A Burgundy and Gold Obsession

    • Skins Quotes 12/29/15: Deangelo Hall

      December 29, 2015
      Redskins Park

      Defensive Back DeAngelo Hall

      On if making the playoffs is a reward for coming back this season instead of retiring:
      “It definitely feels like a reward. Anytime you can get a chance to play in the playoffs, this is my 12th year and this is only my third trip. It’s definitely a blessing to just get invited to the show. We’ll kind of figure that out when we get there wherever the chips may fall.”

      On why he chose to return this season:
      “For me personally, you deliberate it because I didn’t want to come back and try to play and look like crap, you know? That’s just my mentality, the way I feel about myself. I’m my harshest critic, so to hear anybody else bashing me – it wouldn’t have even gotten to that point. If I would have got in training camp and felt like, ‘Oh my goodness, I look like crap. I can’t move. I can’t do this, I can’t do that,’ I would have probably called it a day then. Those were all the things that were kind of going through my mind through the process, through the recovery process. I couldn’t even walk for four months. I was non-weight bearing. To go in and have the surgery one time and three and a half weeks later tear it again, it was beyond frustrating to say the least. I deliberated a long time about it. I think ultimately I felt like I owed it to myself to just at least try, and try could admit going to training camp and not performing and not being able to move on it or it constantly hurting or constantly swelling up and then me saying, ‘Look man, I just can’t do it.’ Everything kind of progressed the right way. It didn’t swell up, it didn’t get sore. I didn’t feel it at all. Obviously I had some setbacks as far as spraining my toe and hurting my groin and kind of things like that, but nothing associated with the Achilles injury played any part in the actual comeback.”

      On his calf:
      “First of all, I want to apologize to y’all, you know I never duck questions on a loss so I damn sure am not ducking questions on a win. I was a little disappointed, a little down. I came out the game I guess one series before the last series the Eagles had. I initially thought it was a cramp. If anybody has ever had a cramp, normally when you get a cramp it keeps contracting and kind of lock up. It didn’t keep locking up so it had me thinking, ‘Did I really tear my calf? This [stuff] is unreal, this can’t be happening.’ I was definitely mentally kind of thrown after the game, obviously the emotions of winning the division. Guys – Zena [Lewis] and Tony [Wyllie] – were coming up to me, ‘ You know you tied a record?’ I’m like, ‘Alright, man.’ I kind of was so worried about my calf and, ‘Gosh, am I going to be able to keep fighting in this journey with my guys or what?’ It feels a little defect, doesn’t feel like a huge defect to where they think it’s a tear or a strain – well, not even a tear at all, so not a strain. Just been rehabbing. I went from barely being able to walk when I got on the plane to I’m walking around fine, light jogging. I don’t know if I’ll play. I don’t know if they’ll hold me out just for precautionary reasons or what. It’s getting better, it’s feeling better. I’m getting treatment, been in treatment every day since the game ended for hours at a time. Just trying to get back so I can help my team win.”

      On General Manager Scot McCloughan’s ability to build the roster:
      “I mean, it’s Scot, it’s Jay [Gruden], it’s Bruce [Allen], it’s everybody in that front office, man – especially Jay – that has helped cultivate this talent. Scot’s brought some guys in. I can’t sit and point a finger and say, ‘Hey, Mason [Foster] is here because of Scot.’ I just think it’s all of our guys in the front office that have been working well together that have just brought in guys that fit what we try to do. So many times in this league you bring in the best guy that’s on a big board, you know what I mean? ‘Let’s bring in this guy he played x amount of snaps for so and so and they released him,’ instead of bringing in the guy who, ‘Hey, this guy played in this kind of defense and this is kind of what we do or this guy played in this kind of offense and what they asked him to do is going to be similar to what we ask him to do.’ I think we’ve done a good job of doing that as far as evaluating talent and bringing guys in. The proof has been in the pudding. To see a guy like Mason Foster come in here, play and make plays. Will Blackmon, [Defensive Backs Coach] Perry Fewell felt real comfortable with him and knew he understood certain things about this defense that we would want him to do. Will’s come in, the same week he came in and played and made plays for us. It’s just been bringing in guys like that. It hasn’t been the status quo. It’s been guys that come in here that are difference makers and that are helping us win games. Hats off to Scot, Bruce, Jay, everybody on this coaching staff that gets these guys prepared week in and week out or during the week that they’re able to get out there and perform and sometimes in short practice as far as learning defenses and learning schemes. They’re still getting out there and they’re playing as if they’ve been here since training camp."

