Redskins' Hall explains 'overzealous' comments
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - DeAngelo Hall says he "might have been a little overzealous" when he unleashed profane remarks targeting the coaching staff, and teammates rallied around the Pro Bowl cornerback Wednesday as the Washington Redskins sought to defuse their first significant internal uproar of the season.
Hall stood at the podium for some 10 minutes to explain his one-minute spew in the locker room following the 18-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
"I might have been a little overzealous. You guys know me - I'm passionate about football," Hall said. "I definitely feel that was a football game we should have won. I was pretty frustrated. The Cowboys might actually send me a bill. I broke a couple of things down there, so I don't know if I'm going to get billed for that."
Hall was the victim on a 30-yard completion from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant that converted a third-and-21 during Dallas' game-winning drive. Afterward, Hall faulted defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for calling yet another all-out blitz on the play, saying it doesn't take a "rocket scientist to figure it out after a while."
Hall, who has been outspoken and temperamental throughout his career, said he couldn't sleep after the loss, the Redskins' first of the season. The team plane didn't arrive back in Washington until about 4:30 a.m., and he said he was at Redskins Park by 8 a.m. to watch the film.
"I couldn't get that play out of my head," Hall said. "Couldn't get that whole game out of my head, because to have a team beat like that, and not come out with the win is definitely frustrating. We have fun doing this, but this what we do - this is our passion."
Hall met with coach Mike Shanahan and Haslett to review the play. The conclusion: There were several players that could've performed better. Some of his teammates peeled off the rush when they shouldn't have. Hall himself could have done a better job staying with Bryant. Haslett's all-out blitz might not have been the orthodox call, but it had produced big plays in the first three games.
"After sitting down and hearing his reasoning behind it, if I'm on Madden I probably would have did the same thing," Hall said, "probably try to get the ball out of the guy's hands as quick as possible, man. ... I definitely understood where he was coming from. As opposed to just sitting back, letting those guys pick us apart, he wanted some pressure."
While Hall said he took "full responsibility" for the pass coverage, he maintains that he shouldn't have been flagged for a face mask penalty on the play. The extra 15 yards put the Cowboy in field goal range.
"Still don't think it was a face mask," Hall said. "Didn't get a fine by the league, so obviously they didn't think it was a face mask, either."
Hall's mini-tantrum runs counter to the new culture of order and discipline the Redskins are trying to establish in the second year under Shanahan. Hall raised some eyebrows last week when he spoke about targeting Romo's injured ribs, but this is the first incident that threatened to rock the team boat.
"As a team, especially as a captain, you have to roll with the punches," Hall said. "I was extremely frustrated. That doesn't excuse what I said, how I said it. Like I said, it was in the heat of the battle."
Teammates were quick to stand up for Hall.
"DeAngelo Hall is one of the - it's not even a word, but - `goodest' guys that I know," safety Oshiomogho Atogwe said. "He plays this game with a passion. He plays this game with his heart. And a lot of times that allows him to be as great as he is."
Added cornerback Josh Wilson: "We are very competitive. We are very emotional. And sometimes we have it right here on our sleeve. ... God forbid that happen to me, but y'all might want to catch me after the game if that happened to me, too."
London Fletcher, the other defensive captain, said this was minor stuff compare to Redskins dramas of recent years.
"I think this reaction was totally different than stuff in the past, the type of distractions we've had in the past," Fletcher said. "I wouldn't put that on the same level in any way, shape or form."