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 Post subject: Deion Sanders v2.0
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:31 am 
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Falcons' Hall eager to ``bring it'' on punt returns

By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
December 8, 2005
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- DeAngelo Hall's interception total indicates he has accomplished his goal of becoming a "shutdown corner" in the NFL.

But Hall wants to expand his reputation.

Hall's chance comes Monday night when he is expected to return punts for the Atlanta Falcons against New Orleans.

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"Oh man, I'm real jacked up. I'm real excited," Hall said Thursday.

Hall is expected to fill in for 2004 Pro Bowl return specialist Allen Rossum, who injured a knee last week and is listed as questionable. Rossum didn't practice Thursday.

Hall has filled in for Rossum on punt returns before, but never for a full game. He has three returns for 54 yards -- 18 yards per return -- this season.

Hall, an accomplished return specialist at Virginia Tech, says he'll take lessons learned from Rossum.

"I think I've learned so much from Allen," Hall said. "I'm just ready to show how much he's taught me. I think I was a great returner in college, but I think I'm better now."

There was some talk of having Hall return punts in his 2004 rookie season while Rossum returned kickoffs.

"I kind of discouraged that because I wanted to put all my focus on being a shutdown corner in this league," Hall said. "I think I've reached that level. I'm still working on that, but I think I'm taking the right steps."

Hall ranks among the league leaders with five interceptions, including one in each of the Falcons' two previous Monday night appearances this season.

"Anytime it's Monday night football, I know I'm going to bring it," he said. "I know I'm going to bring it on prime time."

Hall is winning respect from other NFL players.

"He's doing his thing, man," said Saints receiver Joe Horn on Thursday. "He's got five picks. DeAngelo is playing at a Pro Bowl level. He's sitting at the top of the league with the best. I've got to respect that."

In Hall's last year at Virginia Tech, he had five punt returns for touchdowns, the second-best total in Big East history. His 839 yards on 56 punts was the third-best total in conference history.

Saints coach Jim Haslett says Hall should be a worthy replacement for Rossum.

"He's got great speed. He did it in college and was outstanding," said Haslett of Hall. "They're kind of the same guy. They like to return the ball to the side. They both have a good feel for it."

Falcons coach Jim Mora might rotate Hall and receiver Brian Finneran on punt returns. When the Falcons are fielding punts near the goal line or in other fair-catch situations, Finneran may get the nod. When there is more chance for a return, Hall is the probable choice.

Rossum was a 2004 Pro Bowl pick as a return specialist, and his absence also will be felt on defense, where he was the nickel back. Even so, Mora is eager to see what Hall can do with room to run.

"Every time he touches the ball it's kind of exciting," Mora said. "I get the feeling when he touches the ball he's got a chance to make a big play."

Hall said he would be comfortable maintaining at least a share of the return duties.

"I know a couple of our coaches kind of talked about having me back there in crucial situations, like Darrell Green did early in his career," Hall said. "I'm up for doing whatever this team asks me to do."


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:31 am 
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i wouldn't mind seeing hall play wr and go long on a couple of plays. there really wouldn't be any routes to learn just run up the field as fast as you can and catch the damn ball.
in fact i'd really like to see him get some touches on the offense.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:17 pm 
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I'm not a big fan of Hall returning punts. But you got to do what you got to do.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:51 pm 
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I'm not a big fan either...seems like a great way for him to get hurt to me....

if he gets hurt then we won't have him, Rossum, Mathis, Cash, or Torrence...that's a lot of injuries at cb...

but like dirty said...you got to do what you got to do....


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:28 pm 
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Hall is lightning in a bottle, and truth be told the Falcons need a spark on the field right now.

I'm also hoping we can get to see some of DeAndra Cobb on MNF on kickoffs.

I think Hall still has quite a bit of a mountain to climb before we call him a shutdown corner. Only 1 of those 5 interceptions required some effort from him this year, and he hasn't been able to add T.O., Smith, and Darrell Jackson as notches in his belt. Sure, he might have contained these guys, but he didn't shut them down.

If there is a player he shut down this year, it would only be Lee Evans.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:16 pm 
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Don't forget Joey Galloway who is among the leagues best this year.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:16 pm 
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Pudge, you're not giving Hall nearly enough credit for what he has done this year. You can add Galloway to the shut out, not even shutdown, list and Galloway was the #2 WR in the league going into that game & had a great game the next week after Hall shut him out. Owens will never be shut down, but to hold his production to 7 catches on 20 throws his way is a monumental effort....especially when you consider TO had no TD's and Hall got a pick. You can say he didn't have to work for his picks, but he ran down half of them on deep passes as if he were the WR, so he definitely worked for most of them. The only one that was thrown right to him was the Culpepper pick.

I've been against having Hall return punts, but if Deion could do it without getting hurt I don't see why Hall couldn't.


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 Post subject: Re: Deion Sanders v2.0
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:38 pm 
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The_Incomparable wrote:
Hall said. "I'm up for doing whatever this team asks me to do."


That sticks out the most to me. He is young and smart, which you don't see much of these days with all the money hungry rookie's and stuff. I think the best way to get your coaches attention is to work on and off the field, and not be a pest(T.O.) If your cool like that, then you will get the $$$ that you deserve.

Hall has performed well on the field, and off the field(Watching Film every chance he get's)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:41 am 
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I realize that Owens is extremely difficult to shut down. he's caught less than 4 passes in only 3 games since joining hte Eagles. But containing a guy to 112 yards is not exactly a good thing. But the Cowboys & Chargers both held him to under 60 yards receiving this year, and the Steelers, Redskins (twice), and Cowboys managed to do so last year.

