From the Vault: Would Bengals Want Darrelle Revis over Leon Hall Now?

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Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall (29) returns an interception for a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the second quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Both Revis and Hall were cornerstones for their respective defensive coaches. Revis Island created the ability for Rex Ryan to design blitzes and unique coverages to take advantage of the numerical advantage isolated coverage could provide.

But, at the same time, Hall perhaps is an even more important cog for Mike Zimmer. His hard-nosed, hard-hitting, blue-collar attitude epitomizes Zimmer’s attitude. And, like Revis, Hall can play exemplary coverage anywhere on the field.

In addition, the two attitudes can be juxtaposed. Revis is justifiable in his hubris, engaging in verbal sparring with the verbose Richard Sherman, and that attitude was reflective of his coach, Ryan. His attitude with his new boss, Greg Schiano, will be interesting to see. Schiano is a no-nonsense, toe-the-line kind of guy, but one that still certainly understands Revis’ value.

Hall, on the other hand, barely has a presence in the media, at all. He keeps quiet and, unlike Revis, has never held out and has always rehabbed hard and returned more quickly from his Achilles tear than expected.

In addition, his workman like attitude extends to his role in the 2012 defense. By allowing Zimmer to bump him down to the slot in the nickel package, a role unfairly viewed as a demotion, Hall’s physicality and ability to mirror a two-way release, a highly underrated ability, allowed Adam Jones to have his best season ever, and Hall arguably had one of his best, as well.

And for the Bengals’ defense as a whole, no one can argue that Hall finally regaining his form and being fully healthy was not a large part of Cincinnati’s defense gaining steam throughout the season.

Undoubtedly, both players are elite in their own rights. And, in fact, Revis is certainly the superior player as a pure cornerback. It’s why I wanted him in stripes so badly. But, in the end, Hall was the player the Bengals needed and one of the reasons they are a dark horse Super Bowl contender in 2013.


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