Ryan Kerrigan is not quite living up to the big contract extension he signed in the offseason but he is not performing as poorly as a simple look at his sack numbers would indicate.
Through four games, Kerrigan has 1.5 sacks. That puts him on pace for six for the season, not exactly the kind of production you want out of a player who signed a five-year, $57.5 million contract extension in July. Last year he had a career high 13.5 and the hope was that he would at least come close to that annually.
“I don’t know,” said Jay Gruden when asked about why Kerrigan’s sack numbers are lagging. “I think he’s still pretty effective in the running game and I still think he is playing very good at the position that he’s playing — outside backer and the defensive end in nickel. He hasn’t gotten the numbers that some other guys have around the league but I think he’s got the disruption and that’s half the battle as far as making the quarterback step up. Making the quarterback feel the rush is important, making him feel like he’s got to get it out, without having to hold the ball.”
It is true that there are a lot of players—54 to be exact—who have more sack than Kerrigan does this year. But Gruden also is correct when he says that he has been pretty good at getting disruption.
According to Pro Football Focus Kerrigan is 10th in the NFL among full-time 3-4 outside linebackers in terms of producing pass pressure with a pressure index of 10.4. To put that in context, DeMarcus Ware of the Broncos leads the NFL with an index of 17.5. That’s not bad but again not what anyone had in mind when Kerrigan signed his big deal.
Including, no doubt, Kerrigan.
“I promise you that Ryan wants more and we want more from Ryan,” said Gruden. “But to say that he’s disappointing is not the case. We’re absolutely happy with the effort that he plays with and what he brings to our football team, which is a lot.”
It is too early to panic over Kerrigan’s start. Last year he got rolling early when he racked up four sacks when he had a highly favorable matchup and score situation against the Jaguars. Kerrigan had his chances to do that against the Eagles but couldn’t quite seal the deal. That big sack game is probably coming and then everyone can relax and watch Kerrigan be the productive player he has been in the past.
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