Barry Cofield says defense ‘isn’t playing well enough to win right now’

September 23, 2013

Lions running back Joique Bell dives into the end zone past Redskins linebacker Darryl Tapp (54) and cornerback David Anderson (39) in the first half Sunday (Richard Lipski/The Associated Press)

Defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Monday that the defense of the Washington Redskins “isn’t playing well enough to win right now.”

The Redskins are 0-3 and have surrendered 1,464 yards. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the most yards that an NFL team has yielded in the first three games of a season since 1966.

Cofield was asked a question Monday about the team’s quarterback, Robert Griffin III, but answered by talking about the play of the defense.

“I mean, the defense isn’t playing well enough to win right now,” Cofield said. “I don’t believe that, statistically or as far as making big plays and really helping the team win. I’m really focused on the defense. I don’t think we’re playing well enough to worry about anybody else.”

Cofield said the defense isn’t making the proper adjustments during games but he faulted the team’s players, not the coaching staff, for that.

“I don’t think we’re adjusting well,” Cofield said. “I don’t think we’re counter-punching. I think a lot of times we’ll throw a punch and then the [opposing] team will adjust, they’ll counter-punch, and then we don’t counter-punch again. It’s a game of swings. It’s a game of momentum. And I feel like we’ll get off to a fast start and a team will adjust, kind of reacting to what we’ve done, and we don’t react well when we’re asked to make changes. The coaching staff does their best. They’ll let us know what’s going on and ask us to change here and there. And I don’t feel like we’ve done a good job doing that.”

Some fans and media observers have begun to question the job security of defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. But Cofield said Monday the defense’s struggles are not a coaching issue.

“It’s always on the players,” Cofield said. “I’ll never blame it on anybody but us. And I’ll never give the coaches a ton of credit when things are going great. But I’ll never give them a ton of blame. Obviously they do a great job. They work tirelessly. They spend hours in this building when we’re all home and relaxing, really building a great plan. If we go out and execute it, I think we can beat anybody. And we haven’t done that yet.”

Asked how close the Redskins are to turning things around, Cofield said: “You never really know. I don’t know. We’ve just got to come out and execute. We’ve got to come out and play well. I really think we’re one win away. I can say that much, one win away from getting a lot of confidence, one win away from hopefully getting on the right track. But that win’s not gonna come easy.”

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesday.

What’s ahead:

● Mike Shanahan speaks with reporters momentarily.

● Sunday’s opponent, the Oakland Raiders, plays later at Denver on Monday Night Football.

More on the Redskins and NFL:

Chester: RGIII good enough to win | Garcon: He’s still not himself

D.C. Sports Bog: Joique Bell’s broken tackles | More Bog

Five observations from Redskins’ loss to the Lions | Snap counts

The Early Lead: Cardinals’ Johnson loses part of finger | More NFL

Boswell: RGIII just a bit different from ’12 | The Takeaway: A long way from winning

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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Mike Jones · September 23, 2013

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