DeAngelo Hall’s release by the Redskins provides a good opportunity to look back at his 4+ year tenure in Washington. There have been debates all over the place (including here at HTTR24-7) making the case to both keep and cut Hall. He’s been very divisive for sure. Now that he’s gone though, I think it’s only appropriate that we reflect on the good times and key plays that he made while wearing the burgundy and gold.
Hall joined the Redskins midway through the 2008 season after a brief stay with the Raiders. He instantly lived up to his “play-maker” reputation by intercepting Dallas quarterback Tony Romo in his first game for the Skins. Unfortunately for Hall, his first game in DC would be a microcosm of his years in Washington…the occasional big play in mostly losing efforts. The Cowboys went on to win that game 14-10 as the Redskins limped to a 2-5 finish after Hall joined the team.
In fact, despite his willingness to talk a big game, the Redskins were 27-45 (including one playoff game) with Hall manning the secondary. The Redskins had plenty of issues over those seasons, so the record is by no means an indictment of just Hall. During his time in Washington, there were plenty of memorable moments that gave Redskins fans reasons to cheer, hope, and dream of great things.
In my opinion, the 2010 season (Mike Shanahan’s first as head coach) will always be the high point of Hall’s Redskin career. In the season-opening Sunday Night Football showdown against the Cowboys, he led a defensive effort that held the Cowboys to a single touchdown. Additionally, Hall provided the only Redskin touchdown of the game by stripping Tashard Choice of the ball, scooping up the fumble, and taking it all the way back for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half. That play gave the Redskins a 10-0 halftime lead and proved to be the game-winning points in a 13-7 victory.
Six weeks later, Hall was again almost single-handedly responsible for another Redskin victory. Sitting at 3-3 and playing very promising football, the Redskins traveled to Chicago to face the Bears at Soldier Field. Again, the offense struggled to score that day, but Jay Cutler seemingly found Hall just as often as he found his own wide receivers. Hall tied an NFL record by intercepting Cutler four times, returning one of those 92 yards for the deciding points in a 17-14 victory. The win put the Redskins at 4-3 and pretty legitimately alive heading into November. The team would run out of steam to finish the season 6-10, but Hall would represent the burgundy and gold in the Pro Bowl. Again, he flashed his nose for the ball and end zone by intercepting a pass and returning a fumble for a touchdown to earn Pro Bowl MVP honors. That Pro Bowl performance was a fitting ending to a spectacular 2010 season.
Hall had an erratic 2012 season, getting beat several times for scoring plays, but also improving his tackling and making a number of key plays to clinch victories for the Redskins as the team surged to a division title. His interception of Christian Ponder clinched the week 6 win over the Vikings. He also had a key interception of Romo in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day which set up a Robert Griffin III touchdown pass right before halftime (putting the Redskins up 28-3 at that point). Hall also ended the Thanksgiving Day win as he recovered the Cowboys’ last-chance onside kick late in the 4th quarter. His most solid all-around game of the season came at FedEx Field against Dallas. Cowboy wide receiver Dez Bryant came into the game on fire, having torched his previous opponents, scoring in seven straight games and averaging 115 receiving yards. Hall held Bryant to a pedestrian 71 yards on four receptions in mostly man-to-man coverage as Jim Haslett dialed up a variety of blitzes. In fact, that game serves as a nice bookend for Hall’s career in Washington. As I mentioned previously, he began his Redskin career intercepting Romo and closed it out by continuously shutting down the Cowboy passing game en route to the NFC East crown.
I’m guessing that Hall’s relatively brief stay in the burgundy and gold will continue to be a divisive topic. Some believe he’s overrated and loud-mouthed while others think he takes way too much criticism and gave the Redskins the ball-hawking presence in the defensive backfield that they haven’t often had. Where do you stand? What are you favorite memories of DHall? Will you miss him or are you happy to turn the page?