Hall says Shanahan-Haynesworth standoff "hurt us"
Look, the headline above can't really do justice to everything DeAngelo Hall said in his appearance on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix on Friday. Kevin Sheehan was talking about how the continued fascination with Haynesworth is not a media-created story, but has developed from real, tangible events. He asked Hall if this was fair. Hall's long, and pretty fascinating, response follows. Also, LaRon Landry tweeted the above photo from the Welcome Home Luncheon, featuring Albert Haynesworth's elbow pads. So, is it fair?
"Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's fair. It's fair. Is it right? You know, neither here nor there about it. I think it was a little clash of the titans. You have your high-profile player in Albert Haynesworth. Obviously I think everybody knows he didn't perform up to the standard we needed him to play at last year. I don't think he played in a single NFC East game. It might have been one. So we definitely need him for that dominance in those games.
"That's when you have the Giants, that's when you have the Eagles, that's when you have the Cowboys, those guys that are gonna beat you up and try to pound you. That's why we brought him in here, to face those kind of opponents. So we definitely missed him and we needed him in those kind of games. So did he play [below] the level we wanted him to play last year? Yeah, no doubt about it. I'll tell him that to his face, and I've told him that before....
"As a player, to be given that ultimatum when he got here for training camp to pass the test or you're not gonna practice, I'm not gonna be sweating too hard about passing that test. I'm just gonna be real with you. It's hot, it's training camp, it's two-a-days. I want the easiest path possible. I want to play in games, I don't want to go out there and practice.
"And so for him to be given that kind of scenario or choice, it wasn't a hard one. It wasn't a hard one for him. I don't think it's a hard one for 80 guys in that locker room, no matter what they might tell you personally. They're not gonna want to go out there and practice, that's just the gist of it. I think he should have had to run the test and still practice with us. At the end of the day, all that did was hurt us, because we need him out there, and he's gonna be out there.
"All that's behind him, he finally passed the test, he's out there, he gets banged up, he gets hurt, it just is what it is. Malcolm Kelly's been out nursing his hamstring for three weeks, his misdiagnosed hamstring. They thought it was one thing, he ended up finally getting a second opinion three weeks later, and we find out it was something a heck of a lot worse than they ever thought it was. So we're here babying Malcolm, saying he's a baby, he's a baby, get out there and play, when he has a Grade II strain and they're around here saying it's a Grade I and there ain't nothing wrong with him.
"So it is what it is. It's football. You're gonna have to push through some of it."
Later, asked if he was criticizing Shanahan's approach, Hall praised the new coach effusively, and talked about how flexible and understanding he's been. At which point the subject changed to the new defense under Jim Haslett, and Hall was equally fascinating.
"I think it's a mindset," he said. "Whenever you have a new coordinator, you have to kind of conform to the way they want things done, their mindset, their approach. Coach Haz is a aggressive kind of guy, play balls to the wall, you make a mistake? Oh well, this is football, they get paid too kind of guy.
"I felt like last year with Greg Blache - who we loved to death - he was more let's not let the big play happen. If it does happen, he's pulling guys out of the game, it was the end of the world. Where Haz is like hell, these guys get paid too, oh well, let's make play. And that's what you've got to have. Guys are gonna make plays in this league.
"With Carlos, he struggled a little bit last week for the simple fact that one week he'd be starting, right before the game they might tell him he's not starting. It was crazy, it was crazy, the way they had him and Smoot rotating, bringing in Tryon sometimes to play some of the nickel. It wasn't a lot of certainty.
"When Haz came in, the first thing he said was 'Los, your'e my guy. You're my guy. I don't care if you get beat, you're still lining up the next play, go make a play. To have a coach have that confidence in you as a player, especially as a cornerback, you need that. You need that.
"And we stay on LaRon so much, but we had him out of place. When S-Dot [Sean Taylor] passed away, we had to kind of fill a hole, and LaRon's game suffered for that, but he sacrificed for the team. He's a guy who loves to go bang and hit people, and he was a Pro Bowl alternate doing it, and then you go put him in another position that he has to start from scratch and learn. He's still a young guy. He's been tossed in the fire since day 1 but he's still a young guy."
August 20, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
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