Nose tackle Barry Cofield said that from what he has seen of the defensive scheme that the Redskins will use in 2014 it looks like the front will be more aggressive in getting after the opposing quarterback. That is, as long as they execute the scheme as it’s designed.
Jim Haslett remains the defensive coordinator. But one of the themes of offseason so far is how Haslett’s aggressive tendencies were “handcuffed” by having former head coach Mike Shanahan looking over his shoulder and pulling back the reigns. The team has not ranked better than 13th in yards allowed and no better than 21st in points allowed in the four years that Shanahan was the head coach. With Shanahan now gone, Jay Gruden will give Haslett much more freedom to run things the way he sees fit. In short, the defense should be more assertive.
Cofield has been with the Redskins for three of those years and, in discussing the addition of former Cowboy Jason Hatcher to the defensive line, he contracted the Redskins’ approach with the one used in Dallas.
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“It was almost the opposite end of the spectrum from what we were doing here,” he said. “With the way Dallas was playing with getting upfield aggressively, really disruptive to the backfield. Their whole defense was predicated on an aggressive front while we were a physical front that was tasked with keeping the linebackers clean and allow them to make plays.”
He said that keeping linebackers clean will remain part of their jobs but that they want to get in the backfield more but that would depend on how well the scheme is working.
“I can only hope so,” he said when asked if the defense would be more aggressive overall this year. “That’s where we’re starting now. Realistically, it’s about how it works. You go in with the best intentions but if you’re not getting it done, you feel like you’re hurting the team, you need to make changes here and there to get pressure, to help in coverage or whatever it may be.”
“It’s really going to come down to execution. That is the plan.”