Redskins Training Camp Preview: Nose Tackle
Today we continue our annual survey of the Redskins roster, seeking to determine which players are most likely to make the final 2013 team and which are not. We will look at every position on the roster and today we cover quarterback.
ON THE ROSTER: Chigbo Anunoby, Chris Baker, Ron Brace, Barry Cofield, Dominique Hamilton, Chris Neild
STARTER: Barry Cofield
BACKUP: Chris Baker, Chris Neild
ON THE BUBBLE: Chigbo Anunoby, Ron Brace, Dominique Hamilton
ANALYSIS: Cofield was expected to have a big 2012 after being up-and-down in his first season at the nose tackle position in 2011. However, Cofield was inconsistent again and, surprisingly, better at rushing the passer than stopping the run. Cofield had some big games, such as the first matchups of the season against the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys, but he also struggled at times, particularly against Minnesota and Baltimore — two teams with good rushing attacks. Cofield committed only one penalty all season and did net three QB sacks, so we did see some good things from him. However, Cofield needs to be stronger against the run, occupying two blockers and clogging up the middle of the field.
Chris Neild missed all of 2012 to injury after a strong season as a 7th round draft pick rookie in 2011. He’s healthy now and probably a lock to make the team because Chris Baker is moving from nose tackle to defensive end, at least for the first month of the season because of the season-ending injury to Adam Carriker and the 4-game suspension to Jarvis Jenkins. Neild is a fireplug who works hard, plays to the whistle and can fill in adequately for a few plays each game while Cofield gets a breather.
Chris Baker looked good in his first season with the Redskins last season [he was an undrafted free agent in 2009], but he’s now needed at defensive end and will probably end up starting the first four games, at least, at the DE position. Baker got shoved around quite a bit in the playoff loss to the Seahawks, but that happened to a lot of guys last year and otherwise Baker was solid all year. He can step back in to the nose tackle position if he’s needed in October and beyond.
PREDICTION: Cofield is the starter again, with Neild as his principal backup, at least until Jarvis Jenkins returns from suspension and Chris Baker can move back, at least part-time, to nose tackle.