Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall has never been one to hold his tongue. So when the nine-year veteran spoke about the team's 31-28 loss last week in St. Louis, he did not hesitate to say what was on his mind.
First and foremost, he wants to see the NFL resolve its ongoing labor disagreement with the league's officials, before somebody gets hurt.
And lastly, Hall wants receiver Josh Morgan to know that his teammates are willing to forgive and forget his ball-throwing incident and that "one play doesn't decide a game."
In Bleacher Report's second installment of "One-on-One with the Washington Redskins", we went in depth with DeAngelo, who discussed the team's rugged battle with the Rams, his concern for the league's integrity and the sympathy he feels for the family of NFL Films President Steve Sabol, who succumbed to brain cancer Tuesday, at the age of 69.
Redskins Conversation: Week 2
J. Versage: The Rams loss is obviously a hard pill to swallow. But you've got a home opener to prepare for. How are you guys going to put this one behind you?
D. Hall: This is the National Football League. It’s not that difficult to move on. And win, lose or draw, you need to prepare for the next opponent (Cincinnati). It’s a tough one to swallow, but at the end of the day, we’ve got 14 more, so hopefully we can write this one off as a learning experience for our football team and try to get better from it.
Q: Last year, the lockout caused discontent between the league and its players. This year, the NFL is in disagreement with officials over labor issues. Were you joking when you said that you can come up with $2 million to help the two sides settle the issue?
A: It wasn’t just me. It’s was a couple [of us] on the team. Collectively in the locker room, we can come up with something to help get it fixed.
Q: As a team, what do the Redskins think of the league's replacement officials? Their performance has been ridiculed, they've ignored taunting and late hits, and the league's decision to continue with them has caused frustration among players and coaches. Is it getting to a boiling point?
A: I’m not sure it’s getting to a boiling point, but it has obviously affected the level of play on the field. I think the NFL has prided itself throughout the years to be the standard in professional sports. I think for us to continue to be the standard and uphold the integrity of the league, we need use the guys they’ve trained and put their trust into. It’s going to be a total group effort, from both sides, to get things right.
Q: Robert Griffin III said he sustained cheap shots in Sunday's game, and Coach [Mike] Shanahan claimed that replacement refs almost let the game get out of control. When instigators get under your skin, how do you stick up for yourself and your teammates, when you need to be a role model for young people watching the game?
A: That’s a tough one, and it’s why the refs need to keep the game safe, while keeping it as competitive as they can. Players have to have a mutual respect for one another to keep it [from getting out of control]. As you said, there are a lot of kids watching, and all of us should be role models.
Q: So if the lockout continues, how will players and coaches deal with the "extracurricular activity"?
A: When you see things that took place in those football games last weekend, that’s not what we’re about. That’s not what we’re trying to promote as a league and as players. So, it’s really up to those front office guys in New York, to try to figure out what they can do with the disagreement, in order to get this thing where we need it to be.
Q: Rams running back Steven Jackson was visibly upset with a call that didn’t go his way, and Joshua Morgan paid dearly for throwing the ball at [cornerback] Cortland Finnegan. As a veteran leader, did you and your teammates try to cheer Josh up and get him to move on from his mistake?
A: Josh is a veteran player too, and I echoed the same thing to him and the other guys in our locker room. There were 70 other plays in that football game. That one play didn’t decide the outcome of the game. It definitely contributed to it, but there wasn’t one single element that caused us to lose. Josh knows that, and so does our team. He’s played in a lot of contests, and anybody who knows Josh knows that he’s not that kind of guy that’s going to go out there and pick fights to put his team in a bad situation.
Q: Two years ago, the Green Bay Packers lost a lot of starters but went to the Super Bowl and won it. On Sunday, you lost Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker and their injuries have been deemed as season-ending. How are the Redskins going to overcome their loss and how effective can their replacements be?
A: We’re going to go out there and fight [with linebackers Chris Wilson and Rob Jackson and defensive end Jarvis Jenkins]. That’s all we can do. I feel like this team’s been built to still be able to win games, no matter if I go down or anybody else goes down. It’s the NFL. It’s about who can stay healthy the longest and who has the best backups. I definitely feel confident in the men that we have backing those guys up, and I look forward to seeing them go out and play. I know they’re relishing the opportunity to showcase what they’ve got, so I can’t wait to have them out there with us.
Q: You led the team with eight tackles last week and made your presence felt on special teams. Do you think the coaching staff is going to worry about you covering kicks? Will they consider taking you off the unit with the injuries that have already occurred on your defense?
A: I have no idea. None of those positions affected me directly, so I don’t see why my roles will change, but we’ll see. We’ll get the game plan [for Cincinnati], and we’ll try to work out the bugs so we can go out against the Bengals and get a win for the home crowd.
Q: In closing, can you give your thoughts on the death of NFL Films President Steve Sabol? His loss is being felt across the league, especially by those who recall how proud he was to present his father Ed for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in 2011).
A: I didn’t know Steve directly, but he has obviously done so much for the game of football with NFL Films. I’ve always been a big fan of it, and his creativity was polarizing. He and his father [Ed] have been a big part of the National Football League, and my heart just goes out to his family. I'd like to offer them my condolences because he was such a great guy.
Joe Versage is a NFL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He previously covered the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens as a television beat reporter. Follow him on Twitter at: @JoeVersage
Unless otherwise noted, all quotations in this article were obtained via a first-person interview at Velocity Five Sports Restaurant in Centreville, Virginia.
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