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Jim Haslett: Barry Cofield is the best nose tackle in the NFL

Barry Cofield, Matt Flynn

Washington Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield (96) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn (15) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Washington’s defense hasn’t done much to celebrate this season, but coordinator Jim Haslett is celebrating the play of Barry Cofield.

In fact, Haslett says Cofield is the best player in the NFL at his position.

“I think Barry is the best nose tackle in the league because he can do a little bit of everything,” Haslett said, via the Washington Post. “He’s good on the run, he’s powerful, he’s strong, he’s a good pass-rusher. He’s relentless. I think that combination makes him the best. He’s not, maybe 350 pounds. He’s 315, 316-17 pounds, but I think he’s ideal for what we’re doing with him.”

Cofield didn’t look like the best nose tackle in the NFL in the first couple games of the season, when he was playing with a broken hand, but on Sunday he had an excellent game, sacking Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn twice.

“If a nose tackle gets two sacks in this league? That’s outstanding,” Haslett said. “Most noses don’t play on third down. Barry plays on third down. His first game, with the cast on, he didn’t play as well. But after that, he’s been outstanding. He was exceptional last week.”

Considering how bad the NFC East is, it’s not unreasonable to think that if the defense turns things around, Washington could still win the division, despite starting 0-3. If that happens, Cofield will be a big part of it.