DeAngelo Hall’s first visit as an NFL cornerback to Philadelphia held slightly higher stakes than Sunday’s finale between the Redskins and Eagles.
On a 17-degree afternoon/evening at Lincoln Financial Field in January 2005, Hall started for the Atlanta Falcons in their NFC championship game loss and made four tackles.
Pro Bowl appearances, trades, releases, two gigantic contracts and interceptions have followed for Hall. But not a return to the playoffs.
Hall, a defensive co-captain, is completing his seventh straight non-playoff year as a member of 5-10 Washington. It includes three years with Atlanta and three-and-a-half years with the Redskins.
“Another year down the drain, so to say,” Hall said on Thursday, speaking to reporters after being on-again, off-again throughout the final month of the season. “[This year] is definitely frustrating because a lot of those games, we were in them and had a chance to win. It’s tough to see the division right there in front of us and not have a say in it.”
The NFC East, despite the resources committed to building the four rosters, has morphed into a dreadful mess – the 8-7 Giants and Dallas play for the title Sunday night. The way the Redskins see it, one more break and one less injury and they would be in the mix.
“Frustrating and difficult to swallow,” Hall said. “We’ve just dropped the ball. We have to look in the mirror to figure out how to get better.”
Coming off a six-interception 2010 season (albeit four in one game), Hall’s focus this was to get better at eliminating big plays allowed even if it meant fewer interceptions.
The coaching staff has credited Hall with 108 tackles (second on the team). His three interceptions lead the team and with Josh Wilson shares the lead with 18 pass break-ups.
“I feel like, for the most part, I played pretty solid this year,” Hall said. “Last year, I made more plays but I gave up more plays, too. I wouldn’t say this year I’ve made a ton of plays one way or the other.”
Hall is never shy to offer his team-building prospective, but this week, he chose the non-committal route.
“Hopefully, we’re one off-season, one draft, one free agency [year] away, if we can bring in more of our kind of guys,” he said. “I’ve been here three-and-a-half years and it’s always been, ‘Hopefully next year.’ You definitely get tired of it.
“Hopefully that won’t be the case next year.”
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