RICHMOND—Barry Cofield is happy that Jason Hatcher is on his side now.
The Redskins signed the free agent defensive lineman, who had 10.5 sacks for the Cowboys last year, to a four-year contract in March. He is expected to provide some pass rush push to a line that had just nine sacks the last two seasons combined.
“Yeah, you know, Hatch was one of the best acquisitions we’ve made since I’ve been here,” said Cofield, who is going into his ninth NFL season, his fourth in Washington. “He has a real unique skill set and I think that’s what our defense this year makes it, you know, better than the years past. It’s really going to utilize everybody’s strengths. Everybody’s skill sets will be optimized, so a guy like Hatch is going to be rushing, getting up the field.”
Hatcher has yet to practice for the Redskins. He started training camp on the PUP list after having an arthroscopic procedure done to his knee last month. The Redskins expecting him to begin participating in practice soon.
Generally defensive ends in a 3-4 scheme aren’t going after the quarterback. There will be some tweaks in the defensive scheme to utilize Hatcher’s talents. During minicamp Hatcher said that he would be coming out of a lot of the same sets that they were using in Dallas. Cofield was asked how that would affect what he would be doing. He didn’t give up much detail.
“Ah man, you want me to open the playbook up and give you a PowerPoint here? I don't think Coach would appreciate that,” he said with a smile. “You know what, the whole defense is tailored to guys’ strengths. I can personally say that if Hatch is up the field rushing like his hair is on fire, I'm going to try to cover him on a run play. I'm going to try to cover him on a QB scramble. So without giving away too much, I'm going to let him do what he does and I’m going to try to make him right, make the defense work, and like I said, I might not get a sack but if I get a ring, that’s worth it."
It sounds like a big step up in responsibility for Cofield, who turned 30 this offseason. He seems to be very capable of handling it mentally but we’ll have to see how it works out on the field.