- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield is in the midst of his finest season as a professional.
He has two sacks, 23 tackles (six of which are for loss) and five quarterback hits. Cofield is one of the main reasons the Giants are tops in the NFL in total defense. Just ask Justin Tuck.
“Barry is probably our most consistent defensive lineman,” Tuck said. “Ever since he's been here I think he's missed one game and that was because the coach sat him down. So he's a tough kid, and he's just continuing to work on things and everyone knows about how good he is against the run, but this year he's definitely improved his pass rushing abilities.”
Cofield could be having this breakout season elsewhere. The Giants and New Orleans Saints were on the verge of completing a draft-day trade to send Cofield to the Saints for a second-round pick. But the trade fell through when Cofield and the Saints couldn’t reach an agreement on a contract extension.
Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, for one, is happy that Cofield couldn’t come to terms with the Saints.
“He’s probably the smartest defensive lineman – those other guys wouldn’t admit it, but he’s probably the smartest defensive lineman that we have in the room,” Fewell said. “He understands blocking schemes, he understands what the opponent is trying to do to him, he’s got that sixth sense and he’s able to make plays through not only his talent but that sixth sense, and he’s a guy that can bring the guys together, but he does it in his own way. It’s the Barry way.”