- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Calm followed DeAngelo Hall.

The Washington Redskins cornerback wiped his head with a green towel as he faced six television cameras Wednesday. A grin followed. So did laughter. Expletives that flowed freely after Monday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys were replaced by “Wassup?”

Hall’s profane postgame rant about the decision to blitz eight men on third-and-21 late Monday night felt distant. But 36 hours later, the words still reverberated around Redskins Park.

The talk of a changed culture in the locker room during training camp and the first two weeks of the regular season was buried under Hall’s pile of expletives and criticism of the coaching staff and playcalling. So, the mercurial Pro Bowler tried to dig his way out during a 10-minute, 20-second interview session.

“I might have been a little overzealous,” Hall said. “I’m passionate about football. I thought that was a ballgame we should’ve won, so that was frustrating. The Cowboys might actually send me a bill. I broke a couple things down there.”

Hall’s frustration stemmed from one play, the third-and-21 where the Redskins‘ blitz left him one-on-one with second-year Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. Then, of course, Bryant caught a 30-yard pass from Tony Romo and Hall was flagged for a facemask. That set up the Cowboys‘ game-winning field goal.

The loss left Hall unable to sleep or eat. He reported to Redskins Park at 8 a.m. Tuesday to review film. The third down stuck in his mind, a letdown he took responsibility for.

“If I’m on Madden, I probably would’ve done the same thing, trying to get the ball out of [Romo‘s] hands as quick as possible,” Hall said.

Still a mystery was who, exactly, called the blitz. Mike Shanahan wouldn’t comment. Neither would defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

Given another chance, Hall believes the blitz would work, that Romo would be hit. But, after reviewing the film with Shanahan and Haslett, Hall admitted taking his eyes off Bryant to see what was going on around Romo.

“Understand this,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “The call that was made was a defense that’s been very good to us all year. Whatever the calls that are made, we as players have to execute.”

Hall didn’t believe he was particularly worked up after the game. But he admitted he hasn’t heard a replay of his interview and isn’t entirely sure what he said. Other than, well, some adult language.

The comments didn’t cause much stir in the locker room, as players viewed it simply as DeAngelo being DeAngelo.

“For the most part, we take D-Hall as a leader of this team,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “No one in this locker room is going to say anything about it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings.”

Said Hall: “I was extremely frustrated. That doesn’t excuse what I said or how I said it. Like I said, it was in the heat of the battle. That’s not what we’re about.”

But Hall’s tone Wednesday was markedly different than during his rant, where he seemed to blame everyone but himself and his coverage for the completion. It was almost like a different person talking about a different game.

“That’s probably not the call a lot of players would like to see called, but, at the same time, if it’s called you’ve got to play it,” Hall said. “I’m a corner. You get burned. You make plays.

“I’ve got very thick skin. I can come in here every week after I give up a play and say, ‘Hey, it’s on me.’”

And Wednesday, that was finally true.



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