Settle down you Negative Nancys out there, Chicago Bears’ rookie corner Deiondre’ Hall did his job correctly on those two end zone plays. You know the two plays I’m talking about. The Denver Broncos were down inside the red zone early in the 2nd quarter of Thursday night’s game and Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian wanted to test the young defensive back from Northern Iowa.
But Hall was up to the task, knocking away consecutive passes to Bronco wide out’s Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor on 2nd and 3rd down, forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal.
It’s a common misconception that Hall had poor technique by not getting his head around to locate the ball, but the way Hall played the two passes was textbook. “You hear that ‘ball, ball, ball’ call — that’s when that sense kicks in.” Hall told the Chicago Sun Times, “You’ve got to know [to] just stay patient and wait — either get the head around or play through the hands. And I just decided to play through the hands both times.”
Social media, sports radio and our very own comment section, was full of criticism of Hall’s technique, saying he should have swung his head around to make a play on the ball.
And I get it. This is one of those ‘perception vs reality’ things that is always talked about. We hear it so often, ‘he has to turn his head,’ ‘his ball skills are poor,’ or ‘he has bad field awareness,’ that I understand when a fan or even an analyst makes the common mistake to call what Hall did face-guarding. In fact, there’s no such thing in the NFL, face-guarding isn’t a penalty.
What Hall did is only pass interference if Hall makes contact with the receiver. Here’s a couple snippets from the NFL rule book;
Actions that constitute defensive pass interference include but are not limited to:
(a) Contact by a defender who is not playing the ball and such contact restricts the receiver’s opportunity to make the catch.
Actions that do not constitute pass interference include but are not limited to:
(a) Incidental contact by a defender’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball, or neither player is looking for the ball. If there is any question whether contact is incidental, the ruling shall be no interference.
Hall has to read the receiver’s eyes and hands, then make a play on the ball. If he turns his head around, that might be the split second the wide out needs to go up and snatch the ball out of the air.
Still don’t believe me?
Here are a few tweets from ex-NFL player Matt Bowen, one of the better Xs&Os writers around.
Nice finish by Hall. Play the pocket. Get the ball out. That's two in a row from the rookie vs. the fade route. #Bears— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) August 12, 2016
Don't want the CB to look back for the ball in that situation...allows WR to separate. Just play through the hands. https://t.co/lcPmJZimOA— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) August 12, 2016
Not if the CB avoids contact & plays through the hands of the WR to locate the ball. That's good technique. https://t.co/aPmSMdPWIm— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) August 12, 2016
The Bears had a lot of issues during their 1st preseason game, the technique from Deiondre’ Hall wasn’t one of them.