Join Date: Dec 2006
SOW Barry Cofield Interview Transcript
Thought you all might like to read this one. We've done some others that are on the site, but I'm trying to post the ones I think would be more wanted here:
| Ray Smith: Joining us on the line is Washington Redskins defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Barry, appreciate the time, thanks for joining us tonight. |
Barry Cofield: Sounds good, thank you.
RS: We’re here tonight at Lorenzo [Alexander’s] ACES event, which is kind of turning out to be a farewell to Lorenzo. Do you have any memories that you’d like to share, and stories? Because he’s actually here with us tonight.
BC: Oh man, I just wish Zo the best. He’s a great teammate, a great person, as you can see based on how active he was in the community. Some of the plays he made, especially on special teams, were just unreal. I’ve played a lot of football, been around the game a long time, some of the stuff he does while having a target on his back–because everyone knows they gotta block Lorenzo Alexander, but they still can’t do it. I’m sure he’ll keep that up out in the desert.
RS: For him, obviously this is a big opportunity for him, getting a chance to start. Just speak a little bit about what he’s done that makes him deserving in your eyes of getting a chance for a starting situation?
BC: He proved his toughness and playmaking abilities. A lot of the things he did last year were a great showcase for him. He’s a gut that’s bounced around and played a lot of positions, but I think he’s at home playing linebacker. He’s done the things he had to do, physically, to get in great shape. He’s incredibly strong and he’s a guy whose motor never sops running. And the playmaking ability he sowed last year, just the ability to adapt to whatever situation he’s thrown into. Those are things that any team can use. I’m sure the Cardinals saw that and that’s why they feel they need to have him on the field as much as possible.
RS: Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been doing this offseason to recharge as you get ready to get back after it?
BC: I have my offseason down here in Orlando, so this Florida atmosphere and this Florida weather, for a Cleveland boy is an escape in itself, just to be down here and spend time with my family. I have two young boys and they keep me occupied. That’s a big change of pace from being around a bunch of big, sweaty guys all the time, even though I love those guys. But right around March, you start getting that itch. You look at free agency, hearing all the names, and you start wanting to get back in there and get back to work. I’m looking forward to getting back to Virginia and getting back with the guys. We’ve been able to keep so many guys around. There’s some guys, like with Zo leaving, that we’re definitely going to miss. But we’ll have a lot of returning faces, so it’s exciting to go back into that.
RS: Talk a little bit about how important this has been for the Washington Redskins. In the past, the stereotype was that they would throw a lot of money to bring in big name guys while letting their own guys leave. But this offseason, it seems like they’re really going after continuity. Talk about how important it is to keep these key pieces together.
BC: Continuity is really important, when possible. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that happen to rosters. There’s 31 other teams in the NFL that are picking at your roster, especially if you’ve been successful team, a division champ like we were. So I think we’ve done a good job at that. A lot of those old stigmas, I just don’t think that they’re true of this regime. Even since Bruce [Allen] and Coach [Mike] Shanahan have come in here, obviously Mr. Snyder made the decision to bring them in and let those guys run the show. Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been a 1st class organization.
Obviously there was some turnover the last couple of years as they were trying to build their roster, fill the locker room with their guys, high character guys. Guys that fit our scheme with this zone scheme. With the offense we have and [converting to] the 3-4 defense, you expect some turnover there. Not that we’re locked in with a pretty strong roster, it’s really slowed down. I still expect them to make moves here and there, smart signings and still do some work in the draft. This is the way that winning teams are built. It’s not about being offseason champs, it’s about being the regular season champ as we all know, and post season champs. I think we’re off to a great start.
RS: You have an interesting viewpoint on this cap penalty. You have strong ties to the New York Giants, you were there before. Now you’re with the Redskins. Clearly this has been a hot button topic for Redskins fans all offseason. What have you seen this organization do as a whole to overcome the cap penalty. We’ve seen guys taking less in deals, restructuring. We talked to Pierre Garcon yesterday, and he mentioned he was willing to take a cap-friendly deal. Does that speak volumes about the all-for-one attitude on the team right now?
BC: I think it definitely does. We were forced into a corner. A lot of people had a hand in putting us in this situation. The rules were laid out as they were. I’m trying my best not to dwell on the cap penalty and what happened in the past, but the rules were laid out as they were to try and help the players with that uncapped year. The teams that actually did spend and put money into the pockets of the players got penalized. And the teams that ignored any kind of cap floor and stockpiled money; there were no issues with that. It was clear collusion.
You can get into the legal side of it, but I’ve learned that it’s an uphill climb on a treadmill – we’ll never get any closure. The best thing we can do is to adopt a family atmosphere, an “us against the world” type of atmosphere. I feel like our backs are against the wall and everyone’s against us. For me, that’s the attitude that he had when we were 3-6 last year and made the run, and that kind of attitude is great for a locker room. If we adopt to that and stick to that, I think the sky is the limit for our team.
RS: Give us a little insight about what the mood was in that locker room when the team was 3-6. At the tie, the media was kind of asking “is it time for Shanahan to go?” Talk a little bit about that resolve, how you embraced that attitude of ‘our backs are against the wall and it’s us against the world’.
BC: Well one thing I can say for sure is that there was definitely no clamoring about Shanahan’s job or any of that within the locker room. That’s something that I’d bet my salary on. There was none of that, and I think that was the first part of it – there was no finger pointing going on within the locker room. There was a lot of thumb-pointing.
I think that Carolina game was probably a low point. We were at home playing against a team that I think at the time had a losing record. We really felt like we could win that one and go into the bye week with a good taste in our mouths, and start a run there. But once we didn’t do that, everyone had to take a look in the mirror. Everyone got away for the bye week. Coach Shanahan gave us the week off, and it really started right then. It was nothing that was done on the field at that point. There was a lot of soul searching and guys just really bought in.
The schedule was laid out perfectly that we had three divisional games coming out of the bye, and we felt like if we won those three games, we’d have a great chance to get back in the race. I can’t say at that moment that I thought we would be winning the division in week 17 as it was, but we knew that if we went on a run right there, we could at least get back in the picture. That’s what we did, and we really took it one game at a time. And once the wins started coming, the whole atmosphere changed.
The way we approached practices definitely changed. Coach Shanahan had us re-doing plays over and over again – I mean, I was cussing at him under my breath; I’m not going to lie to you. There were many times on the practice field where I was like, “Jeez, how many times are we going to run this play?” He just wanted perfection. And when I look back on it, that’s exactly what we needed. We had to practice perfect in order to give ourselves a chance to go out there and win every game. In the end, that’s what we needed to do.
Going into this offseason, our confidence in Coach Shanahan is at an all-time high and our mindset is in a great place. If we can get everyone healthy, I think we’ve got a great shot. And it’s almost like we find a couple of free agents, having Adam Carriker eventually come back off his injury, having Brian Orakpo back, we get Fred Davis back, it’s almost like we get a windfall that way. We’ll be a much more talented this year that we were last year.
You can read the rest by clicking here: Barry Cofield: Exclusive SOW Interview - Son of Washington