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.
Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.
Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:
"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."
All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.
Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.
Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.
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With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold before the team heads to Richmond.
No. 5: What can the Redskins expect from Derrius Guice?
No rookie draft pick excited the Redskins fan base like Derrius Guice since Robert Griffin III came to Washington back in 2012. That's a fact.
Guice slipped during the draft to near the end of the second round, a position much too late for a player with his talent. Rumors emerged that he had character issues, but in the months since April's selection, they seem unfounded. In quick time, Guice has emerged as a Redskins fan favorite and has performed plenty of charitable acts.
So, moving past the erroneous off-field questions, it's time to manage expectations for what Guice can do on the field.
DJ Swearinger recently said he expects Guice to make the Pro Bowl and rush for more than 1,000 yards. As a rookie. (Listen here)
That's not unheard of, last year rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rush yards. In 2016, Ezekiel Elliott did the same thing. Rookie running backs can step in and produce right away in the NFL, unlike some positions that usually bring more of a learning curve.
Can Guice do that?
The first and most important questions will be health and durability. Guice dealt with lingering knee injuries last year at LSU, and the Redskins will need him fully healthy. A 1,000-yard season is not unrealistic if Guice plays a full 16-game season. It would require rushing for about 65 yards-per-game.
The bigger key is opportunities.
How many carries will Guice log in 2018? Early on in the season, Guice might still be learning pass protection in the Redskins scheme, and Jay Gruden will not tolerate missed assignments that result in big hits on QB Alex Smith.
If Guice can lock in on blitz pickup, 200 carries seems reasonable. Remember that Chris Thompson will still be a featured part of the Redskins offense, and Rob Kelley will get chances too.
Last season, Samaje Perine led all rushers with 175 carries. He didn't do much with the chances, averaging just 3.4 yards-per-carry. Kelley had 62 carries before injuries shut his season down after parts of seven games.
Combine Perine and Kelley's carries, and then things start to get interesting. With 230 carries, at an average of 4 yards a pop, Guice starts to approach 1,000 yards.
One problem with extrapolating too much data from last season is the crazy amount of variables. Late in the year, with Perine largely ineffective and a very beat up offensive line, the Redskins simply couldn't produce on the ground. In their last five games of 2017, the Redskins never rushed for more than 100 yards. They averaged just 60 yards-per-game on the ground during that stretch, including a season low 31 rush yards against Arizona in December.
The line can't be that beat up again, right?
Guice has to be able to deliver more than Perine, right?
If the answers to those questions are yes, then a 1,000-yard season seems possible for Guice in 2018.
One misnomer from the Redskins 2017 campaign emerged that Washington simply did not run the ball well or enough. In fact, early in the year when the Redskins looked like a possible playoff team, they ran the ball quite well. In three of the first four games, Washington went over 100 yards on the ground, including 229 rush yards in a Week 2 win over the Rams.
Guice might get to 1,000 yards in 2018. It's no sure thing, and there are plenty of variables, but it's possible. That hasn't happened in Washington since Alfred Morris, and would be a very welcome sight.
The rookie runner has invigorated the Redskins faithful, and that's before he even steps on the field. If Guice can produce, the fans will go crazy.
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