JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09: Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals stays loose between plays against the Jacksonville Jaguars during play at EverBank Field on October 9, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Cincinnati won 30-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Bengals veteran cornerback Leon Hall, recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered in last November's matchup against the Steelers, expects to return in time for training camp. After missing out on his second trip to the playoffs last season, Hall is eager to get back to work. He recently joined Cincinnati radio personality, Mo Egger, on 1530 Homer to talk about his recovery and other things Bengals-related. When Hall was asked how close he was to returning, he sounded confident:
"I feel pretty close. I don’t have a percentage for you but as far as the work that I’m doing and how well I’m doing it, I feel pretty close. Obviously it’s a little different from doing my drills on the side and being on the actual football field with 10 other players. I feel confident that I will be able to do it. I’m going to be smart about it but at the same time, training camp is my goal and I’m going to stick to it."
If Hall is not ready to go at the beginning of the regular season, the Bengals could turn to first round corner, Dre Kirkpatrick. Whether Hall is ready to start the season or not, Hall expects Kirkpatrick to play a role on the team this season:
" I think he should be very good for us. He had a little injury earlier on but he was able to bounce back from it and play pretty well throughout mini-camp so everybody here, especially in the DB circles, are counting on him to come in and play well and he showed he can. We're excited about him and he's getting the playbook which not everyone can do so it's great."
Hall knows that if the Bengals are going to win a playoff game this season, the defense will have to step up a notch:
"Part of it is being consistent. There’s always those games, even before I got hurt, there were games that we had where we weren’t as solid as we needed to be. The same thing I noticed at the end of the year. Sometimes for whatever reason we’re not as consistent as we need to be. It sounds cliché but it’s the truth. You just have to be real consistent to be one of the best defenses in the NFL."
Hall has high expectations for the defense, thinking that they can be the best in the league:
"We want to be the best defense in the league. We don’t have a number for how many yards or whatever it is but for that given year, we want to be the best defense out there. Total defense we want to be number one and scoring defense also."
If Hall is able to practice in training camp and feels healthy enough to start game one of the regular season, the Bengals will have a difficult decision to make. Will veteran Nate Clements start opposite Hall? Will the rookie Kirkpatrick be ready to start? How about veterans Terence Newman and Jason Allen? Will Adam 'PacMan' Jones have a job? The cornerback position battle will be right up there with the receiver battle for the most interesting competition to watch in training camp.