Word from the locker room last Sunday was that Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was unhappy with his performance against the Dolphins.
While the Redskins lost and there is always room for improvement when you don’t win, there was little about Kerrigan’s performance to dislike. He had half a sack, two quarterback hurries and he batted down a pass. Kerrigan also bailed out the team’s quarterback when he made a nice play from the back side to make a tackle for no gain on fourth and one. That play kept the Dolphins off the board after Kirk Cousins had thrown an interception in Redskins territory.
Since taking the job as Redskins defensive coordinator in January, Joe Barry has learned that Kerrigan is never satisfied with what he does.
“I think that’s what makes Ryan Kerrigan the type of player that he is,” said Barry. “If it’s a pass, he thinks he should be getting a sack on every play. If it’s a run play, he thinks that he should be defeating his man and making the tackle on every play. That’s the way he drives himself and that’s the way he thinks. He’s one of those guys that it’s easy to coach hard because he wants to be coached hard. He wants to be not told, ‘Hey Ryan, you did a good job,’ because he’s looking, ‘No, I didn’t. I didn’t make a play.’ He is very, very hard on himself.”
Kerrigan was seeing his first full-speed action since last December. He had a knee procedure done in the spring and was held out of all four preseason games as a precaution. The fifth-year player, who signed five-year, $57.5 million contract extension in July, was not happy about the lack of action.
“It killed Ryan Kerrigan, he was embarrassed that we kept him out of the preseason,” said Barry. “And a lot of times, unfortunately in this day and age, you keep a veteran out of a preseason game, they’re thanking you as a coach. He was legitimately pissed off because we were keeping him out of games. We weren’t playing him. He felt, ‘I’m not earning my check. It’s a game. I’ve got to go play.’”
Kerrigan is playing now and if he keeps up what he did last Sunday when the Rams come to town while perhaps adding another sack or two against a so-so St. Louis offensive line he will certainly be earning his check. But he probably won’t be happy if the Redskins can’t come out with a win.
“Most of the really, really good players in this league are very hard on themselves,” said Barry. “He’s another phenomenal guy to be around.”