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Neild's Ability to Adjust Pays Off

Posted Jan 15, 2012

The transition to the NFL went surprisingly smooth for rookie nose tackle Chris Neild. He showed no sign of lockout rust and made adjustments as the season progressed.


Last year’s rookie class had an unusual, lockout-shortened offseason. From the first day of training camp, rookies had to hit the ground running trying to make up for lost time.

With the regular season now over, rookies can look back at their journey.

For Redskins rookie nose tackle Chris Neild, selected in the seventh round (253rd overall) out of West Virginia in last year’s NFL Draft, the transition went surprisingly smooth.

He said leaders on the team helped him adjust quickly.

“We have a lot of veterans around [Redskins Park] so if I had any questions they were more than happy to help, especially the defensive linemen,” Neild said.

Neild showed no signs of lockout rust, especially early in the season.

In the Redskins season opener against the New York Giants, Neild recorded three tackles and 1.5 sacks on quarterback Eli Manning.

As the season progressed, Neild had to make adjustments to the caliber of talent in the NFL and the speed of the game.

“I was a little bit shaky, but I made adjustments along the way,” he said.

As Redskins coaches do with most rookies, Neild was eased into playing time. He played in all 16 games serving as a backup to Barry Cofield at nose tackle.

He earned praise for his work ethic and reliability, finishing the season with nine tackles and two sacks overall.

Filling up the stat sheet was not important to Neild, though.

“I just have to go out there and do my job, and if that means getting a couple of sacks then so be it, if it means no tackles then so be it, as long as I get my job done,” he said.

He added: “I really just tried to be a quality backup for Barry. Whenever I’m in there, I want him to be able to rely on me and not have to worry about anything [bad] happening when I’m in there.”