With the signings of defensive end Jason Hatcher and wide receiver, the Washington Redskins added two Pro Bowl-level talents that should bring improvement to both sides of the ball. But defensive lineman Barry Cofield sees the acquisitions as victories for additional reasons.
For one, the Redskins weakened two divisional rivals by signing Hatcher away from the Cowboys and Jackson from the Eagles. And because Dallas opted not to re-sign Hatcher, and Philadelphia cut Jackson, Cofield sees both as highly motivated and extremely knowledgeable of their former teams.
“It’s always great to be able to get a division rival and take someone from their roster that was big for them and bring him to your home,” Cofield said. “That’s almost a double-whammy on that part.”
Cofield knows first-hand, having signed with Washington in 2010 after spending the first five seasons of his career with the New York Giants.
He recalls that first year with Washington, he and defensive end Stephen Bowen (who the same year joined Washington after five years in Dallas) were able to help the Redskins’ coaches and teammates as they looked for ways to exploit weaknesses.
“I definitely think it matters,” Cofield said. “You leaving a team – I mean, it’s a lot of parity in the league now, so it’s not like you’ve got one guys leaving a team and they give you the entire game plan and you can beat them for years to come. Some of our guys go to other teams, and it’s not like we’re going to throw in the towel. But you have to really capitalize on it, especially with those position groups. It really matters. I think I was able to provide a lot of insight on my former teammates, my former D-line and former offensive linemen I played against every week. Bowen was the same way, and I think Hatcher will bring that, too. DeSean will bring that to our receiving group and bring information about the Philadelphia DBs and their offense. So there is a bit more that goes into it.”
Hatcher and Jackson both have said that they do expect high emotions the first time they face their former teams. But they say they expect to have the same motivation against Dallas and Philadelphia as they would have against any team.
Cofield – again speaking from experience – predicts his new teammates will indeed feel a little something extra.
“There’s that chip that you carry on your shoulder when you play against your old team,” Cofield explained. “It’s not always that you left a bad situation. It’s just that – like I’ve always said – it’s like playing against your brother in your backyard. You love him, but you don’t want to lose to anybody so you can have those bragging rights. So, having guys from within the division, having that hatred. And for me, my feelings toward the Cowboys and Giants have been built over the years. DeSean has feelings within this division that I’m sure are pretty strong, just having played against them twice a year. You can’t buy, you can’t replicate it. So, taking that division rival and bringing him over to your team is a positive, I think.”