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Redskins’ Hall a Man at Work

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Redskins’ Hall a Man at Work

In the final weeks before grind of training camp, you generally find NFL players in Bermuda, by a lake, sleeping in at home, hanging out in Las Vegas or engaging in just about any activity that does not involve a football.

But not DeAngelo Hall. The Washington Redskins cornerback was in Minnesota last week attending a camp put on by Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The focus of the session was wide receivers. The instructors were Jerry Rice and Cris Carter and the attendees included Brandon Marshall of Denver (for the moment), Tampa Bay's Mark Clayton, and the Packers' Greg Jennings.

Here is what Hall told Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated.com about his attendance:

"Larry hit me up a couple of days ago and was like, 'Hey, let's get back to old times,' " says Hall, who trained with Fitzgerald in Florida in 2005, when each earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. "I was like, hell yeah. It's good to have players out here who can definitely make you work and get you better. That's why when he ran down the list of some of the guys that were coming, I was like, I'm there."

Hall does not have a reputation for being a particularly hard worker. Not at all lazy, mind you, but certainly one who one would think would be among the 99-plus percent of NFL players who are taking it easy now rather than among the small minority who are at work honing their craft.

It doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to be the first free agent that the Redskins have signed to make a return trip to the Pro Bowl but it does indicate that he's not content to sit on his laurels after signing that fat contract earlier this year.

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Fumbles not bouncing the Redskins' way this year

Fumbles not bouncing the Redskins' way this year

As Kirk Cousins likes to say, each season is its own entity. Sometimes things that went well for you in one 16-game stretch in one year won’t got well during a 16-game stretch in subsequent years. And that is the case with the Redskins and recovering opponents’ fumbles.

In 2015 the Redskins were scooping up loose balls all over the place. Opponents put it on the carpet 36 times and the Redskins recovered a league-leading 16 of them. Doing the math, they recovered the ball 44.4 percent of the time.

This year, with the same defensive coordinator and many of the same players on defense, it’s a different story. Through 12 games, the Redskins have forced 18 fumbles and recovered seven. Projecting it out over a 16-game season, they are on pace to force 24 fumbles and recover 9, a 37.5 percent recovery rate.

However, the decrease in the rate of fumble recoveries has not hurt the Redskins as much as you might think. This year they are on pace score about as many points after fumbles as they did last year.

In 2015 they started the average drive following a fumble recovery at their own 46. They drove for two touchdowns and three field goals. The Redskins returned one fumble for a touchdown so they got a total of 30 points off of fumbles.

This year they started at their own 36 on average and they have scored two touchdowns and two field goals on drives and they have no fumble returns for touchdowns. With 20 points through 12 games, they are on pace to score 27 points because of recovering fumbles.

One thing that must be noted here is that the effect of recovering fumbles goes beyond just scoring points after doing so. Even if the offense goes three and out after a fumble recovery the other team’s drive got stopped and after the punt field position gets flipped.

Also, timing is everything. The fumble that went out of the end zone following the Ravens’ interception in Week 5 saved seven points in a six-point Redskins win. Josh Norman’s forced fumble in the fourth quarter against the Packers didn’t have quite the same impact as the one in the Ravens game but it did help them wrap up an important win.

And we are looking at a small sample size so the projections could change in a major way. If the Redskins recover two fumbles on Sunday and turn them into 10 points they would be closer to last year’s pace for recoveries and ahead of 2015 for points off of fumble recoveries.

In any case, that the Redskins are recovering fewer fumbles this year than last should not be surprising. As the stat guys like to say, fumble recoveries aren’t “sticky” from year to year. Teams that recover a lot of fumbles one year don’t tend to repeat it year after year. There is a lot of luck involved; nowhere is the bounce of the oblong ball more decisive than when hits the ground.