Thirteen months after he was cut, DeAngelo Hall still can’t believe he’s not wearing an Oakland Raiders uniform.
So if the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is unable to play for the Washington Redskins on Sunday in Oakland, the absence will pain him more than the sprained knee that sidelined him the past two games and in practice Wednesday.
“It was definitely a shocker,” said Hall, whom the Raiders gave a seven-year, $70 million contract to leave Atlanta. “Coach [Tom] Cable made the statement that they had someone better behind me. I took a little offense to that. When I saw the schedule, I had this one circled, along with the Atlanta game.”
Hall also is hampered by back spasms he suffered while standing on the sideline during Sunday’s overtime loss to New Orleans. But he hopes to play against Oakland — not just to face his old team but also because of the Raiders’ offensive style.
“Their receivers will do one thing, and that’s run deep,” he said. “I love to just get into a track meet. I’m faster than all of ‘em. Even at 80 percent me, [I] can keep up with some of those guys. I feel like I can run straight ahead. It’s the cutting that kind of bothers me, but these guys ain’t doing a lot of cutting. They running full-speed right at you. Some of them run full-speed, [get] wide open and still can’t catch.”
On Wednesday, Cable called Hall “a very, very talented guy” and blamed his release on a failure to adjust to the Raiders’ reliance on man-to-man coverage. Cable also noted that he wasn’t the head coach when Hall signed.
Nnamdi Asomugha, the Raiders’ Pro Bowl cornerback, criticized Hall’s release when it happened and said he still believes his former partner wasn’t given a chance to transition to Oakland’s scheme.
“DeAngelo’s a playmaker,” he said. “He wants to be free to go out and make plays and do what he does best. When you come here, you have to understand that you’re going to be in man-to-man [more than] 90 percent of the game. It was definitely something he wasn’t used to. It took some adjusting for him, and he never really got that full chance to adjust to that change.”
Hall defended his ability to play man-to-man coverage and said he wishes he hadn’t been so eager to leave Atlanta. But he believes even the ugly experience with the Raiders ultimately was beneficial.
“I probably should have did my due diligence, but… I just ran to the first people that opened up their arms to me,” he said.
The UFL boost
New kicker Graham Gano said playing in the United Football League helped him more than working out on his own to prepare for NFL tryouts.
“That was very beneficial for everybody that played in the league, to get some experience and get some game film out there and show the coaches you can play some ball,” said Gano, who was 13-for-16 for Las Vegas.
Gano kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime to win the UFL title game.