After 12 seasons as a cornerback, DeAngelo Hall feels refreshed and confident as his move to full-time safety becomes complete during the 2016 season.
The football calendar can become repetitive. Practice sessions -- before and during the season -- blend together, team meetings have a similar feeling. Through time, even the years become harder to differentiate.
And yet, while DeAngelo Hall is getting ready for his 13th NFL season (there are only a few players that have been in the league longer than he has), the Virginia Tech product is feeling "rejuvenated" after moving from cornerback to safety in the middle of the 2015 season.
"Playing corner in this league is fun, it's challenging at times, and after coming off those injuries it was tough," Hall said on "Redskins Nation" this week. "Mentally, it was tough and physically on my body and to be able to go play safety, a position where you can slow down a step or two and still be pretty darn good, I feel great."
What has also helped Hall is having a clean bill of health. This time last year he was still recovering from a season-ending Achilles tear and was unsure of his return date.
That isn't the case this year, though.
"I feel great, especially having another year coming off that Achilles. I even feel more explosive," Hall said. "I told the coaches, 'You're going to see me and I'm going to look really, really good, don't try to move me back to corner.' I love playing safety right now, I wake up in the morning, I no longer ache and have little pains, so I'm enjoying it."
At safety, Hall doesn't have to mimic the steps of wide receivers, sometimes more than 10 years younger than him and with less mileage on their bodies.
Instead of having to be in lockstep with those players, Hall can sit back a little more in coverage.
"It's just more aggressive movements when you play corner," Hall said. "It is hair-trigger, we say. That receiver comes out of [his] break, you've got a split second to make your decision and go. It's a lot of stress and a lot of pounding on your feet, on your lower body, and safety is a lot more controlled, it's a lot more thinking involved. Going into my 13th season, I think I've pretty much seen everything there is to see and so it just makes me that much better at safety."
Check out the top images of DeAngelo Hall from the 2015 season.
Replacing Hall at cornerback are returners Bashaud Breeland and Chris Culliver along with the recently signed Josh Norman, who Hall helped recruit to Washington.
"He's a proven winner, he's a guy who makes plays, he's a guy who brings that fire and tenacity that you love to see," Hall said. "You love to see that because me as a safety, everybody on this defense and this team is going to feed off of that and I mean he's a guy who can flat out play. Is he the best corner in the league, I don't know, I like to think he probably is. But is he a heck of a football player and probably one of the best football players in this league, absolutely."
The addition of Norman will also have direct implications on how the defense will approach the best wide receiver on other teams.
The 2015 All-Pro will "go get that guy," while Breeland gets to focus in on enhancing his skills as a third-year pro.
"Bree's still a young guy who has a lot to learn, and I think adding Josh to the mix kind of helps him mature and helps him develop his skills even more," Hall said. "We were out there working out a little bit and Josh is kind of interjecting to Bree a little bit and they're going back and forth on how they see different things. It's that kind of insight that any young player can use to get better at his craft."