That the Washington Redskins will see the fractured rib of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo as a target shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who understands the hidden game of football, and the fact that players with injuries are vulnerable on the field. However, what you don't usually see is a player who's completely unaware of the reality that the NFL is looking out for this kind of stuff.
That's where Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall comes in. When asked on Wednesday about the rib injury and punctured lung Romo suffered last Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Hall came right flat out and said it — if Romo plays Monday night, he will be in the bull's-eye.
"Absolutely. I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever's hurt," Hall said. "Romo's ribs—I'm going to be asking for some corner blitzes. If I know [Cowboys running back] Felix Jones' shoulder's hurt, I'm not going to cut him. I'm definitely going to try to hit him up high, so that's just part of it.
"If you know something's wrong with an opponent, you're going to try to target in on that. We're going to try to definitely get as many hits on that team as possible."
Um, yeah. All well and good to the realities of the game as we said — most players will admit off the record that opponents with obvious vulnerabilities will be attacked like injured deer in a pride of lions. Difference is, the lions aren't generally goofy enough to telegraph their intentions to reporters. And with the NFL more conscious than ever when it comes to injurious hits with malice aforethought, Hall has most likely put himself at an additional disadvantage in that any pop he puts on Romo will be watched with extreme prejudice.
When asked about his own approach, Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo was less specific. "Obviously you can think of it like that," said Orakpo. "If somebody gets injured you want to go after the injury. But we're going to just play our game. We're going to try to get Romo down when we can. We're not going to just target the ribs and forget about trying to get the ball out or forget about trying to get him down and just hit his ribs. Nah, we're going to do the best we can to get him down and get off the field."
Also on Wednesday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said that he thinks Romo is "doing fine, "He got knocked around a little bit on Sunday, but he's getting his rehab and hopefully he'll be ready to play for this ballgame. We'll take it day to day, [over] the next few days."
According to a report from ESPN's Ed Werder, if Romo does play against the Redskins, he will wear a protective vest made by Unequal Technologies of Kennett Square, Pa. The Cowboys contacted the company this week to inquire about protective technology for Romo and tight end Jason Witten, who is dealing with bruised ribs. The Redskins knocked Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick out of an early game in the 2010 season with a rib cartilage injury, and Vick has been wearing equipment from the company ever since.
When asked if Romo should go ahead and put a sticker on the rib that's hurt so everyone would know, Hall said that it wouldn't be necessary.
"He ain't got to. I already know where it is. We'll be all right. We find it. I'll find it."
And the NFL will find you, Mr. Hall. You can count on that.
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- DeAngelo Hall