During Friday's preseason game, Leon Hall moved from his usual right-side cornerback, to the left side. During the first two possessions, wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, caught touchdown passes with Hall covering. Eventually Hall went back to the right side, where he's comfortable with Nate Clements on the left side.
Hall is going to have a bigger job than he's used to this season. Johnathan Joseph isn't on the team anymore and Hall is alone as the team's best corner. Gone are the days of a talented cornerback tandem of Hall and Joseph. Now we are left with Clements, an aging cornerback that is a step down from Joseph in pass coverage, and Hall, who will need to be better than ever as he'll go up against the best constantly and on both sides of the field.
Luckily for Hall, though, he should get used to playing on the left side of the field pretty easily. He did it 25 percent of the time over the past three years and 48 percent of last year's defensive snaps.
Thanks to Johnathan Joseph's less than stellar durability, Hall should get used to playing on the left side of the field because when Joseph was out, Hall switched sides. Over the last three seasons, Joseph has missed 12 games, leaving Hall to play the left side cornerback position in 12 of the 48 games, that's 25 percent of those games.
Last season, Joseph missed four games and during those games that he did play, he was far from being on the field on every snap. According to the mothership's Geoff Hobson, Joseph missed 48 percent of last season's defensive snaps. That was a lot of time for Hall on the left side.
Hall has three more games to figure it out and that's something that his coach, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, thinks he can do.
"He game up three catches in the game, his technique has to get better," Zimmer said. "He knows it. He's a great kid. He works his butt off. He's smart, he's tough, he's dependable, he's everything you really want. He just needs to work on technique things and I think he'll be fine."
Even if Hall had never played the left side of the field, I'm confident that he could figure it out and be successful there. That's the kind of talent he has. However, thanks to Joseph's inability to stay healthy for a whole season throughout the majority of his time with the Bengals, Hall has a head start.
There's no question in my mind that Hall can be just as good on one side of the field as he is on the other. It's funny how one player's minor flaw will help Hall be better faster. Even though Johnson and Burleson scored touchdowns on Hall last Friday, by the time the regular season rolls around, I wouldn't be surprised to see quarterbacks looking to receivers that aren't being covered by Hall, regardless of which side of the field he's on.
He can partly thank Joseph for that.