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Five Years Since His Four Picks, Hall Has A Different Role


When the Redskins travel to Chicago for Sunday's matchup with the Bears, it will be the first time DeAngelo Hall has played at Soldier Field since his historic four-interception game there in 2010.

DeAngelo Hall still remembers every interception – the route, the receiver, the coverage. Can you blame him? Five years removed, the memories of his four picks against Jay Cutler, which tied the most by a player in one game in NFL history, are still clear and vivid.

When the Redskins travel to Chicago to take on the Bears on Sunday, it will be the first time since that mid-October game in 2010 that Hall will have played at Soldier Field and revisited the grounds that sent his grass-stained burgundy and white jersey to Canton, Ohio.

Hall got to hold it during the team's preseason trip to Cleveland this year thanks to a pit stop at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. More than three months later, on the precipice of returning to Soldier Field, Hall reflected on that day in Chicago briefly, not wanting to dwell too much on personal achievement.

"You want to get the ball. You want to give your team a chance to win. For one guy to get four turnovers is a pretty big deal," Hall said. "It's definitely one of my most memorable games. But I'm not thinking because I got four picks that game that I'm going to get four picks this game. I'm just trying to go out there and play great defense and do what my team needs me to do."

What that's been recently has been a whole lot of everything. Since mid-November, because of a variety of injuries to the secondary and lack of depth at safety, Hall, 32, has become a defensive Swiss army knife, rotating between cornerback and the two safety positions as needed.

In some ways that makes it harder for Hall to replicate that four-interception day -- not that anyone is asking him to or that he expects to either. When he remembered that afternoon, and the four takeaways he committed all in the second half, the key was about finding a rhythm on the field.

Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 14 match up against the Chicago Bears on December 10th, 2015, at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.

"You can definitely feel like you're in the zone when, no matter what they run, I'm just on this guy. I can feel him coming out of his break, I can feel the quarterback, you kind of can feel certain things," Hall said. "That was definitely a game where I felt real good… Definitely was in a zone. But you don't go in thinking I'm going to get four picks in a game. That's kind of unimaginable."

Hall's role isn't as defined now, but that doesn't mean he still can't compete at a high level. Now more than ever, his experience and history facing teams and players – such as Cutler, who Hall says is one of the most talented quarterbacks he's faced in the league – will only help as he becomes more of a communicator on the defense, helping position younger corners like Quinton Dunbar and Bashaud Breeland.

"I feel confident going after these guys, absolutely," Hall said. "Because I've had success, I've definitely felt comfortable. But it's not about me and Jay, it's about the Chicago Bears and the Washington Redskins. All the guys in this locker room have to come together with a mindset and a game plan."

Hall, who tore his Achilles last year and missed five games due to turf toe this season, played just six snaps against the Panthers when he first made the switch to safety. Since then, in two division games, Hall's averaged 44 snaps, a sign of trust from the coaching staff that has implemented an array of different nickel and dime package personnel moves.

"Until a month ago, DeAngelo had never played a snap of safety in his life," defensive coordinator Joe Barry said. "But there ain't much that he hasn't seen in 12 years. To classify his role, it's multiple. We're able to do a lot of things with him. He can play corner. He can play nickel. He can play dime. He can play strong. He can play free. He can do a bunch of different things.

"It's just great when you have, not only a very good football player, but when you have a smart, heady player that understands football, understands coverage, you can do different things with him. I thank God that we have him."

It's unlikely that Hall rekindles the same energy from his then-27-year-old body when he walks through visitor's tunnel again on Sunday at Soldier Field. But with a meaningful game in December and a division lead on the line, he'll certainly have the same focus.

"That's what's on everybody's mind around here is trying to close this season and make a push, make a run," Hall said. "When you get in that dance anything can happen. So all we want is an invitation, so we can go out there and play."




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