Very few people on earth would argue that Andre Johnson isn’t one of the best receivers in football at the moment. Fantasy football players everywhere made Johnson one of the first two receivers taken in their drafts. Redskins cornerback Phillip Buchanon went to great lengths to explain how talented Johnson is in the run-up to yesterday’s game, and returned to the point in the postgame locker room. Even Johnson’s stat-line from last night would seem to be beyond question: 12 receptions for 158 yards and one crucial touchdown.
DeAngelo Hall doesn’t see it exactly like that.
“I hadn’t played Andre in the league,” Hall said during today’s open locker room session. “I played him in college. This is my first time goin’ against him in the league. And I gave him a lot of props before the game; during the game … he didn’t scare me. You know, he didn’t really do anything that looked spectacular. He didn’t do anything to make me feel like he was the best.”
To be very clear, even Hall — confident though he is — isn’t trying to argue with Johnson’s results. “He came out of there with, what, twelve, thirteen catches, touchdown, you know, so maybe the numbers indicate he is. But I didn’t feel that way when I lined up across from him.”
This whole discussion was sparked by the fact that Hall agrees with a lot of the commenters here: he feels like he should’ve been glued to Johnson the entire game, and especially on that game-changing fourth-and-10 touchdown conversion in place of Reed Doughty.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board,” Hall said. “Won’t happen like that again. If Andre Johnson’s out there, I’m gonna be out there with him. Nobody else.”
And that was Hall’s fundamental point: he would like to be used as a blanket on the opposition’s best receiver. “I’m goin’ wherever the [freakin'] ball’s goin’,” he said. ” Wherever the receiver’s goin’, that’s where the [freak] I’m goin’. Bottom line.”
The point is not that Hall believes he can prevent a receiver of Johnson’s caliber from making any catches, but that being in constant coverage of a guy who was targeted 17 times in the game offers Hall that many more opportunities to make something happen. “You give me enough opportunities,” Hall said, “I’m gonna make plays. That’s how it is.”
Hall ALSO wasn’t saying that putting him on Johnson on the fourth-and-10 would’ve necessarily changed the outcome. “We’ll never know,” he said. “We’ll never know. You know, I can’t say it won’t, I can’t say it will. But that’s the opportunity I need.”
Based on the comments I’ve been seeing here and in my email, an awful lot of you are inclined to agree. Now Hall just needs to convince his coaches, which isn’t something he’s particularly concerned about.
“Has (defensive coordinator Jim Haslett) knows me,” Hall said. “He’s seen me play over the years. He knows I like to do that, so I would say it’s not a problem at all.”
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