The Washington Post

Redskins could use Barry Cofield in a number of ways


Barry Cofield brought down Redskins running back Keiland Williams last season with the Giants. Now, he’ll be making tackles in a Redskins uniform. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The one season I spent with the New York Giants in 2006 was Cofield’s rookie year. He’s quiet and unassuming, a character guy whom I like for this team. He also was part of the Giants’ Super Bowl team in 2007-08, so he comes here with winning experience.

Cofield looks deceptively compact, even though he’s listed at 6 feet 4 and 306 pounds. But he’s not built like a nose guard; he’s much smaller and better built.

He is athletic and tremendously strong, so if the Redskins would be able to line him up at nose guard for a couple plays at a time, I’m thinking. This maybe goes back to defensive coordinator 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.

This, in theory, is the same thing that a giant space eater does when he grabs a center and pushes him into the backfield. If this is what Haslett is banking upon, my biggest concern is how will he address the downhill running game, where a nose tackle will be directly attacked?

I’m not sure if undersize guys will be able to hold up week in and week out, but stay tuned: There will be more signings to come.

Leave your comments here and come chat with me on Twitter: @LaVarArrington.

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