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Cofield's Emerging As a Leader

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The Redskins' 23-10 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday gave the team reason to celebrate even though it comes amid a disappointing campaign.

It meant the Redskins had swept the Giants in the regular season for the first time since 1999.

For nose tackle Barry Cofield, the victory proved to be even more meaningful. He played for the Giants last year and was glad to be able to beat his former team.

"It's exciting for me personally and it's exciting for the team," Cofield said. "It's a great win and it's great for our confidence. We're building for the future."

Cofield gave a passionate speech in the locker room after the game. He thanked his teammates for helping him beat the Giants twice this season, especially in New York.

"The way we played in all three phases, offense, defense, and special teams all clicking together, if we play like that we can beat anybody," Cofield said. "That has to be our focus, to play like that every week."

In his first year in Washington, Cofield quietly went about his business early in the season but he has become more vocal as the year has progressed.

He has gradually become more of a leader in recent weeks and that should carry over into the offseason.

On the field, Cofield has been a mainstay for the Redskins' defense all year. He has 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks and eight passes defended, or batted balls at the line of scrimmage.

Said defensive coordinator Jim Haslett: "You can tell that Barry kind of analyzes things. Some people kind of just go and let it flow. He kind of analyzes and studies things. Once he gets it, he gets it. He's such a smart guy.

"When he watches tape, he looks at centers and how to beat him. Sometimes, he can go overboard saying, 'This guy does this.' And I tell him, 'That's not the position.' To me, it's go beat the guy in front of you.

"But I think once Barry gets to that point where it is somewhat obvious what he's doing, he's going to take that to another [level]."

After Sunday's game, the Redskins' defense was tied for 10th in the league with 37 sacks and ranked 12th in total defense.

Cofield sees the defense improving even further next season.

"The defense, we're not there yet, but we're very close to being a great defense," Cofield said. "With a great offseason, we'll be a top 10 defense next year."

The Redskins won't be making a playoff push this season, but for emerging leaders like Cofield, this is no time to pack it in.

"We want to finish strong and have a great offseason and get ready for 2012," Cofield said.

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