Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry has only been around rookie outside linebacker Preston Smith for a short period of time but he likes what he sees so far.
“For a 270-pound man, he carries it very well,” Barry told Larry Michael on Redskins Nation. “He walks in the room and you’re like, maybe he’s 240, 245, maybe 250. And then when you get him out on the field an you get him moving around, he’s a very good, fleet on his feet athlete. And then you put him on the scale and you’re, holy cow, he’s 270 pounds. He’s a big, long athlete.”
Plenty of big, long athletes come into the league every year but many of them can’t cut it in the NFL. That even holds true for second-round draft picks like Smith was this year. They can be well served by having a good role model in the building and Barry believes that Smith has an ideal one.
“Ryan Kerrigan comes to work every single day,” said Barry. “What a true competitor he is. It doesn’t matter if it’s February, if it’s May. He shows up and just works. He’s been in this building every single day that I’ve been here, since I’ve been hired. It’s impressive the way he goes about his business.”
Smith can benefit from what Kerrigan does by observing him and other veterans as they go about their business.
“When you coming into this league, like we said, Preston Smith is walking around the building, he doesn’t know where to go, he doesn’t know what to do,” said Barry. “Every team’s not like this in the sense that you have great veteran leadership. With our team, as I’m finding out with these guys, you’ve got the Jason Hatchers, you’ve got the Ryan Kerrigans, you’ve got the DeAngelo Halls. I told Preston Smith this, if you don’t know what to do, watch those guys.
“Watch Ryan Kerrigan in the meetings, look how he takes notes, look how he pays attention, watch him in the weight room, how he works his ever-living butt off. Look at him in an individual period here on Phase 2 when we can actually go out on the field with the guys, watch how they work. If you don’t know what to do, watch them. That’s how you become a great pro.”
Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan alluded to the importance of having a good locker room with good role models last week.
“I’m not worried about just the one-year bang,” he said in his post-draft news conference. “I’m worried about the guy gets the second contract and is going to be able to build the core of the Redskins going forward. And each year we get better and better because of it that when guys walk in here in this locker room and this weight room and they see these young guys growing up and getting better, they follow in that and that’s what makes them better.”
So McCloughan is hoping that Smith can learn how to be a pro from Kerrigan and then in a few years when Smith has established himself another rookie can come in and learn by doing what Smith does.
It’s a good plan on paper; we will see if the organization can pull it off.