Defensive lineman Barry Cofield sees accountability and commitment as the keys to overcoming the Redskins’ loss of London Fletcher as team leader.
Fletcher for seven seasons served as the Redskins’ field general and vocal leader in the locker room. But he has retired, leaving a sizable void.
Cofield, quarterback Robert Griffin III, left tackle Trent Williams, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive end Stephen Bowen served as co-captains with Fletcher last season. It’s expected that those players will take on larger leadership roles this season.
Cofield has confidence in the group’s ability to fulfill those requirements, but he said he and his fellow veterans must do much more than come up with inspiring speeches.
“I really believe in personal accountability,” Cofield said on Monday. “I think leading by example is one of the biggest things that you can do. I think that people are making a big deal about us losing London because they see him giving impassioned speeches on Sunday. But I think the biggest thing that London did was really just the way he prepared and the efficiency he brought to work every day. His age, with his experience, you have no reason not to respect that, and that’s why he was such a great leader.”
Cofield continued, “I think if all of our older guys, our experienced guys, the guys that players naturally look up to, carry themselves the right way, being true professionals, I think that will trickle down, and will infect the whole locker room in a positive way. When you hear leadership, you don’t need guys walking around and cracking the whip. You just have to have the old vets and the guys that we trust do things the right way: Play well, prepare themselves properly and be true professionals and that will all take care of themselves, and I think we have that.”