Hall's test starts with Redskins' first unit

One Achilles tear and one setback later, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall is ready to show what's he got - and that he can still start.

RICHMOND -- DeAngelo Hall realizes there is plenty to prove if he wants his starting job back one year after tearing his left Achilles, twice.

Yet on the first day of the Washington Redskins' 2015 training camp, the veteran cornerback plans on being with the starters. In other words, don't pen in anyone else for the starting slot opposite Chris Culliver just yet. Seriously, don't, says the head coach.

"I feel like with experience, what he put on tape in his career, his veteran leadership, he deserves the right to be knocked off," Jay Gruden said of Hall Thursday. "He'll be our starting cornerback right now until somebody knocks him off. That's going to be hard to do."

Hall is ready for all aspects of the challenge.

"I think the mental side is good to go," the always confident Hall told reporters following Thursday's walkthrough. The first real practice follows in the afternoon session.

"But physically," Hall continued, "just going out there and being able to do it. I've got to show these coaches I can do it. The first test is today."

Hall, 31, suffered the initial injury Sept 21 against the Eagles. One month later came the unfortunate repeat. Plenty of physical therapy and training followed, though he didn't participate in offseason team drills. On Wednesday, Gruden said Hall and the other injured players were cleared for practice.

On the first day, Hall, who wears No. 2 jersey during camp, expects to "get as many reps as I want" in the afternoon session. From there, "We'll just kind of monitor to it day by day."

Gruden: We just have to make sure we monitor [DeAngelo], where he's at. He's the type of guy that's going to want to take every rep. We just want to make sure...we have him ready for Week 1."

The secondary labored for numerous reasons last season, but playing most of the year without Hall didn't help. Washington allowed a league-high 35 touchdown passes.

"We lost a lot when we lost DeAngelo last year," Gruden said during his daily press conference. "A veteran cornerback of his stature, his experience is a valuable asset to have."

On paper, the Redskins have a deeper group of quality corner this season. Culliver was among their top free agent signings. Bashaud Breeland, likely Hall's primary top competition for the starting role, shined at times during his rookie campaign. Former second-round pick David Amerson rounds out the quartet, though others could force their way onto the roster.

"It's huge," Hall said of the cornerback depth. "I think it just gives us the ability if something happens, man, next guy up."

One that could happen is that he ends up becoming a salary cap cut before the season starts, though the odds are against such a scenario assuming he shows good form on the field.

In the past the ball-hawking corner talked about shifting to free safety later in his career. The additions of Dashon Goldson, Jeron Johnson and Duke Ihenacho changed such plans for now.

"It's still in the back of my head. We've got pretty good safeties now. The need for me to go there probably isn't as demanding as it would have been in years past. It's something we've definitely floated around."

Hall could end up playing all over the field for new defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who took over for Jim Haslett. Whether he ends up in the starting lineup is one of the many questions entering camp. The answer likely won't be clear for some time, but Hall will have plenty of chances starting with the day one of camp.


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