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Cofield looks to improve his game on and off the field

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Cofield looks to improve his game on and off the field

Although Barry Cofield was frequently praised by Redskins coaches last season, the veteran defensive lineman acknowledged Friday that he was disappointed in his 2011 campaign and enters this season expecting more from himself on the field and in the locker room.Honestly, I go back and review myself last year and Ive played a lot better than that, Cofield said. I wasnt happy with the way I played.Cofield finished fifth on the team in sacks with three and 15th in solo tackles with 15. At times, though, he conceded that was not completely comfortable lining up at a new position, in a new scheme he had yet to fully grasp.By the time I left New York, everything was second nature. People had to catch up with me, said Cofield, who signed with the Redskins as a free agent in July 2011. Last year, I felt like I was playing catch up.The lockout and being a free agent contributed to his trepidation. So did the unexpected position switch he had to make; before signing in Washington, Cofield had spent his entire five-season NFL career lining up as a tackle in the Giants 4-3 scheme.Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett asked him to play nose tackle in his 3-4 base alignment.I didnt know if I was going to go to a team where I was going to be getting up the field, or I was going to be a 3-4 end, a 3-4 nose, he said. I had no idea, so I didnt know how to train. I was just trying to be in shape.But now, he continued, knowing what kind of blocking schemes Im going to see, I was able to take a different approach this offseason.That approach involved working his core and leg muscles. The team roster now has him at 318 lb., 12 pounds heavier than last years listing.It also involved studying Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton on film.Hes kind of the godfather of the nose tackle position as we play it today, Cofield said of Hampton, a five-time Pro Bowl selection. He did some things better than me, and there are some things that I can do with my natural ability, with my athleticism, things I can bring to the position that not a lot of other guys do. So its just getting better at everything and have everything be second nature.Although creating havoc in the backfield isnt a nose tackles primary responsibility in Hasletts playbook that would be keeping middle linebacker London Fletcher clean the coaching staff has incorporated some tweaks that should complement Cofields athleticism and allow him to make a few more big plays this fall.Were doing some things differently up front that are hopefully going to get the nose tackle some one-on-ones, to be able to push the pocket and harass the quarterback and even get some sacks, he said. Last year, I had two three sacks, thats not far off for a nose tackle, but with the skill set I have, I can improve. I want to get a couple more.On the field, however, isnt the only place where Cofield wants to be more assertive this season. He also wants to make a stronger impact in the locker room.During his time in New York, Cofield was considered among the teams most respected leaders. Now hes growing into the role here.That changed by the end of last year, Cofield said. I actually spoke to the team when we played that second Giants game, and I felt right then, the words I said, the positive response I got from the guys, they wanted to hear more from me. I feel like I am in a position where guys respect me and look up to me at this point.

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Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Cousins' strong game vs. 49ers goes under the radar

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 17, six days before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night football.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: No media availability

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 12
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 19
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 37

Last look at Redskins vs. 49ers

—It’s gotten to a point where a Kirk Cousins game where he completes 67 percent of his passes for 330 yards, 8.9 yards per attempt, and two touchdowns as he did against the 49ers and it’s just another day, not worthy of any special note. But since 1990, a Redskins quarterback has had a line of at least 67 percent completions for 330 yards or more, 8.9 yards or more per attempt, and two or more touchdown passes just four times. Cousins did it earlier this year against the Raiders and he did it against the Packers last year. Brad Johnson also did it in 1999 against the 49ers. Add in the fact that Cousins led a fourth-quarter rally with two drives that produced 10 fourth-quarter points and that he scored the touchdown himself on a seven-yard read option run and you have a very good game that flew under the radar.

—The 49ers came into the game ranked 31st in third-down conversions on offense and on defense. The Redskins ensured that they will stay near the bottom. Washington hit on 50 percent of its third downs, converting seven of 14. Opponents had success on 47.4 percent coming into the game. Defensively the Redskins allowed six of 17, a 35.3 percent success rate, a little better than the 29.7 percent the Niners offense had going in. The 49ers converted just one of their first eight but after C.J. Beathard came in at quarterback they got rolling, converting five of their last nine.

I thought that Mack Brown might be more of a chance to run the ball with Rob Kelley out but that was before we knew that Chris Thompson was going to be the featured back. In fact, Thompson said that he didn’t know that his workload would go up until the night before the game. Back to Brown, he got two yards on two carries. He came in for a handoff on third and one in the second quarter. Perhaps he would have had a chance to do something but he got no blocking on the right side, particularly from tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed. His chance will have to wait for another day.

—Reed had a quiet day receiving with four catches for 37 yards. He confessed to not being 100 percent last week and his average of 7.9 yards per catch on the season speaks to something not being quite right. He did make a couple of key catches, though. After Thompson got tackled for a loss of nine yards on first down, Reed kept the drive alive with receptions good for 10 and 14 yards. That drive ended with Samaje Perine scoring on a three-yard pass reception for a touchdown to put the Redskins up 14-0. Still, it would be good to see Reed have a breakout game with something like seven receptions for 95 yards and a couple of touchdowns.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

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USA TODAY Sports

2017 NFL Power Rankings: Both conferences are wide open through six weeks

Through six weeks of the NFL season, it's clear who the Super Bowl favorites are.

In the AFC, it's, um, well, OK, let's do the NFC first. In the NFC, you have to watch out for — actually, nevermind, this isn't that easy.

CLICK HERE FOR NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS

The Chiefs and Eagles are the only two teams standing at 5-1, but there are quite a few 4-2 squads right behind them, as well as talented 3-win teams who can take any opponent down if they bring their best stuff. That means that as the halfway point approaches, both conferences are still open races.

And those races got a lot more interesting after a fun Week 6. The power rankings look a lot different than they did before the weekend because of Week 6's results, too.

So, click the link above or below to see who's moving up and who's sliding back. Or, in the case of the Browns, who's sliding but staying in the same spot simply because they can't be dropped any further.

CLICK HERE FOR NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON'S UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS