There have been many concerns following the Washington Redskins and their defensive abilities. While their secondary has been, for the most part, atrocious for the past half decade, their run defense has consistently placed as one of the best in the NFL. This year, with LB Ryan Kerrigan at the helm, will be no different.
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will look to Kerrigan to become a force to be reckoned with as a pass rusher. Placing him against larger, less agile guards will give Kerrigan the advantage he needs to provide sacks, quarterback hits and forced turnovers.
“I really like it,” stated Kerrigan. “It’s definitely a change of pace, both for myself, and for the guards and centers that I’m going against, because they’re used to bigger and stronger guys. I’m kind of lighter, and quicker than a lot of the guys they face, so it’s a nice change of a pace and a chance for me to put my hand in the dirt again.”
Kerrigan has been fitting in well to Haslett’s new plans for his defense. In the preseason, Kerrigan has racked up four tackles, two for losses, two sacks, a forced fumble and one interception which he returned for a touchdown. He also has one deflected pass and one quarterback hit, not to mention all the added pressure he creates.
“You use your hands just as much, especially inside,” Kerrigan said. “But if you don’t get to the quarterback, you want to get off the block and get your hands up because the passes are usually coming in the guard and center area.”
Standing in at 6-foot-4 and weighing 260 pounds, Kerrigan is a combination of size and talent. He is a fumble forcing machine, tying the FBS record with 14 in his collegiate career. In three seasons as a pro, he has had six forced fumbles.
Last year Kerrigan stepped it up when the rest of the team seemed to be injured or underperformed. This year will be different. He will have talent around him, but he will become a team leader and defensive all-star. Look for Kerrigan’s “beast mode” to continue in the 2013 regular season.