During the Redskins' 22-21 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night nose tackle and team captain Barry Cofield expressed his excitement for what he saw from the team defensively.
Cofield and eight other players that started at least one game for the Washington Redskins last year sat out of the game, giving opportunities to players like rookie defensive backs David Amerson, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.
Despite the ups and downs of their collective first NFL action, Cofield said it was a valuable look into the team's exciting future.
"You know what? It's great to see those guys out there," he said. "We had three rookie starters out there, so it's great experience for those guys."
As a team captain and respected leader, Cofield has lent a hand in indoctrinating the rookies into the Redskins' winning tradition.
Time, patience and repetitions will get the rookies up to speed, but Cofield appreciates their makeup and enthusiasm for learning.
"They all look the part. They're all willing to learn and they're all humble kids," he said of the trio. "If they continue along that path, our future is bright."
The highlights of the defensive performance Thursday night were a pair of sacks; one each for former Pro Bowl outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orkapo.
For Orakpo, it was his first sack since a pectoral injury in St. Louis ended his 2012 season.
Invigorated by the team's success without him and motivated to perform in his contract year, Orakpo has proven to teammates like Cofield that he wants to carry the defense this season.
"It's great to have 'Rak back, you know, and I think 'Rak being back makes Ryan [Kerrigan] better, makes [Stephen] Bowen better, makes the secondary better," Cofield explained. "We all work together. His [Orakpo's] energy, his passion—he's already 'that guy.'
"Then you take him out of the game for a year? He's come back like a hungry wild animal. Orakpo's going to be back to his Pro Bowl ways."