One of the key matchups to watch in this Sunday's game vs. Carolina will be Redskins' cornerback DeAngelo Hall covering wide receiver Steve Smith.
The two have faced off several times before. They have a history that dates back to 2004 when Hall played for the Atlanta Falcons.
Hall was drafted by the Falcons in 2004 and played there until 2007. Smith has been with the Panthers since he was drafted in 2001. Hall and Smith faced off twice a year in NFC South matchups.
Once good friends, their relationship turned sour during a game in 2007. Hall was flagged for three penalties while covering Smith on one drive. One of the penalties was for unneccessary roughness after he jammed Smith hard at the line of scrimmage.
Hall joined the Redskins in 2008 so he sees less of Smith now.
The last time the Redskins played Carolina was on Oct. 11, 2009 in Charlotte, N.C. Hall held his own against the explosive Smith, allowing five catches for 65 yards, but the Panthers held on to win 20-17.
Smith drew scrutiny last year after he posted just 46 catches for 554 yards in 14 games. Had he lost a step? Playing with a strong-armed rookie quarterback in Cam Newton has apparently helped rejuvenate his career.
"In this new offense, they want to see if I can play, if I can still run," Smith said. "They've taken the reins off and I'm allowed to run these routes and get downfield. It shows that I'm able to work in a new system."
Smith has 32 catches for 675 yards and three touchdowns through the first six games of the season.
Hall knows all too well Smith's play-making ability.
"He's right back in the thick of things, he's pound for pound one of the best out there," Hall said. "He's been making a lot of plays downfield, making guys miss showing that toughness, that ability to run after the catch. He's definitely going to pose a problem for the secondary."
While it has been a couple of seasons since Hall has faced off against the Panthers' offense, he is ready for the challenge.
"I'm definitely looking forward to matching up with those guys, I can't wait to get back on the field with them. It's going to be a good game," Hall said.