DeAngelo Hall has been sidelined with a sprained toe since the Redskins Week 3 game against the Giants. He practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday for the first time since the injury. The 12th-year veteran wants to play against the Patriots on Sunday but he is realistic about what needs to happen for him to be able to do that.
“If I can’t go out there and plant and run, come out of a break pretty well, I don’t stand a chance,” said Hall. “I think the coaches understand that.”
The fact that Hall is discussing planting and running and breaking with reporters is perhaps a hint that he still can’t do those things as well as he would like. He has a chance to play but it seems more likely that his return will wait a week or two.
Hall concedes that when he returns the coaches could face an interesting dilemma. Second-year corner Bashaud Breeland has been playing in his place and Hall himself concedes that he might not automatically step right back in to the starting job he held prior to betting hurt.
“Bre was playing lights out to the point where I wanted to go to the coach and tell him, look, don’t give me my spot back,” said Hall. “Let me earn my spot because Bre’s balling right now. Even the passes he’s given up, man, like I tell him every week, he’s been right there. Fingertip this way or that way, or the ball bouncing another way, we’re not talking about that play. So he’s just playing lights out.”
Unfortunately, Breeland is also hurt right now. He is dealing with a hamstring he strained while making one of his “lights out” plays, chasing down Bucs running back Doug Martin to keep him from scoring what would have been a clinching touchdown. The second-year players is the Redskins’ leader in takeaways with two interceptions, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. As Hall indicated, he has been beaten by some receivers but that is going to happen in the pass-happy NFL.
Like Hall, it looks like Breeland may have to sit this week so Joe Barry and Perry Fewell likely won’t have to sort out the roles this week. But in a week or two both will be able to play and the decision will have to be made. And whether Hall makes the offer or not, it is likely that he will have to fight to get his job back. Breeland is the team’s future and even though the organization wants to win as much as possible this year, it would be difficult to justify pushing Hall, who will turn 32 in two weeks, back in front of the 23-year-old Breeland.
One solution could be to start Breeland opposite Chris Culliver and bring in Hall for nickel situations, moving Breeland inside to cover the slot. But that would send rookie Kyshoen Jarrett, who has been doing a good job in the slot, to the bench. It will be a good problem for Fewell and Barry to have when the week that all of his corners are healthy arrives.