30 questions: Can Barry Cofield put last season’s uneven effort behind him?
With a new head coach, some intriguing free agents and a quarterback on the comeback trail, the 2014 Redskins are loaded with storylines. Between now and the start of training camp, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir will be examining the top 30 questions the Redskins face as they get ready for the season.
29—Which Barry Cofield will the Redskins get in 2013?
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has called Barry Cofield the best nose tackle in the NFL on more than one occasion. And you can certainly make the argument that Cofield belongs in the conversation …particularly when he’s healthy and on top of his game. Last season, though, Cofield endured some inconsistency, struggling early on because of an injury, disappearing from box scores altogether midway through the year and then returning to form—mostly—late. So which Cofield are the Redskins going to get this season?
El-Bashir: Cofield certainly had an interesting—and inconsistent—2013. He broke his right hand in the preseason and had to wear a protective club. As soon as it was removed in Week 4, he enjoyed a dominant performance in Oakland, notching two sacks and recovering a fumble. Then something unexpected happened. Over the next six games, the 30-year-old had goose eggs right across his stat line. No tackles, sacks, forced fumbles, batted passes, nothing. Cofield finished strong, however, recording five tackles, a stuff and a defended pass against the Giants in Week 17. But that lull from Week 5-10 can’t happen again, not from a co-captain who’s on the field as much as Cofield. The big concern right now is Cofield’s health as he recovers from hernia surgery that kept him out of OTAs and minicamp. He should be ready for camp and, if he is, I suspect he’ll benefit from the spark provided by Jason Hatcher’s arrival and enjoy a strong 2014.
Tandler: Some fans and analysts have been saying for the last few years that the Redskins should get a more traditional nose tackle, a big body weighing in the 350-pound range who can plug up the middle. For most of his time here, Cofield, who is listed at 303 lb., has been able to fend off those critics with strong play. But as Tarik noted he had some issues in midseason last year and the chatter has started up again. Cofield should be able to put those issues behind him and have a solid 2014 season. The Redskins new defensive emphasis, which is all about getting to the quarterback, plays right into Cofield’s strengths. Yes, he’s 30 now but D-linemen in general and nose tackles in particular are often able to be effective well past that age.