Beast exclusive: A visit with Barry Cofield

October, 31, 2009
10/31/09
12:17
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora get a lot of attention, but the mainstay of the Giants' defensive line since '06 has been defensive tackle Barry Cofield. He was taken in the fourth round out of Northwestern in '06 and he immediately became a starter. In his four years with the club, he's started all but one game. On Friday, the Beast had an opportunity to spend about 15 minutes on the phone with Cofield.

Barry, you guys aren't used to two-game losing streaks. What's this feel like?

Cofield: There are certain expectations around here and we don't handle losing too well. It's not a normal thing to be dealing with, and on top of that, we're going to Philly. I know you've written about last season's phone incident [with Donovan McNabb] and it's not like that's the most respectable thing a guy can do. But it's not like we need that for motivation. We're always going to want to kill Donovan McNabb -- even if he's the nicest guy in the world.

 
 Larry French/Getty Images
 Barry Cofield is looking forward to Sunday’s matchup with the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Because of your close proximity to the Eagles, does this rivalry mean even more to you?

Cofield: I think [the defensive line] puts the Cowboys and the Eagles in the same category. I've played against the Eagles eight times in three years, so I'm pretty familiar with them. We know each other's schemes really well so you can just go out and play.

The Eagles have added some weapons to their offense. Do you see Andy Reid doing anything different than in the past?

Cofield: Andy Reid's still the braintrust. We'll see a lot of different formations and it's a team that has a lot of gadgets. But you're right, they have some new faces. They're exceptionally fast and they've also made a lot of changes up front. Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas were nasty guys. They were the cornerstones of that offense. Runyan was a mauler and some people thought he was dirty. Now they have a smaller guy in [Winston] Justice and converted tight end in Jason Peters on the left side.

How important will it be to get Chris Canty and Michael Boley back on the field?

Cofield: We look really forward to getting those guys back, but I really don't know when it will happen. [Tom] Coughlin doesn't tell us because he probably doesn't want me to leak it to guys like you.

Have you spent a lot of time preparing for the Eagles' Wildcat formation?

Cofield: They ran it with [Brian] Westbrook last year, so we've seen some of it before. We've gone back and studies some of the plays they ran in the preseason. If they don't use [the Wildcat] this week, they're not saving it for anyone else. This is the game you'd want to do it all.

What's the most important thing in mind when facing a quarterback like Donovan McNabb?

Cofield: With McNabb, you have to get him to the ground. You pretty much have to treat him like a running back and it's important to wrap up his legs and drag him to the ground. If you don't, he's strong enough to shake tackles.

Have you guys gone back and looked at that '07 game where Winston Justice had so much trouble against Umenyiora?

Cofield: Definitely. Our position coach Mike Waufle had breakdowns that go all the way back to '04. They have a new wrinkle here and there, but they still have their bread and butter. We don't focus so much on entire games. We look back at a lot of plays. But to get back to Justice, he's definitely come into his own since that '07 game.

What do you make of the Eagles' fans?

Cofield: They are some of the rudest fans that you'll meet. But they're almost some of the most passionate. We've had our team bus egged, we've been flipped off and we've seen some bare [rears]. It's a different kind of atmosphere, that's for sure.

Mosley: I know you think the Beast spends too much time praising Tuck, so I'm glad you were able to join us for a few minutes.

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