      On making the playoffs now compared to his first playoff appearance in 2004:
      “Hatch [Jason Hatcher] said something that was I think eye opening to a lot of these young guys. He thanked the young guys in the locker room after the game for just fighting and clawing and laying it on the line like they have been all year and doing everything we’ve asked them to do because he said a lot of us old guys don’t have a lot – too many opportunities – left. I can remember my rookie year – I think we were 12-4 or 13-3 – we had a first round bye and then we went on to St. Louis. They weren’t defending Super Bowl champs, but they were a damn good team. Marshall Faulk was still on that team, Torry Holt, they had great players. We beat the heck out of that team and then we go up to Philly and we lose. And I’m like not really understanding that I was a game away from the Super Bowl, not understanding that, ‘Hell, I was almost there.’ You think about it 11 years later and you’re like, ‘Gosh, what would I have done a little different in those situations?’ Maybe it would have been nothing that affected the game. I just think my mentality would have been totally different if I really understood that I was a game away from the Super Bowl as a rookie and had the chance to get there. That’s kind of what we just are trying to harp to these young guys. You never know when your next opportunity is going to come so please take advantage of it. The guys have been doing that. They’ve been fighting and they’ve been clawing and they’ve been giving us everything they have. We greatly appreciate it and some of us old guys are out there trying to do the same thing as well."

      On if momentum is real and where he stands on potentially resting starters in a season finale:
      "I think momentum is a big thing, but I think at the same time there's a balance between what do you do. Any given play, a guy can get hurt and it could be a devastating injury. You know, it's tough. I don't mind playing. If I'm able to go out there and play then I want to play. I obviously haven't taken too many snaps at safety. I've haven't been starting since day one at safety, so if I can get out there and get more reps, I'll gladly take those reps. But at the same time, I do understand that this is a dangerous sport and a vicious sport. Any given play you could lose somebody that could flip your season upside down. I don't know what we'll do as a team. I haven't talked to any coaches and they haven't reached out to talk with me or met with any players yet about it. But we have got all the confidence and faith in the world that they'll make the right decision for us. If it's to play guys a quarter or a half or to play guys the whole game and go out there and try to win, then that's what we'll do. It's a lot of fans that still want us to go beat the hell out of Dallas; they don't care about the division. They're just like, 'Hey, alright, I'm satisfied, but we got Dallas now! Let’s go! Let’s go get ‘em!' I thinking, ‘You know this game really doesn't matter, but alright.’ We'll see what they decide to do and we'll fall onboard with it."

      On when he noticed that this group is different than last year's team:
      "I don't think it's one particular instance that kind of points out how different this group is from any other group. You know, I had somebody kind of joking on Twitter saying, 'Hey Mason [Foster], thanks for letting D-Hall pick the ball up.' And I'm thinking about a couple of times where I had chance to jump on fumbles and create a scuffle between my own teammates, but I'm just kind of like, 'Hey, go ahead and get it and let me get a block or let me try to get the pitch or something like that.' I mean, you just kind of feel that guys care about each other and want to see the man beside them succeed. You know, it's plays like that, like I said, I could’ve tried to jump on the ball that D-Gold [Dashon Goldson] picked up, but I kind of saw he had a bead on it and instead of fighting for it, I let him get it. Same thing, Mason could've probably jumped on that fumble I had a chance to run back and we could've probably been tussling for it and Philly could've picked it up. But Mason kind of saw I had a bead on it. That's the kind of unselfish play that sometimes it just unconsciously happens. Those are the kinds of plays that through the course of the game and through the course of the season helps bring guys together because it's not about me scoring, it's not about D-Gold picking it up. It's about the team, it's about us getting seven more points or us getting a turnover because we had just talked about it. It's those little things like that that just brought this group so much closer together."

      On how he has seen Head Coach Jay Gruden grow from last season:
      "I think he's become a little bit more comfortable, a little bit more confident. I think with anything you do over time you become a little better at it. I thought from the jump that Jay's energy, demeanor, delivery and his approach was great for what we needed, especially coming from a guy like Mike Shanahan who I loved to death, but he was definitely old school. I think it's safe to say that. So we needed a little change. You know, to see Jay over the years just kind of come into his own and see guys really rally behind him and want to succeed because they want Jay to still be the coach… They want Jay to be here, they want him to be around. I think it speaks volumes for the person he is. He might not have played in the NFL, but he's played enough football to understand how players' minds work. He's always joking around with us. He's one of those kind of coaches, man, that you just want to succeed because you want to make him look good. It's not about us. We just want to make our coach look good at the end of the day."

      On Defensive Backs Coach Perry Fewell:
      “Perry is just a guy who, at first glance, we were all kind of like… we all loved [former Defensive Backs Coach] Raheem [Morris] so much, you know what I mean, and we didn’t want to see Rah go, but we understood the nature of the business. So were kind of a little bit like not really knowing what to expect. You know, Perry, even though he’s more business than play, he plays around with us. He jokes around with us. He gets us going. He’s one of the smartest and just most attention-to-detail coaches I’ve ever been around, you know what I mean? He’s going to be a head coach in this league sooner than later. I think he’s going to be a hell of a head coach because he’s such a motivator. He’s such a guy that understands X’s and O’s and understands how to put guys in the right position to make plays. He’s done it with us. He’s taken a guy in Quinton Dunbar, who, hell, I know Quinton Dunbar’s college coach who had him as a freshman at corner and thought that Dunbar didn’t stand a chance and talks to me about, ‘Man, what are you guys doing? Like how is he transitioning?’ I’m like, man, it’s just our coach, our scheme. I mean, he can definitely play in this league and he can play for a long time. You know, it’s little things like that. It’s taking a guy like Will Blackmon off the couch and essentially putting him into the starting lineup and turning him into a guy who’s made plays for us through the course of the season. You know, Coach Fewell just has a funny, different way of getting guys motivated, getting guys going and, hell, I love playing for him. I don’t think I’d have thought I would be saying that at the beginning of the season, but, hell, I love playing for him without a doubt. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”

