Film study has been a “little weird” this week for Washington Redskins’ nose tackle Barry Cofield.
For the first time in his six-year career, Cofield is studying the guys in blue. In July, after five straight seasons with the New York Giants – they selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 draft – Cofield left the Giants to sign a six-year, $36 million with the Washington Redskins.
Cofield has shifted from defensive tackle in the Giants’ 4-3 defense to nose tackle in Washington’s defense, and on Sunday, Cofield’s first game in a Redskins uniform will be played against his former team.
“I’m excited. Like I said, I definitely am looking forward to it,” said Cofield, who last season recorded 54 tackles and four sacks for the Giants. “Coming into a new defense, I had a lot to learn and had to put my excitement on hold. But now we’re officially starting, I’m focused, the whole team is focused and we’re looking forward to starting a new era of Redskins’ football.”
Cofield’s last game as a Giant was a 17-14 victory over the Redskins at FedEx Field when he recorded four tackles. At the time, he didn’t have any idea that his 2011 season would start on the same field, but on the opposite sideline.
“I didn’t know. I knew I had done the right things on the field to have opportunities to play everywhere,” Cofield said. “I thought there’d be some offers, and the Redskins came with a great one. I love the scheme we have, I love the team and I’m excited about 2011.”
The Redskins targeted Cofield to play nose tackle, which defensive coordinator Jim Haslett calls the most important position in his 3-4 system.
Cofield hasn’t played nose tackle on a full-time basis since college, and with the Giants, he lined up over center only a handful of times. But Cofield’s former coach expects him to have as much impact for the Redskins as he did for the Giants.
“He can play in any system,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon. “It’s always a blow when you have a player of that quality that you can’t keep in your program. Barry was a very outstanding player for us for a lot of years. Very smart, very efficient, very strong. Did everything you asked him to do. He was a great anticipator, so it’s always a blow if you lose a player of that quality, but it is what it is.”
Cofield has a degree of familiarity with the Giants’ offense from having gone up against it in practice everyday, but he has noticed that New York has made some modifications. So he has studied for the Giants just like he would any other opponent. Cofield does plan to use his knowledge of his former fellow defensive lineman to help Washington’s offensive players.
“Every weakness that they have I’m going to share with my new teammates,” Cofield said with a smile. He said, however, that he remains close to his former teammates off the field, but that those friendships will be set aside for a couple of hours on Sunday.
“I don’t expect too much interaction pregame,” Cofield said. “After the game I’ll hug everybody. Everybody on the roster gets a hug. But leading up to the game and the 60 minutes during the game, I don’t expect much interaction. It’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be physical, a game in front of our home fans, and it’s going to be a fight until the clock strikes zero.”