Mike Shanahan: Adding Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen is ‘how you build your football team’

Mike Shanahan believes that with the acquisitions of Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen the Washington Redskins have landed two dominant, versatile additions to their defensive line.

The two free agent acquisitions were on hand as observers at training camp Saturday morning, studying the defensive line schemes of their teammates on the field. They can practice themselves beginning next Thursday, once the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified.

Cofield, a defensive tackle who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Giants, on Tuesday agreed to a six-year, $36 million deal with $12.5 million of it guaranteed. Two days later, Bowen – a defensive end that spent the first five seasons of his career with Dallas – agreed to a six-year, $27 million deal with $12.5 million guaranteed.

Cofield is expected to play nose tackle in the base 3-4 front and also can play end. Bowen will play right end.

When asked about the two additions, here’s what Shanahan had to say:

On Bowen:

“Playing Dallas, we got a look at him and saw him as being a very dominatant defensive tackle/defensive end. He has a lot of talent, lot of quickness, speed. He’s a young guy and has a lot of character. I thought he played as hard as any player on their football team and he was a guy we had targeted, and a guy we’re pleased about.

Of Cofield:

“I thought he was the bell cow of their defensive line. He was a guy that was in the game the majority of the time, and you could tell he was a team leader. He played harder than any player on the team. You could tell that he took so much pride in everything he did. Very similar to Bowen. I said if we could get them, I think we could really help our football team. You get two guys who are 27 years old, two guys who are natural leaders, and that is how you build your football team. You build it up front on the offensive and defensive lines. We have a couple guys that I believe are future team captains and can lead.”

Bowen and Cofield also will serve as mentors for rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins (second-rounder out of Clemson) and rookie nose tackle Chris Neild (seventh-rounder out of West Virginia).

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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