Although Barry Cofield was frequently praised by Redskins coaches last season, the veteran defensive lineman acknowledged Friday that he was disappointed in his 2011 campaign and enters this season expecting more from himself on the field and in the locker room.Honestly, I go back and review myself last year and Ive played a lot better than that, Cofield said. I wasnt happy with the way I played.Cofield finished fifth on the team in sacks with three and 15th in solo tackles with 15. At times, though, he conceded that was not completely comfortable lining up at a new position, in a new scheme he had yet to fully grasp.By the time I left New York, everything was second nature. People had to catch up with me, said Cofield, who signed with the Redskins as a free agent in July 2011. Last year, I felt like I was playing catch up.The lockout and being a free agent contributed to his trepidation. So did the unexpected position switch he had to make; before signing in Washington, Cofield had spent his entire five-season NFL career lining up as a tackle in the Giants 4-3 scheme.Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett asked him to play nose tackle in his 3-4 base alignment.I didnt know if I was going to go to a team where I was going to be getting up the field, or I was going to be a 3-4 end, a 3-4 nose, he said. I had no idea, so I didnt know how to train. I was just trying to be in shape.But now, he continued, knowing what kind of blocking schemes Im going to see, I was able to take a different approach this offseason.That approach involved working his core and leg muscles. The team roster now has him at 318 lb., 12 pounds heavier than last years listing.It also involved studying Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton on film.Hes kind of the godfather of the nose tackle position as we play it today, Cofield said of Hampton, a five-time Pro Bowl selection. He did some things better than me, and there are some things that I can do with my natural ability, with my athleticism, things I can bring to the position that not a lot of other guys do. So its just getting better at everything and have everything be second nature.Although creating havoc in the backfield isnt a nose tackles primary responsibility in Hasletts playbook that would be keeping middle linebacker London Fletcher clean the coaching staff has incorporated some tweaks that should complement Cofields athleticism and allow him to make a few more big plays this fall.Were doing some things differently up front that are hopefully going to get the nose tackle some one-on-ones, to be able to push the pocket and harass the quarterback and even get some sacks, he said. Last year, I had two three sacks, thats not far off for a nose tackle, but with the skill set I have, I can improve. I want to get a couple more.On the field, however, isnt the only place where Cofield wants to be more assertive this season. He also wants to make a stronger impact in the locker room.During his time in New York, Cofield was considered among the teams most respected leaders. Now hes growing into the role here.That changed by the end of last year, Cofield said. I actually spoke to the team when we played that second Giants game, and I felt right then, the words I said, the positive response I got from the guys, they wanted to hear more from me. I feel like I am in a position where guys respect me and look up to me at this point.
C Spencer Long (concussion)—He missed the second half of the Cardinals game and has been in the concussion protocol this week. John Sullivan will start in his place.
S Will Blackmon (concussion)—Blackmon also has been in the concussion protocol and has not practiced all week. Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho will handle the safety position.
DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the Arizona game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.
G Shawn Lauvao (groin)—It was a surprise to see him watching practice on Wednesday as no injury had been reported for him. But he came in for treatment and did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. If he can’t go, Arie Kouandjio will start at left guard.
OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Fortunately Trent Williams is back from his suspension; Nsekhe was the starter while he was out. If Nsekhe is out, Vinston Painter will be the swing backup tackle.
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—After missing last week’s game with a third-degree separation of the AC join in his left shoulder, Reed was able to practice on a limited basis this week. If range of motion is still an issue he could sit or play very limited snaps. If it’s a matter of pain tolerance he will be a full go.
G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Eagles.
DE Chris Baker (ankle)—Baker missed some practice this week but he should be able to go against the Eagles although his level of effectiveness will bear watching.
Also questionable for the Redskins: DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Derek Carrier (knee)
WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) and RB Ryan Matthews (knee) were full in practice all week and it seems likely that the Eagles’ leading receiver and rusher, respectively, will play on Sunday. Up in the air is the status of WR Dorial Green-Beckham (oblique), who missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) will miss his third straight game. He had a rough start in his NFL debut against the Redskins in Week 6 but he remained the starter until getting injured in Week 11. Since then the Eagles have moved LG Alan Barbre to right tackle with Stefen Wisniewski going in at left guard.
Ryan Grant generates a ton of reaction from Redskins fans - and it's not always postive. The third-year wideout sat down with JP Finlay to talk about the ups and downs of life in the NFL.
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