ASHBURN, Va. – No NFL defense is giving up more yards or first downs than the Washington Redskins so far, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall offered a solution Monday: He should cover each opponent's top receiver.
And Hall doesn't really seem to care what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett thinks of that plan.
"Don't matter what he say. This is my team; this is my defense," Hall said. "So I'm going to follow the receiver around. That's what I'm going to do. If we've got to do that to win games, that's what I'm going to do."
The Redskins allowed Texans quarterback Matt Schaub to throw for a franchise-record 497 yards and three touchdowns in Houston's 30-27 overtime victory Sunday. Washington led 27-10 late in the third quarter.
Schaub's totals included a game-tying, 34-yard scoring pass to Andre Johnson on fourth-and-10 with 2:03 left in regulation. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon and safety Reed Doughty were in coverage; Hall was lined up on the other side of the field.
Johnson wound up outjumping Doughty in the end zone to make the catch.
"We'll go back to the drawing board. Won't happen like that again. If Andre Johnson's out there, I'm going to be out there," Hall said.
Talking about that play, Hall said: "That's how it was. That ain't how it's going to be from here on out. I'm going wherever the ... ball is going. Wherever the receiver's going, that's where ... I'm going, bottom line."
Part of the comments were relayed later Monday to coach Mike Shanahan, who said he liked Hall's attitude.
"I want all my players thinking that way ... wanting the pressure of covering the top receiver," Shanahan said. "You want guys that believe in themselves, and guys that know they can get the job done."
The Redskins (1-1) have given up 906 yards and 53 first downs through two games, including a 13-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. Hall returned a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the first half in that game.
Asked about his defense's play this season, his first in Washington, Shanahan said: "Well, you're going to give up big plays with any defense when you're just kind of getting started. It's a learning curve. We've just got to keep on getting better."
During his first four seasons in the league with the Atlanta Falcons, Hall said, he generally was assigned to cover the other team's best receiver.
And that, he maintains, is how it should be with the Redskins, who have been relying on zone coverage in the defensive backfield.
"You give me enough opportunities, I'm going to make plays. That's how it is. Yesterday, I didn't have no opportunities to make no plays. That's frustrating," Hall said. "It's frustrating to go out there and be up 17 points and still lose a game."
Hall didn't speak with Haslett in the offseason about getting assigned to follow one particular receiver. But Hall figures Haslett is familiar with his play in the past.
At home after Sunday's loss, Hall tried to figure out how the Redskins let the Texans come back.
"I felt like the game was over, felt like we were dominating those guys, hitting Schaub whenever we wanted to. He was falling down without anybody even around him, like Peyton Manning does a lot," Hall said. "I don't know what transpired."
NOTES: An MRI exam on LT Trent Williams' injured left knee came back negative, but Shanahan said he won't know until later in the week whether the fourth overall pick in this year's draft will play against the Rams on Sunday. ... Shanahan said he doesn't know whether DL Albert Haynesworth (ankle) will be available to practice this week. ... The Redskins have run for 107 yards; the only two NFL clubs who gained fewer on the ground as of Monday afternoon were the Saints and 49ers, who had played only one game before meeting Monday night. Washington ran for 18 yards on 17 carries Sunday, and Shanahan acknowledged, "The running game wasn't there." ... Shanahan had no problem with Texans coach Gary Kubiak calling a timeout just as Redskins K Graham Gano was about to attempt a 52-yard field goal in overtime; after all, as Shanahan pointed out, it's a strategy he "got so much abuse for starting" years ago. Gano initially put the ball through the uprights, but it didn't count; his second attempt sailed wide right. Gano explained Monday he "kind of lifted my head up in excitement to try and see where the kick went," which threw his body off. "It's never good when it happens," Gano said, "but it's better that it happens now, rather than when we're in the playoffs."