News & Notes: Barry Cofield, LaRon Landry, The Green Lantern, Quarterbacks And More
By ZAC BOYER | firstname.lastname@example.org
ASHBURN – Discussions with a few of Barry Cofield’s former assistant coaches convinced Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett that the 6-foot-4, 306-pound defensive lineman would be a decent fit as a nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme.
They told him that Cofield, who spent the last five seasons as a defensive tackle with the New York Giants, would likely make a good fit. He has a strong work ethic and great leadership skills, they said, and was powerful enough to be a force against the running game.
What nobody knew at the time was just how well-prepared Cofield would be in the passing game as well.
“I never have seen a nose that was a great pass-rusher,” Haslett said. “Barry’s powerful within his frame, but he’s a little wiry. He can slip and get off blocks too and get to the quarterback. It’s kind of unique how he does it and how he plays it.”
Cofield, who has started every game since being drafted out of Northwestern in 2006, signed a six-year, $36 million deal shortly after the lockout ended – at the time considered a bit higher than market value and a slight risk because of offseason shoulder surgery.
He had career highs with 54 tackles, four sacks and four deflections last season in New York, but was deemed too pricy for the Giants, who drafted over him.
Cofield said the ability to rush the passer was something he learned during his time with the Giants. He knows that if he can combine what he learned there with his new responsibilities on the Redskins, it could help tighten up the defense as a whole.
“I just try to bring that dimension of what I learned to the traditional nose tackle spot,” Cofield said. “You bring that together and it’s like a hybrid – it’s a new dimension that I’m trying to bring to our defense.”
- Strong safety LaRon Landry is aiming for the final preseason game next week against Tampa Bay as his return. He was expected to be cleared Sunday to return to practice but experienced a setback when he pulled his right hamstring while doing sprints before Friday’s preseason game at Indianapolis. “I was finished [working out] and everything, celebrating that I was done and felt a little pop, and I was like, ‘Oh [shoot]. Holy [cow]. I just pulled my [freakin’] hamstring.’ It was kind of upsetting.” Landry, out since the middle of last season with microtears in his left Achilles’ tendon, said the timing is rough, but it’s for the best. “I’m a little upset, but it happens,” he said. “I’d rather it happen right now than going into the season.” Reed Doughty will assume Landry’s place against the Ravens on Thursday.
- Shanahan reiterated that a decision on the starting quarterback, either John Beck or Rex Grossman, for Thursday’s game against Baltimore had not been made. The player who will start the game is to be informed tonight, but “both of them will get to play. It doesn’t really matter who starts.” It’s a valid point, and there’s too much importance being tied to the starting role, especially if, say, Beck plays the first two series and Grossman plays the next six. That’s not likely, of course, but it’s still worth noting.
- I had a chance to finally ask Tim Hightower about the Green Lantern shirt he’s been wearing throughout practice. It was clear during the game against the Colts when the sleeves were hanging down midway past Hightower’s bicep. Hightower, who said he’s just “a kid at heart,” was taken by the movie’s message of one’s will against fear and decided that’s how he was going to approach this season.
- The only currently injured player who has a chance at playing in Thursday’s game is defensive end Adam Carriker, who is still recovering from blisters on his heels. Carriker rode the stationary bike at practice on Tuesday. “If he’s not able to go full speed, I’ll get him some playing time against Tampa” next week, Shanahan said. If he can’t play, Jarvis Jenkins, who started at left defensive end for Carriker against the Colts, would get the nod again.
- Hey, did you hear about the earthquake? It took me nearly two hours to get from Ashburn to Washington for the introduction of the Washington Nationals’ top draft picks – and I was in the car when the earthquake hit, so I didn’t even feel it. I do remember about a dozen years ago when a small rumble passed through Connecticut at about 7 a.m. and woke me up. The traffic in and around Washington was brutal, but thankfully, there’s no report of any damage thus far. The lack of time is the reason for the sparse updates today, but we’ll be back at it tomorrow after the Redskins’ Welcome Home Luncheon.