Back in Week 4, the Washington Redskins had a chance to surpass all preseason expectations. With a victory against the hated Cowboys, the Skins could have been sitting atop the NFC East at 3-0, with division wins against Dallas and the N.Y. Giants in Week 1.
Instead, Redskins fans watched Dez Bryant breeze past pro-bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall for a 30 yard completion on third and 21 with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter. Hall then cost the Redskins 15 more yards for grabbing Bryant’s facemask while making the tackle. This moved Dallas into field goal range, and three plays later Dan Bailey kicked his sixth field goal of the night to seal the 18-16 victory for the Cowboys.
After the game, Hall profanely lashed out and complained that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett should not have left him on an island with Bryant. He is absolutely right: any play that features DeAngelo Hall in single coverage should be forcibly removed from Haslett’s playbook.
Coming off his statistically impressive 2010, Hall was given the right to line up against each opponent’s best receiver for most of the game. So far in 2011, he has underwhelmed.
In Week 1 Hakeem Nicks hauled in seven catches for 122 yards during a Redskins win. Week 2 saw Larry Fitzgerald catch seven passes for 133 yards, including a 73-yard dusting of Hall that nearly cost the Redskins the game.
On Monday night, Hall appeared to play a reasonable game, holding Bryant to four catches for 63 yards. But the Cowboys’ passing game was severely hampered by injuries and center Phil Costa’s Chuck Knoblauch-like snaps, and when the game was on the line, Hall was not good enough to get his team a win.
A week later, Hall got a break when the Redskins faced off against the St. Louis Rams, who have no major receiving threats. But after the bye week, Philadelphia’s Jeremy Maclin burned Hall for another 100-yard receiving game in a 20-13 loss to the Eagles.
So does Hall really deserve his pro-bowl status and that six-year, $55-million contract? His numbers in 2010 are certainly impressive: 22 deflected passes, six interceptions, two forced fumbles, and 95 tackles.
But when you watch Hall play a full game, you realize he jumps routes to go for interceptions, but often gets beat deep on double moves. He baits quarterbacks to throw his way, which results in as many completions as deflections. And as great as forced fumbles are, bigger receivers often drag Hall past first-down markers while he goes for the strip instead of wrapping up.
A deep ball can erase an entire game’s worth of good defense, and you are not a shutdown corner if you need constant help over the top to prevent them.
When you watch Hall’s style of play, and consider that four of his six interceptions last year were handed to him during one miserable game in Chicago, you realize how overrated he really is.