To Hall or not to Hall? That is the question.
Doesn't get more cliche than that. It seems we find ourselves in a situation that is becoming pretty familiar to Saints fans this year: Debating whether the Saints should go after a free agent who may or may not fill a position of need.
What's that? Oh really? You want my opinion on the matter? Well then its certainly convenient that I have the front page of this blog to share my thoughts and opinions.
I say pass.
Apparently Pat Yasinskas at ESPN thinks differently. He feels the Saints should go for it. And his reasoning behind it is basically, well "Why the hell not?"
But New Orleans makes sense on a lot of levels. The Saints already have shown a willingness to go for broke this season (i.e. trading for Jeremy Shockey, bringing in Jonathan Vilma). They're 4-4 and the expectations were for a lot more. The secondary hasn't been very good.
Undoubtedly Pat is not alone and some of you out there feel that way too. Sure if the price is cheap then maybe its worth the risk but it probably won't be cheap because a few other teams are way more interested. Sure there is the possiblity that he could be a stud. But chances are it just wouldn't have that happy ending. Remember this is the Saints were talking about here.
Can we take a look at a couple of things first? Greeeeaaat (said in the style of Bill Lumbergh). Check out what the San Francisco Gate Chronicle had to say about the situation.
Hall admittedly struggled to adapt to the Raiders' style of man-coverage defense, enough so that Raiders owner Al Davis decided he'd seen enough.
Coupled with Asomugha, Hall was supposed to give the Raiders the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. Instead, Hall got hurt early with hand and ankle injuries and didn't look comfortable in press coverage after spending years in a Cover 2 defense in Atlanta.
So let's get this straight: Hall is used to Cover 2, a zone scheme. The Raiders play man-to-man so Hall struggled. The Saints play a lot of man-to-man and should try to acquire Hall. Something doesn't seem right here.
Haven't we been here before. Isn't any of this ringing a bell to you guys? Remember back in April of 2007. Lets all hop into the Wayback Machine. This is from the New Orleans Saints official website. It's an interview with Jason David right after the Saints picked him up.
NOS.com: There was recently an article that stated that cornerbacks in Cover Two schemes aren't asked to do all of the things that a cornerback is asked to do in a defense that relies on man-to-man coverage. How do you feel about that characterization?
JD: "I am excited and football is football. When you line up, it is about playing. That is overblown, in my estimation. We played a variety of different coverages, whether it was cover two, man, or zone, and I can play them all. The Saints knew that I played a variety of different roles and they did their homework. They didn't just say, 'He's a cover two guy.' They know what I can do and I am confident in my abilities."
Ummmm...yeeeaaaah (more Lumbergh). We all know how well that has turned out for us.
Plus, DeAngelo Hall's not even that good.
"Everybody pumps him up like he's Deion Sanders," Lions receiver Roy Williams said. "But he's not Deion Sanders. He's DeAngelo Hall. He's not the shutdown type of corner that everybody expects him to be."
Acquiring DeAngelo Hall halfway through the season would not be the answer to turning this season around even if he did play well. It would be like putting a Band-Aid on a shotgun wound. Of course the Saints have a need at cornerback but thats not all they need. History would also show that the Saints haven't been so fortunate in their multiple attempts to upgrade at cornerback lately. They brought in Jason David and it didn't work. Randall Gay hasn't really made much of a difference this year. Aaron Glenn hasn't been impressive either. At what point do we start to question who is really to blame? Just this week Payton admitted his faults with regards to the kicking game and he now realizes he should have just stuck with Carney. Has he learned from his mistakes? Perhaps he should just stick with what he's already got in the backfield and focus on making them better football players.
I don't think trying to snatch up every possible player who sounds good as soon as they become available is the way really good teams are created. That doesn't seem to work very well. See: Cowboys. It's risky. You know whats not risky? Producing talent from within your own organization. Getting the most out of all of your players. Drafting well. Creating the all-important yet often overlooked factor of chemistry. Those are some of the keys for a great team. Things happen - injuries, learning curves, bad chemistry, and just bad luck - that cripple weak teams created haphazardly. Teams built on solid foundations with proven systems can not only play consistently good football but endure those hardships that every teams faces throughout a season. The Saints are lacking that type of foundation.