I don't really want to take away from Hall's performance in that game because he played well. But when you are looking back and you say, giving up 112 yards is probably one of your 3 best performances of the year, then that may not be saying a whole lot.

I forgot about Galloway. That's another notch in his belt. But he struggled against Darrell Jackson for half the Seahawks game. Was the only DB as I recall vs. the Vikings that gave up anything, biting hard on a TD pass late in the game. I know it was meaningless to the game's outcome, but I think it was a meaningful play in Hall's progression as a player. Didn't have a great effort vs. New England. Struggled vs. the Saints, and has basically been avoided since the Jet game, although I recall Justin McCareins making someone look bad in that game, but can't remember if it was Webster or Hall.

Hall is a good cornerback, and I don't want to sound like I don't think he's going to develop into a top corner. But he's not there yet. He's faced some top talent and played well. But he's also faced some not so great talent and done not so well.

It might be I have a higher standard of what truly is a shutdown cornerback. I'd say there are less than 10 guys in the league that I'd give that label. Those are the guys that 90% of the time are going to play well whether they are matching up with T.O., Darrell Jackson, Keary Colbert, or Troy Williamson. They go toe to toe with the big names like the T.O.'s, Chad Johnsons, and Marvin Harrison. And when they face the lesser talent like the Colberts and WIlliamsons, they truly shut them down, where those guys will be lucky to make 1 catch that game.

It's just hard for me to say we have a shutdown guy when your entire defense is geared toward the bend, but don't break style. Hall I think will get there, and it may be as soon as next year, but I think another person agrees with me that he's not there yet. And that person is Ed Donatell. Otherwise, I think you would see the Falcons defense much more aggressive if Donatell believed Hall could truly shut down an entire side of the football field which is what the original shutdown guys were considered to do (you know: Darrell Green, Deion, etc.). But sharing that opportunity probably is based on how able you think Donatell relaly is.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:25 am 
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Maybe you just need to let go of the notion that a shutdown corner is even a reality in today's NFL. There was only one Deion Sanders and even he would not shut down the freaks we have playing today. Such is the nature of time & the evolution of the athlete. I would easily put Hall up there with McAllister & Bailey, the two premier corners in the league, because he does all the same things. Again, they have both been eaten up by receivers from game to game & give up yards regularly, so there really is no such thing as a shutdown corner.

When those teams, 4 out of 5 of which are top NFL defenses, shut down TO it wasn't because Smoot, Townsend, Newman, or any of their corners were on an island with him all game long. Of course Dallas shut him down, because he was worried about Roy Williams breaking his leg again. Of course Pitt shut him down, because they can put Polamalu over the top whenever they need to. Of course the Skins will shut him down as they have Taylor roaming around at the Safety position. To shut down a Moss or a Owens, it would have to be a true team effort as they do not make 6'4" corners that run sub 4.3 40's as would be needed to shut him down one on one.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 3:56 pm 
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I am really happy with the way Hall has played...sure he's given up yards on occasion but he's been good all year...

the pass that he allowed for a TD he was just doing what he was coached to do....when we blitz he's coached to bite on the first thing he's shown and he did just that...

he did great vs Steve Smith...I don't know that there is any corner in the NFL that could totally shut Smith out...the TD he allowed was the reult of a calculated risk...he knew what was coming, he knew he had help behind him and he jumped the route and just missed...

what I think a lot of people are forgetting is that this kid is really young still...he didn't play but half the year last year too...he'll get better and he should progress into a true shutdown corner....remember that when he came out of college many rated him as the best cb prospect since Deion....just give him a little more time to get there...it would be differant if he were doing poorly, but he's not Pac-Man by any stretch....


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:13 pm 
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Comp, you make very good points. The shutdown corner as it existed in the heyday of Deion and Darrell Green probably no longer exists in the NFL.

Again, I want to state that I believe within a year or two Hall I believe will be among the top corners in the league. But I don't think he's there yet. He's also probably going to make the Pro Bowl this year. But I don't think he really deserves it. His level of play over the course of this year is not what I would expect to see from a cornerback that is considered to be in Top 5-8 players at his position.

And about Hall being the best since Deion, I think that's a stretch. I recall comparisons to Deion because of Hall's athleticism and ability on punt returns, but if anyone made that connection of Hall being the best corner prospect in 15 years, I would really question the judgement of that person. I mean that sort of evaluation would totally gloss over players like Shawn Springs, Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, Terrence Newman, and Quentin Jammer, who all been considered as Top 3 pick talent, while I think few people thought Hall was good enough to be drafted in the first 3 picks.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:04 pm 
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I wasn't the one that said Hall was the best prospect in 15 years...that was the talking heads on TV and the handfuls of scouting reports that I get to read...but with that said I can say that I think Hall is playing as good as any of those people you named...and the only reason Hall wasn't looked at as a top 3 pick were because of all of the other players in that draft class...I mean Eli was destined to go in the top 3 before he ever played his first college game....Phillip Rivers, well I never really saw what everyone else saw in him....Sean Taylor is a once in a blue moon athelete at safety....anyway my point is that there was a LOT of talent at the top half of that draft class...


In the end my point is really just cut Hall a little slack...I don't see where he's been playing that poorly other than he doesn't take as many risks as I would like...he seems to be playing really conservative and I think that's mainly because he knows he doesn't have a lot of help behind him....Hall has been solid for most of the year...we have to keep in mind he is really young and he didn't get the benefit of playing a full rookie season...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:48 pm 
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Another problem is that Hall came out injured his rookie year and didn't get much PT. Meanwhile his classmates from that draft were posting ROY and Pro Bowl type years in their first years. So that made the standards for Hall that much higher.

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