ASHBURN, Va. -- He called the first half a perfect storm working against them. That’s why Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield is confident things will be different for his defense in their second meeting against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
“If we’re not a better defense out there,” he said. “I’ll be shocked.”
It helps Cofield that he won’t have to play with a club covering his left hand, preventing him from using both hands. He missed one tackle because of it, though he still penetrated one time with a swim move.
Cofield didn’t realize the impact the club had on his game.
“After losing the club I realized how much it affected me,” he said. “When I was playing I didn’t feel it was an excuse. I wasn’t bogged down by it, but after losing it and being able to progress and using less tape, it’s a good thing. It should allow me to be better [against] specific blocks.”
“It wasn’t the difference between us winning and losing,” he said.
Cofield said Philadelphia’s tempo prevented them from making necessary first-half adjustments. The Redskins’ offense didn’t help with two turnovers and a safety in the first half.
“There was a lot that went into it,” Cofield said. “It was a perfect storm for us to give up massive stats early in the game. We’ve made strides. We’re definitely a better defense than we were in Week 1.”
Philadelphia has not played at the same pace in subsequent games as it did in the first 30 minutes of the opener.
“Other teams looked at us to find out what not to do,” Cofield said. “We were the sacrificial lambs for the league for the first 30 minutes. Ever since then it’s been more reasonable because teams have a bigger sample size to go on. … We will have new wrinkles and do things different, but we have a better defense as a whole right now.”
Washington’s four-man rush has been criticized for not generating more pressure, but defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said it hasn’t been a problem. And Cofield echoed that sentiment. Teams have used a lot of quick throws against them – though clearly not on every down.
“I don’t see a lot of lost opportunities when I watch the tape,” Cofield said. “I don’t see us missing sacks, I don’t … the quarterback just patting the ball back there and us not getting the job done. I don’t think we can generate more than we’ve already been doing. Whatever it takes, it takes all three levels working in unison.”