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Making Sense of the Redskins Barry Cofield Signing

Let's re-direct the conversation from Kellen Clemens to a player who will actually see the field, Barry Cofield

It's no secret the Redskins need major help on the defensive line. Ma'ake Kemoeatu was unable to overcome his Achilles and shoulder injuries, so changes needed to be made. The Redskins used a 2nd round pick on Defensive End, Jarvis Jenkins - a guy known at Clemson for selflessly taking on blockers to free up Da'Quan Bowers.

Obviously, the Redskins need a Nose Tackle, so they signed 27-year old Barry Cofield to help fill that hole (6-years, $36 million, $12.5 guaranteed). We are still in the dark on how he'll be used exactly since Haslett rotates players so often, but here's what we do know about Cofield from his time in New York.

  • He is not known for taking on double-teamsCofield said: "I know we all play the same position, but I think Reese feels that my stats are better because I only have a Guard to worry about, whereas Chris or Rocky takes on a guard & center most of the time." 
  • He desperately wanted to get paid - SB Nation Giants' blog is still very heated about how bad this trade is for D.C. The Giants made an offer better than Cofield's agent expected, yet he still chose D.C.

It is a bit concerning Canty was the one taking on all the double-teams. Cofield was an average player at best (10.5 sacks in 5 years). However, Cofield has only missed one game in his career and is known for being a high-motor guy that does what coaches want. A player that does what he's asked?!!? euphoria. Cofield's agent responded to the "He's a 4-3 NT!" talk:

"The thing about Barry is he played (nose tackle) in college and he's a big-body guy, so he's one of the few interior guys who can go either inside or outside. He has some versatility," said McCartney, a former director of personnel for the Eagles. "The one thing he hasn't had a chance to do a lot of is get up the field, and I think the Redskins' coaches did a good job of saying, 'We're going to utilize you in a variety of ways.'"

Last year we saw Phillip Daniels, Vonnie Holliday, and even Jeremy Jarmon at Nose Tackle. Haslett moves guys  around constantly for mismatches. Lavar Arrington played with Cofield for one year with Big Blue and had some knowledgeable insight on Haslett's mentality:

Jim Haslett's thought process: bring in durable, high-motor guys and get an athletic group of over achievers and let them tee off on centers all game long. I like it....This would mean lining these undersize nose guards up on angles and in gaps so that they can use their strengths - speed and quickness - to possibly have the same results as a space eater.

If a tackle is quick enough upfield and strong enough to stay in his approach lanes, it can disrupt the whole flow of the offensive line, picking off pullers and disrupting pass protections. This allows blitzing linebackers or secondaries to have one-on-one matchups or overloads that would create free rushers.

Defensive linemen are far and few in-between right now in Free Agency. We can't expect 1 draft pick and Cullen Jenkins to fix that. We need guys like Cofield. Cofield specializes in run defense, the #1 problem facing the Redskins defense. As Lavar pointed out, the physical abuse on a 3-4 NT (vs a 4-3 NT who is used to 1-1 matchups), is a legit concern. ("Rub some dirt on it, son"). With all that said, I don't think the Redskins grossly overpaid. That will be the case when he gets injured and has no trade value.

It's safe to say we need to re-evaluate this signing once the free agency period is over because Cofield will look a lot sexier if he has rotation help with Cullen Jenkins, etc.

Here's some game film of Cofield targeted. Granted, it's one game, but it's clear he would struggle solely as a 3-4 NT since he gets pushed around at times in a 4-3.