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Ryan Kerrigan Talks Offseason, 2015 And More

Posted Mar 28, 2016

Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was subject of an exclusive Q&A session with Redskins Rewards members last week in Loudoun County, Va.

Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was subject of an exclusive Q&A session with Redskins Rewards members last week in Loudoun County, Va.

With more than 90 Redskins season ticket members in attendance, Kerrigan was asked about a variety of topics, from his health heading into the offseason, the 2015 NFC East Division championship season, the team's prospects for the 2016 season and leadership in the locker room.

Here's an exerpt of some of the best questions and answers from the session:


On breaking a bone in his hand during the 2015 season:

"Fortunately, if there’s a time to have an injury, it’s before the bye week, and that’s when I had it. So I had the injury against the Buccaneers the first quarter, went in, had surgery the following day – so after that, I basically had two weeks until the time we played the Patriots. Had we had a game the following Sunday, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to play – I probably wouldn’t have, because, I mean, my hand was healed, but at the same time, you’re not comfortable hitting people with it, and playing on the line of scrimmage, if you’re not feeling good about hitting people with your hands, it’s going to be a long day for you. So if there’s a good time to fracture your third metacarpal, it was then."

On having a large lump where he had hand surgery, and his health moving forward:

"I’m healed. My issues are purely cosmetic now. It just looks like crap. Other than that it feels fine – it’s functioning fine, I can write and do everything I normally could. I’ll have that little souvenir with me for the rest of my life."

On his overall thoughts about the Redskins' defense heading into the 2016 season:

"I think we’re going to get tremendously better. I think having Coach [Greg] Manusky here to really focus on the finer points of playing outside linebacker for us, I think that’s going to help us tremendously, and I think it’s going to be the little things that are going to make the difference, such as our stance, our takeoff, our angles, our paths to the quarterback. Having his leadership and his guidance I think is going to pay huge dividends for Preston, myself, Junior, Trent – all of us."

On how much he is held throughout a game, and the Redskins' pass rushers this season:

"My jersey’s pretty disjointed a lot. Whatever – they’re not gonna call it (laughs). We’ve got a chance to be pretty good up front. Obviously everyone’s very excited about Junior, and rightfully so, because that guy’s determined. You know, he’s had a year off from football now and he wants to get on the field and show everybody what he can do. He loves Washington already, man. You can tell. If anybody follows him on Twitter or Instagram, he’s everywhere talking to Skins fans, and it’s exciting to add a guy like him on board."

On adding outside linebacker Junior Galette (a combined 22 sacks in 2013-14):

"His skillset is very rare for a guy who’s 255 pounds. For him to be as flexible as he is, for him to be able to bend the corner like he can, to explode, he plays very violently with his hands – I mean, he’s got a rare skillset for a pass rusher."

On how much fun he had last season in front of the home crowd:

"Every Sunday was so much fun at FedExField this past season. I mean, everyone could kind of sense that we were building something special towards the end of the year. Despite losing the playoff game, the atmosphere there was electric. Hoping if we get back to the playoffs this year, hoping to have another home playoff game and things will be different at the end of it."

On his approach to playing in coverage:

"You’ve just got to limit the space, because obviously if a guy has a lot of space it’s not an ideal situation for a guy like myself. So I just try to cut the distance from where the ball’s thrown. You know, normally, our defense never really puts us in any adverse situations where I’m going to be covering a guy like DeSean Jackson. I remember being lined up across from him a couple years back and I’m just thinking, ‘This isn’t going to go well.’ But our defense does a good job of not putting us in any situations that might not result in the best situation for our defense."

On the loss of running back Alfred Morris to the Cowboys:

"A loss like Alfred it is really tough, because he’s been here basically the entire time I have – I’m a year older than him. He’s kind of what I associate all the good times I’ve had here in Washington, because he was such a big part of our success in 2012, and really, every season after that, too. So seeing him go, especially to the Cowboys, is tough, but at the same time, I mean, he’s got to do what’s best for him, and it sounds like he has a good situation down there in Dallas. Hopefully 14 games out of the game he does really well."

On the best ways to mentor a rookie:

"You’ve got to lead more by example more than anything. You’ve got to do the right things – you’ve got to show up early to meetings and not be late, you’ve got to do the right things in terms of eating, in terms of taking care of your body. You’ve got to show them how it’s done, because it’s a long season, and if a rookie approaches it like a college season, then they’ll hit that wall and it’ll be tough for them to break through."

On why he wears No. 91 with the Redskins:

"I wore No. 94 in college, and I wanted that number when I got here, but Adam Carriker was wearing it. So I couldn’t wear 94. I’d been 91 in the Senior Bowl right prior to getting drafted, and that number became available, so I took that."

On if he has any desire to play on offense, a la J.J. Watt:

"No. I couldn’t have less desire. I would rather be hitting people than getting hit, so I will gladly stay on the defensive side of the ball."

On the difference in locker room leadership between the 2014 and 2015 seasons:

"See, I think a lot was made of, ‘Oh, there’s dissention in the locker room; oh, there’s all this, all that.’ And that comes with when you’re losing football games. We were 4-12 the year before, so, of course people are going to look for these outside reasons why we’re struggling, when in actuality we just weren’t making plays on the football field. That’s why we were 4-12, and this year we were making plays on the football field, that’s why we were 9-7, and everyone thinks, ‘Oh, the locker room’s so much better this year,’ whereas in 2014 it wasn’t really that bad, we just weren’t doing that well on the field."

