July 31, 2012
Redskins Park


Cornerback DeAngelo Hall

On how the new safeties look:
“Right now, we’re trying to push guys to the limit, trying to see where guys can get to as far as just guys showing different things. But collectively, as a group, we have a bunch of playmakers back there. Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams, we’ve seen Tanard Jackson a very little bit, but we were watching a little bit of tape of the Buccaneers when we were incorporating some of their defenses. Just seeing the way he played down there just gets us excited to see him out there on the field. [We’re] just real pumped up about trying to get him back there on the field. Reed [Doughty], I’ve been playing with Reed for a couple of years now. D.J. [DeJon] Gomes, he was a young guy that made a lot of plays. Just at that safety position, we have so much depth, so I love them.”

On how the new safeties fit into the defense:
“They bring different things to the field. Brandon, I think, is probably the most complete of all of them. He’s a guy that’ll fill a hole. He’s a ball hawk. He’s always searches for that ball. We have competitions out here in practice [for] who can get the most balls. Right now, he’s probably leading it right now. He’s always around the ball. He always has a knack for just being around that ball. He’s probably the most complete out of all of them, but each guy brings something different to the table. T. Jack, he’s a physical guy. I’m looking at him like, ‘Man, you’re smaller than me,’ but somehow he sticks his in there. He’s always out there making plays. Madieu, I actually talked the most about Madieu a lot over the past couple of weeks, just picking ‘Los’ [former teammate San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers’] brain about, just kind of seeing how he was out there versus how he’s going to be in our system. ‘Los loved him to death, and I feel the same way about the guy.”

On Meriweather’s personality and past incidents on and off the field:
“Just personality-wise, the guy’s a joy to be around. I think you can kind of see how those things kind of helped change and shape him into the person he is now. He’s probably a little bit more calm and relaxed about doing things. He’s real slow to react to certain situations. He’s probably not going to be making too many headshot tackles this season. But he’s a guy who I feel like has definitely learned from his mistakes and feels like he’s ready to go out there and help re-write his history.”

On the safeties having something to prove:
“Yeah, we always joke with each other, just saying we have a secondary full of misfits. We have guys that I feel like nobody else wanted in this league. I think Brandon or somebody told us we were like the No. 32 secondary or something in the league when somebody ranked us. We laugh at some of that stuff because we all know that at the end of the day you have to go out on the field and prove it. We feel like this group of guys might look bad on paper, and some guys might rank us badly on paper, [but] at the end of the day you have to go out there and play. We definitely feel like we’re ready to go. We feel poised, and we feel capable with the guys we have that we’re going to make a lot of plays. That’s all you can ask for is just to feel comfortable with the guys that surround you. At the end of the day, you have to go out there and back it up. This group is definitely ready to do that.”

On learning the nickel cornerback position:
“It’s going good… We haven’t really been working on a lot of our game plan stuff. We’ve been more servicing them, but it’s going good. [Wide receiver] Santana [Moss] has gotten me a couple of times. I’ve gotten him a couple of times. I’m looking forward to the preseason games just to mix it up with other guys. We pretty much know Santana’s the nickel guy. That’s pretty much the only guy I get to see in there. [I’m] just excited about getting into some real games, going against other guys and seeing how I can mix it up against them: show different blitzes and things like that, [then] get out of it. It’s just a lot of opportunities and possibilities to make plays.”

On Defensive Backs Coach Raheem Morris’s effect on the secondary:
“Like I said, just having the crew of misfits we have, I don’t think another guy could have come out here and coached us. Raheem is just a guy who just coaches unconditionally. He loves us all unconditionally. We’ll go out there and make a mistake; he’ll pat us on the back. He’s not one of those rah-rah, scream at you type guys. He’s more one of those ‘I’m going to lift you up type of guys. Some guys respond to that. Some guys respond well to that screaming too. The majority of us seem to respond better to the ‘love me up’ type of motivation and he’s definitely one of those guys. He’s brought a different spin on things. I told somebody it’s almost like having an editor come in here and edit your playbook or edit a book you’re writing and help fix everything, kind of put their spin on some things, see the play a little bit differently. That’s kind of the approach he’s brought. He’s brought his own kind of style just to kind of help tweak our stuff around a little bit, just to try to make it a little better. I felt like he’s done a great job. I feel like the rest of these coaches have done a great job of just incorporating him in, listening to some of the things he has to say. He’s a DBs [defensive backs] coach. He’s been coaching DBs his whole career, so to have a guy who’s been around DBs and thinks like us, in there fighting for us when we want to try to do something to change things up, it’s nice.”

On if he has had to alter his mindset to play in the slot position:
“Not really. I always make a statement. I’m probably not a great corner, but I feel like I’m a great football player. To actually go in there in the slot gives me a chance to be a football player and that’s what I like to do. I like to try to use tips and things that are going on with the offense and things like that and use the defensive scheme and try to use it to my advantage. Going in the slot kind of gives me the chance to kind of tweak some things, play around with some things. If I might be going on the blitz, I can send my safety, I can go back and cover, or I can go play deep half, or I can go do this, go do that. They’ve given me a lot of flexibility to just go out there and make plays.”

