“Now that we saw it on tape,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said, “I want to see it every week now.”
Obviously it’s not that easy and if Hall did do that every week he’d be a perennial Pro Bowl player. The Redskins’ coverage overall did a good job limiting downfield plays and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was quick to hit his checkdowns; he also threw only 30 passes (completing five to Bryant for 36 yards, his second-lowest output of the season).
You can come up with other reasons why perhaps Dallas did not hit Bryant more. The bottom line: a receiver averaging 76.5 yards per game was held to 36. And Hall played a big role, facing him whenever they played man.
This week Hall will face Chicago’s Brandon Marshall.
“It’s just a competition,” Hall said. “[Secondary coach Raheem Morris] was joking about me in practice saying, ‘If you watch D-Hall in practice you’ll be like, oh man, this guy is terrible.' But you see him in a game and he turns it up to another level.”
That’s when Hall channeled his inner Allen Iverson.
“I’m like, practice is practice,” Hall said. “I have to find a way to protect myself, protect my body, train my mind. You can’t go 100 percent every play in practice and think you can carry it over to the game. It’s not humanly possible. You use the week to prepare yourself physically to go out and play Sunday. You get hyped, man, you get hyped. Anytime you have a guy across from you that you respect as a player, you want to win that matchup.”
Hall did a solid job against Bryant in the season finale last season (four catches, 71 yards but not all versus Hall; Bryant also was dealing with some back pain). And Hall had some good moments in Week 3 against Calvin Johnson, jamming him at the line then intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown in the first quarter.
But he’s also had his not-so-good moments.
“If he did it one time, why can’t you do it every week?” Haslett said. “I say that to our guys up front. For instance, [defensive lineman] Chris Baker, two weeks ago against Oakland, it was his best game he’s played. I told him, ‘You’ve set a standard for yourself. We’ve got to have that every week.’ We tackled much better this week. We were a really good tackling team this week. So, I want to see it every week. You set a standard for yourself. Let’s do it every week now.”
Nobody would like that more than Hall. He also knows that’s difficult.
“It can be tough, depending on the circumstances in a game,” Hall said. “This is an offensive league.”