On head coach Jay Gruden's coaching approach:

"I just think Jay has a great feel for his guys, has a great feel for us. He kind of knows what makes us tick. He’s got a good attitude – he’s a guy that will get on you if you mess up, but will praise you equally as much if you do well. That’s what I like in a coach. He’s gonna tell you how it is – he’ll be fiery in a good way and in a bad way."


Last week's exclusive Q&A with Ryan Kerrigan was open to all Redskins Season Ticket Members as a Redskins Rewards item through the use of their "yard redemption." Yards were given to the members at the beginning of the season based on seat location, tenure and the number of seats on an account.

Before participating in the Q&A session, attendees were taken on a tour of Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., and had the opportunity to eat dinner in the Team Dining Room. Participants also had the chance for autographs and photos with Kerrigan after the Q&A.

To learn more about Redskins Rewards, visit RedskinsRewards.com.

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Fortunately, if there’s a time to have an injury, it’s before the bye week, and that’s when I had it. So I had the injury against the Buccaneers the first quarter, went in, had surgery the following day – so after that, I basically had two weeks until the time we played the Patriots. Had we had a game the following Sunday, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to play – I probably wouldn’t have, because, I mean, my hand was healed, but at the same time, you’re not comfortable hitting people with it, and playing on the line of scrimmage, if you’re not feeling good about hitting people with your hands, it’s going to be a long day for you. So if there’s a good time to fracture your third metacarpal, it was then.

 

I’m healed. My issues are purely cosmetic now. It just looks like crap. Other than that it feels fine – it’s functioning fine, I can write and do everything I normally could. I’ll have that little souvenir with me for the rest of my life.

 

I think we’re going to get tremendously better. I think having Coach Manusky here to really focus on the finer points of playing outside linebacker for us, I think that’s going to help us tremendously, and I think it’s going to be the little things that are going to make the difference, such as our stance, our takeoff, our angles, our paths to the quarterback. Having his leadership and his guidance I think is going to pay huge dividends for Preston, myself, Junior, Trent – all of us.

 

My jersey’s pretty disjointed a lot. Whatever – they’re not gonna call it. We’ve got a chance to be pretty good up front. Obviously everyone’s very excited about Junior, and rightfully so, because that guy’s determined. You know, he’s had a year off from football now and he wants to get on the field and show everybody what he can do. He loves Washington already, man. You can tell. If anybody follows him on Twitter or Instagram, he’s everywhere talking to Skins fans, and it’s exciting to add a guy like him on board.

 

His skillset is very rare for a guy who’s 255 pounds. For him to be as flexible as he is, for him to be able to bend the corner like he can, to explode, he plays very violently with his hands – I mean, he’s got a rare skillset for a pass rusher.

 

Every Sunday was so much fun at FedExField this past season. I mean, everyone could kind of sense that we were building something special towards the end of the year. Despite losing the playoff game, the atmosphere there was electric. Hoping if we get back to the playoffs this year, hoping to have another home playoff game and things will be different at the end of it.

 

You’ve just got to limit the space, because obviously if a guy has a lot of space it’s not an ideal situation for a guy like myself. So I just try to cut the distance from where the ball’s thrown. You know, normally, our defense never really puts us in any adverse situations where I’m going to be covering a guy like DeSean Jackson. I remember being lined up across from him a couple years back and I’m just thinking, ‘This isn’t going to go well.’ But our defense does a good job of not putting us in any situations that might not result in the best situation for our defense.

 

A loss like Alfred it is really tough, because he’s been here basically the entire time I have – I’m a year older than him. He’s kind of what I associate all the good times I’ve had here in Washington, because he was such a big part of our success in 2012, and really, every season after that, too. So seeing him go, especially to the Cowboys, is tough, but at the same time, I mean, he’s got to do what’s best for him, and it sounds like he has a good situation down there in Dallas. Hopefully 14 games out of the game he does really well.

 

You’ve got to lead more by example more than anything. You’ve got to do the right things – you’ve got to show up early to meetings and not be late, you’ve got to do the right things in terms of eating, in terms of taking care of your body. You’ve got to show them how it’s done, because it’s a long season, and if a rookie approaches it like a college season, then they’ll hit that wall and it’ll be tough for them to break through.

 

That really speaks to Alfred. He was a great guy for the community, great guy to have in the locker room. Yeah, we have a lot of guys like Alfred that kind of take the younger guys – or if they’re a free agent coming from another team – kind of take them under their wing.

 

I wore No. 94 in college, and I wanted that number when I got here, but Adam Carriker was wearing it. So I couldn’t wear 94. I’d been 91 in the Senior Bowl right prior to getting drafted, and that number became available, so I took that.

 

No. I couldn’t have less desire. I would rather be hitting people than getting hit, so I will gladly stay on the defensive side of the ball.

 

See, I think a lot was made of, ‘Oh, there’s dissention in the locker room; oh, there’s all this, all that.’ And that comes with when you’re losing football games. We were 4-12 the year before, so, of course people are going to look for these outside reasons why we’re struggling, when in actuality we just weren’t making plays on the football field. That’s why we were 4-12, and this year we were making plays on the football field, that’s why we were 9-7, and everyone thinks, ‘Oh, the locker room’s so much better this year,’ whereas in 2014 it wasn’t really that bad, we just weren’t doing that well on the field.

 

I just think Jay has a great feel for his guys, has a great feel for us. He kind of knows what makes us tick. He’s got a good attitude – he’s a guy that will get on you if you mess up, but will praise you equally as much if you do well. That’s what I like in a coach. He’s gonna tell you how it is – he’ll be fiery in a good way and in a bad way.

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