The Redskins' final preseason outing last Thursday was something of a marathon, three hours and 41 minutes to be precise. One of the best things to happen from the Redskins' point of view took place close to midnight, after Jason Campbell and Kevin Dyson sparked a late rally.
John Hall stepped up with a clutch 46-yard field as regulation time expired. That the Ravens would go on to win 26-20 in overtime did little to diminish Hall's kick.
It was a very good sign for the Redskins as they look ahead to the Sept. 11 season-opener versus the Chicago Bears at FedExField.
One of many Redskins coming back off 2004 injuries, Hall once developed the reputation for being one of the league's top clutch kickers. He reminded everyone of that fact when he hit that 46-yarder at Baltimore.
Hall has eight game-winning field goals in his career.
Said Hall: "I need to be put in a lot of different situations in order to get ready for the regular season. I'll take every opportunity I can get.
"As a team, we're hitting our stride and we're playing hard. I think there are a lot of good things to come for this team."
Hall isn't one to shy away from contact. In fact, he made six special teams tackles last season and has to rank among the best NFL athletes at his position.
But Hall knows his aggressiveness as a tackler is not what has kept him in the NFL for nine seasons. "Consistency is what's most important when it comes to field-goal kicking," Hall, the 6-3, 230-pound former New York Jet, has said.
Hall and Randy Thomas came over from the Jets in that 2003 off-season signing spree. Two more Jets, Laveranues Coles and Chad Morton, joined them in coming to the Redskins but have since departed.
While healthy last season, Hall was perfect on 13 extra points and seven field goal attempts from inside 40 yards.
Overall in 2004, he was 8-for-11 on his field goals, over the course of eight games. His ailing groin is healed entering 2005, so he's looking to have an outstanding season for the Redskins.
Entering the 2005 campaign, Hall's finest moment as a Redskin came in the 2003 season opener versus his former team, the Jets. He was 3-for-3, with field goals of 55, 22 and 33 yards, in a 16-13 Washington win. The 33-yarder came in the game's final minute, securing the victory.
As a rookie with the Jets in 1997, Hall booted 28 field goals, his career high. His most memorable game was in 2001, when he nailed a 53-yarder to give the New York Jets a 24-22 win over the Oakland Raiders. The win secured a playoff spot for the Jets.
Hall has broken the 100-point barrier seven times in his NFL career, most recently with the Redskins in 2003, when he finished with 103 points.
He'll have Ethan Albright back as his long snapper but in terms of his holder there will be a new teammate to work with on special teams.
Tom Tupa, last year's holder for Hall, has been placed on IR with a back injury. Tupa's replacement, first-year punter Andy Groom, becomes Hall's holder on field goals for 2005. Groom did the chores for Hall's game-tying effort against the Ravens in the preseason finale.