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Veteran Leadership Key On Defense


The Redskins may not have ideal numbers on defense this season, but the unit has played well down the stretch and should play a major role in this afternoon's contest.

In order for that to happen, the Redskins will rely on the veteran contributions by players like defensive lineman Kedric Goltson, one of the few remaining members of the 2007 playoff squad.

"I've been here for seven years and been through some high and a lot of lows," Golston said. "It's just a testament to the guys we have on this team and even some of the guys that used to be here that are not here anymore."

Golston credits former Redskins such as Cornelius Griffin for helping him teaching him how to be a Redskin. Griffin started every game for the Redskins for the 2007 playoff team and was a mentor to Golston when he entered the league.

Golston has filled the veteran role that Griffin played before retiring after the 2009 season for the younger defensive lineman on the team.

Another veteran defensive lineman, Barry Cofield, has played a key role down the stretch.

Cofield was signed as a free agent before the 2011 season and has started every game for the past two seasons. He was a key member of the New York Giants defense during their 2007 Super Bowl winning season and knows what it takes to win playoff games.

"It's not always about the stats and the yards gained," Cofield said. "It's about crucial plays, big stops and turnovers. If we can win that battle, we can win the game."

During the winning streak, the Redskins' defense had 15 takeaways for a plus-10 turnover margin.

Inside linebacker London Fletcher accounted for four interceptions during the streak and talked about the importance the squad has placed in turnovers.

"A lot of times that is pretty much the difference between winning and losing," he said. "We had three interceptions, two of which kept [the Cowboys] out of the end zone. Big plays like that win the game."

The Redskins went 5-0 in the month of December and in those games Fletcher had 39 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks. As a result of his outstanding play, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

Still though, the defense knows that their seven game winning streak is in the past and they have to look forward to their next task: a playoff game against a red hot Seahawks team.

The Seahawks offense is potent, ranking 17th overall in total offense and 3rd overall in rushing. They are currently on a five game winning streak and have outscored opponents 193 to 60 during that stretch.

They've got a talented offensive line, Marshawn Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league, and Russell Wilson uses his ability in many different ways and can hurt you all different types of ways," Golston said. "It's going to be a tough task."

The defense, however, is up for the challenge.

As far as the big plays we've been making, and as far as how we've been playing in the second half down the stretch of ball games I've been very proud," Cofield said. "If we can keep that up we can beat anybody."




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