On if he’d rather be in the slot position rather than isolation coverage:
“It doesn’t matter to me. I feel like just the scheme in general gives us the chance to be football players and make plays. Just that nickel, you’re closer to the action. I told [linebackers London] Fletcher and [Brian] Orakpo, ‘you all get used to seeing me around down here with you all’ because a lot of the times I’m lining up at linebacker depth and I’m kind of showing this blitz and kicking back out to coverage or I’m showing like I’m covering and getting down to the running back for something in the run game. To be a nickel you have to be a complete football player. You have to tackle, you have to be able to pick passes off, you have to be able to read routes, you have to know what the linebacker does. I’m essentially the linebacker in base personnel when we’re in nickel personnel. I have to know what the linebackers do as well as what my secondary is doing back there.”

On the importance of jamming the receiver when playing in the slot position:
“It’s not super important. You have leverage. You want to stick to that leverage. A lot of the time you have middle field safeties so that’s kind of the leverage you want to play with opposite where your help is. You just kind of play football after that. It’s nice to have that sideline to the left or right of you, but it’s also nice to be around a lot of guys, and that’s what that nickel is. That nickel gives you a chance to be around guys that are cutting and doing other things, helping out. It has its pros and its cons, just like being on the corner has its pros and cons.”

On if he wants to make up for his 2011 season:
“I don’t necessarily want to make up for it. Do you want to make more plays? Yeah. The more plays anybody makes, the more games we win. Do I want to go out and make plays? Absolutely. Did I drop plays last year or did I not make plays I should have made? Yeah, I did. I felt like the opportunities were there but I just didn’t cash in on them. Raheem’s definitely been in my ear, chirping about not cashing in on some of the opportunities I’ve had in practice. You just have to keep focus. Keep focus, keep working. You practice how you play, so you just have to cash in on some of the mistakes that the offense makes against us out here. Hopefully they’ll carry over to the game day.”

On if he wants Head Coach Mike Shanahan to call blitzes during the preseason:
“No, we keep it as vanilla as possible. Keep it vanilla. We’re showing what we have later on. We’re just going out there to try and get better. We’re not trying to go out there and out scheme anybody, anything like that. We’re going to play what’s called. We have no say so in the script right now. We’ll just play what’s called and try to put our little bit of plays in and get out of there.”

On lobbying for blitzes during the regular season:
“No, I’m not going to be lobbying for any blitzes. I’m going to let them come up with the game plan. If I feel like I like something or I feel like something is going to work we, will talk about it and see if we can get it put in. I’m not going to be out there, “Aw man, you’ve got to send me on every nickel blitz we have.” I haven’t had a sack yet in my career. Going out and getting five sacks doesn’t do it for me. If it helps the team then it helps the team, but I am not going to be out there trying to get 10 sacks a game or 10 sacks a season or something like that. I am going to go out there and do what they want me to do.”

On if he feels the secondary can be dominant:
“I hope so. The guys we put together around here, we tend to think we put together a pretty good group. I think last year we were ranked somewhere in the top five at a certain point throughout the season. Things started going downhill. Turnovers stopped coming. We stop making plays and getting off the field on third downs, teams started picking up a lot of first downs on us. That kind of definitely got frustrating when we finished 13th. You come from 31st, 32nd to 13th it’s a big jump. We feel like we’re poised for another big jump. We just want to go out there and keep trying to play to the best of our abilities. Like I said, another year in this system, another year of guys really understanding what’s required of them, what’s asked of them, what plays we want them to make and what plays we just need for them to come down and make the tackle on and we will be fine.”

On defensive back Richard Crawford:
“I like him, man. I like the kid. I can remember coming in here during OTA’s, they just had a rookie camp and Raheem was showing us film on some of the rookies. We immediately saw him catch the ball and we were like, “Man, who is that kid?” He just had great ball skills. He had a knack for just being around the ball. He’s definitely showed us so far in this training camp.”

On impressions of wide receiver Pierre Garçon:
“I like him. I’ve always liked P [Pierre Garçon ], even when he was in Indy I liked him. I remember going up against him. He’s a competitor. Me and him trip out there on occasion every now and then and he’s not going to back down. He’s played in big games and he knows what it takes to win. You need guys like that, especially on the offensive end.”

On speaking to the non-starters about taking mental reps:
“It’s the National Football League. We know the starters get the majority of the reps and the other guys kind of have to get in where they fit in. Mike [Shanahan] made that speech to us first day of training camp. You’re going get your reps and you’re going to make this team on special teams. [special teams coordinator] Danny [Smith] kind of harps on it all the time too, we need you guys to go out here and give the best effort possible and that’s going to help you get playing time. It’s part of the business, not being able to get the most reps out there possible. But from a mental standpoint, that’s probably why we’re here from 7:00am in the morning until 8:45pm at night, because majority of the time is spent in that classroom. Spent in that classroom going over things -repetition, repetition, repetition- and going out here on the field. You might go over it for 30 minutes in the classroom and get to play one time. It’s kind of part of it. You teach from film, you learn from film and we try to get these young guys going just by watching film.”