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Friday, August 22, 2008

Barry Cofield


Robbins and Cofield, puff piece or genuine article?

The default is always to assume puff piece unless there is something on the margin that separates it. Slap me around and let me know if I am guilty of passing along a puff piece article. This one could easily qualify. Except one thing which caught my eye which makes a lot of sense:

"Rookie year is such a blur," said Cofield, who also spent time in the offseason working with defensive line position coach Mike Waufle. "You do so much with the All-Star games and the combines and stuff, you never really get your legs under you. Last year we changed the defense, so I wasn't completely comfortable.

"But this year, being able to control my offseason with all the work, to be fresh and having such a great knowledge of Coach [Steve] Spagnuolo's defense, I just feel like I'm in the best shape physically and mentally since I can remember."


You have to be excited about the fact that this is the second year under Spagnuolo's system. Trust me, we were in the stands that fateful September Sunday Massacre last fall at the hands of the Packers, when all hell broke loose after halftime and the sky fell on the Giants. The players were learning the new system and had given up those now legendary "80 points" we have heard about over and over. So when Cofield says he is feeling as good physically and mentally as he has his entire life, I BELIEVE IT. Why?

1) Because Cofield is pretty quiet with the media.
2) Cofield has always been understated in his self-assessment.
3) Comfort and continuity in a coach's system is very real.
4) These are all strong words for a guy who has already started 31 of 32 games.
5) DEFENSIVE TACKLE IS THE SECOND HARDEST POSITION NEXT TO QB.

Everyone knows how difficult it is for a QB to make it in the NFL. I won't bother telling you what you already know. But some of you may not know or appreciate the level of difficulty at DT. This is classic meat grinder. I think it takes conservatively 3-5 years for these players to get their "legs." They are pounded on relentlessly in the scrum and need superhuman strength to survive, let alone thrive. So when Cofield says he is in a new place, a better place, it is exciting to hear. I took the bait. Call me gullible, but I believe Cofield's words are significant. Time will certainly tell. So far in the first two preseason games all I have seen from the (first team) defensive line is a lot of awesome control and domination. But this is preseason- 4 games in August mean less than 1 quarter in September. So let's see what is under Cofield's hood. If it is anything close to what he is saying, this Giants defense could be VERY SPECIAL.

Somebody burst my balloon so that I can come back down to earth now. Thanks in advance.

6 comments:

GoodPunk6 said...

DT is NOT the second hardest position on a football team. That honor goes to Left Tackle. Think of all the buzz on every single team that changes LT. Perhaps you meant the hardest position on the D-line but even that can be argued. Then again, any of these points could be argued to death....

Andy F. said...

I was probably not clear... my definition is rookie starters with success. LT on offensive line is certainly more vital but there are more rookies who can make it there, survive and thrive than at DT. Physical maturation is simply at a premium at DT, and rookies are unable to hit the ground running. I would have to go back 10 years and look at the data, but anecodotally I see more success initially. It is a subjective topic, because how do you measure success? Games started is reasonable, but then sacks allowed, sacks made, the running game? Even a 4th rounder like Cofield... how much success did he have despite starting all 16 games? By the end of that first season he was invisible, having tired and been completely worn down, rendered ineffective. And he would be the first one to tell you that. One day if I have the time I can look to gather stats on games started and pro bowls for 1st rounder LTs and DTs/NTs. The #s will be a place to reconcile some of this perception.

Craig said...

I wont argue with you that DT is the second toughest, but I'm gonna throw WR into the conversation. When was the last time a WR came in and produced his first season or too. Calvin Johnson didn't do all that good last year, and he's a freak of nature. It's Santonio Holmes 3rd year and now this year he's expected to have a productive year.

Andy F. said...

I mean this with all sincerity, this business needs a serious and hardcore database in the worst way. And what is amazing is there is someone out there hawking their product and they CAN'T sell it! So the answer is for one of us to get to be a GM and then turn this business upside down exactly the way that Billy Beane turned baseball upside down. My kingdom for a(nother) Super Bowl; my kingdom for a strong football statistical database (not the ff ones).

Dimitri said...

Andy, good blog, i read it periodically. Anyway, last year I remember reading how Chad Pennington was all excited for 2007 because he wasn't spending his off-season doing rehab and learning a new offense but rather was working on being stronger and and building on his knowledge of the playbook from the year before. Everyone thought it was going to be a Pro Bowl year from him, coming from a playoff season in 2006 and all. It made sense to me. Then you know what happened...

Andy F. said...

On paper the Jets have A LOT going for them. The question is how quickly veterans like Faneca, Jenkins, Woody and Favre get with the new system. I predict the playoffs for them.

Re Pennington, his career was crushed by injuries. This kind of reminds me of the story of Greg Cook and Bill Walsh. You can google those two names together.

Injuries to great players are a dagger. Tomorrow will be the 10th anniversary of another...

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