After switching from cornerback to safety during the 2015 season, veteran
After completing his eighth season with the Washington Redskins, defensive back DeAngelo Hall believes that the team has built a good foundation and is looking forward to returning next year.
This season was different from the past 12 that Hall has played in the NFL, due to a nagging Achilles injury from last year and a right toe injury; he saw his role on defense change.
Hall was asked to transition from his normal cornerback position to safety.
This move was made because of injuries that affected other players in the Redskins’ secondary, as well as to give Hall time to fully recover.
Playing safety would give him a break from the quick cuts and movements necessary to play cornerback.
While a position change is always difficult, Hall was pleased with his ability to adapt and believes that he can have continued success at safety going forward.
“I wouldn’t mind playing corner. Obviously they gave me time to let my Achilles fully heal and I’m still getting that burst back, but I love playing safety," Hall said. "I like playing corner and I’ll do what I need to help this team or any team win, but I feel like I can be a hell of a safety. I feel like I can be one of the best safeties in the league. So I’m enjoying the ride and we’ll see what happens.”
Head coach Jay Gruden was thrilled with the veteran’s play this season, agreeing with Hall’s self-assessment that he has both the skill and ability to be a very successful safety going forward, possibly increasing his longevity in the NFL.
“I think what he did in that role mid-season, I think he’s going to solidify himself as one of the top safeties in the league,” Gruden said. “That’s my hope for him and I really believe that. He’s got the skillset for it. He showed that he’s not afraid whatsoever to tackle, number one, and he’s got the range to cover sideline-to-sideline. He can come out of the box and cover tight ends or receivers so I’m really excited about having him there from day one in OTAs and learning the position and moving forward. I think it’s going to put a lot of years on his career if he wants to and it’s going to be a huge benefit for us moving forward.”
"Yeah, I thought it was excellent,” McCloughan said at last month's Senior Bowl. “You know, you kind of look back at some other guys, like a Charles Woodson type guy, and stuff like that. Where…they're exceptional corners in their prime, but, they're so instinctive, and they're football players. The thing that impressed me about him so much, the change is tough no matter what. Because now, you're not playing a quarter, you're playing the middle of the field. But, to see how physical he was and how important it was to him to be physical, and make plays, and see him work at practice, and asking questions all the time; he's a good football player. I'm glad he's with us."
Despite being signed with the Redskins for two more seasons, Hall admitted that he is unsure of his future in Washington. Regardless, he's eager to see what happens next.
“I’m under contract for two more years," Hall said. "We’ll see if they want me here, if they don’t, or if contractually they want to do anything, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
While he is not sure of how the next few seasons will play out, Hall made it clear that he is still interested in playing football even if he doesn’t “have many of these left.”
“I still enjoy going up and down that field," Hall said. "I still enjoy flying around, hitting people, I enjoy the camaraderie of the guys in this locker room, and I enjoy the coaches.”
While skill and on-field performance are the measurable outputs of an NFL season, McCloughan said that Hall has the intangible qualities that positively impact the team off the field.
”A good thing about him, not just the fact about being a good football player, but as a person he is, and what he brings to that locker room," McCloughan said. "What he brings to the young guys because that's so important. Coaches can only do some much in the meeting room. You know, in the off season stuff, guys like that make us better, just because of who they are and what they are."