      On what it means to be the first player in NFL history with five interception return touchdowns and five fumble return touchdowns:
      “I mean, it’s a pretty amazing feat. You know, just looking back at it, it’s hard to believe nobody’s ever done it. It’s just, I mean, it’s special. It’s obviously something that I’m going to cherish but, you know, it wasn’t anything I set out to do. It wasn’t goal that I said, ‘Let me return as many as these fumbles...’ It’s just, I try to be around the ball and I try to get the ball as much as I can and I always feel like when I have the ball in my hands I have a chance to do something with it. I mean, it just speaks to just — I guess — time. You know with time you tend to do some things that you never set out to do. I mean, it’s been a blessing. Hopefully, I can rack up a couple more.”

      On if the defense has evolved into a ‘bend but don’t break’ defense:
      “No, I mean, you always want to go out and stop guys and shut guys out, but in reality, you’re going to give up plays. You’re going up against guys who are professional athletes as well. So, I mean, sometimes, you’re going to lose those one-on-one battles, but we always try to clamp down in the red zone and really, really lock in as best we can to attention to details because we understand that if we can keep them out of the end zone we have a good chance to win. And so, that’s always our main focus when we get down in that red zone is to hold teams to field goal attempts — not necessarily makes — but just field goal attempts because we understand that kickers miss kicks and sometimes we can get a good rush and get a block. If we can just hold them to attempts, we understand we have a chance to win games. Especially the way this offense is playing, you know, we keep guys out of the end zone, we feel good enough that our offense can go out there and put points up and help us win games.”

      On if there was a point when he was unsure about the transition to safety:
      “I don’t think there was a point where I was ‘unsure.’ It was obviously a point where I was like, ‘Man, you know, I ain’t really trying to hit nobody coming this way or coming that way,’ but, you know, through the course of being out there and experiencing it, it’s been a lot easier than I thought as far as making tackles or being able to sneak up on some guys. I always joke with some of the coaches, like, you know, I like to hit guys when they’re not looking more so than head up or squared up. It’s been nice to really be able to work on my angles and surprise some guys, just really show that I can go up and make tackles and show that I’m not afraid to stick my head in there. I mean, it’s been fun. I haven’t had as many plays downfield as I would have liked to try to make plays on. That’s what I think everybody initially thought when they moved me to safety, like, ‘Oh snap! You’re going to put D-Hall back there and he’s going to just roam sideline-to-sideline and make some plays on the ball.’ And that just hasn’t happened yet, you know, just really haven’t really had those opportunities. That’s kind of more what I’m looking forward to at safety, so hopefully, we can make some of those-type plays. I’m enjoying it from every aspect. I’m enjoying being able to come up, make tackles, being able to line guys up, being able to really understand where my corners are doing and what they’re thinking — you know where they need that help at from their safeties.”

      On how challenging this year has been for him between his injuries and the position change:
      “I mean, mentally, it’s been a little, you know, a little tough. I guess even physically you can say that too, obviously. You know, getting hurt in training camp, missing a good part of that after coming back from an Achilles, I felt like my biggest thing was getting to practice, getting to practice, getting to practice. So, you know, to miss some time with the first toe injury and then to kind of battle back from that and you know, play the last couple preseason games and then, you know, start off the season pretty good. Had a little rib injury that kind of set me back a little bit but didn’t miss any time. Week 3, to have that devastating toe injury in the Giants game, it was definitely tough. There were certain points where, you know, if [Defensive Backs Coach] Perry Fewell wasn’t around, if D-Gold [Dashon Goldson] wasn’t around, or even our other DB coach, Coach Aubrey Pleasant, wasn’t around, I would have probably checked out but those guys kept me locked in, kept me motivated, kept me going to treatment, kept me in the playbook, and so, you know, when they were talking about moving me to safety, I had already been in the playbook so much from those guys just being on me that, you know, it made the transition that much easier. Then it was about going out there and physically doing it, but from a mental standpoint, I had already understood what was asked of me and what I needed to do.”

      On if he has given any thought to which opponent he would prefer in the NFC Wild Card Round:
      “No, I haven’t. I haven’t. I understand that we can face any of those guys [Minnesota, Green Bay or Seattle]. And, I mean, at some point, you’re going to have to play whoever you’ve got to play. No, I mean, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. I think a lot of people want Seattle because they’re thinking payback and this and that, but that’s a different Seattle team and we’re a different Washington team. You know, it doesn’t matter. I’m just thankful and happy that we get the first one at home. You know, that’s all I’m worried about.”
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Skins Quotes 12/29/15: Deangelo Hall started by Boone View original post
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