Hall entering his 13th NFL season and Bruton his eighth, Washington has two knowledgeable veterans. But they need what defensive backs coach Perry Fewell described as “seasoning” through game play because safety remains fairly new to Hall and because Bruton played mainly as a backup during his time in Denver.
Hall and Bruton have worked well together in practices, but things happen faster in games. Thursday, they played 12 snaps together and did well for the most part.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t complete any of his four pass attempts against Washington’s starting defense. Backup Matt Schaub completed one pass with Hall in the neighborhood in what appeared to be zone coverage, and Bruton drew a defensive holding call while in pass coverage. So, when reviewing the game tape, the veterans saw areas that need improving.
Bruton had one tackle, and Hall didn’t record any.
“There was no mental mistakes – just things we need, like cleaning up footwork, run fits and stuff like that,” Bruton said. “I’m excited to see what we can do when we’re in a full game and not just 12 plays. Going from practice to games, which are a little faster, it’s just growing pains as he continues his transition from corner to safety and myself coming here from Denver. But as veterans and old heads, we’ll get it right.”
On the tandem’s to-do list between now and the next preseason game, Hall said, “Just communication, not letting balls over our heads. There was a couple plays on the field we left out there that we need to make in order to be great. We were very critical in the film room and just working on correcting the mistakes that we need to correct.”
More from The Post: