After going without an outside linebackers coach last season, the Redskins filled the vacancy a few months ago by hiring veteran defensive mind Greg Manusky.
And while the move wasn't met with much fanfare, it made one key player extremely happy.
Ryan Kerrigan enjoyed a career year working with Brian Baker in 2014. Now, he hopes Manusky will have a similar effect on his game in 2016.
“I mean, it’s just the specificity of it, getting individual attention in the meeting rooms, getting individual attention on the practice field,” Kerrigan said this week. “It helps with all the finer aspects of being an outside linebacker. We had that a couple years back with Brian Baker. I thought that was very effective to have a specific coach for that.”
Under the tutelage of Baker, Kerrigan produced a career-high 13.5 sacks (seventh best in the NFL) and five forced fumbles (tied for first). He also saw a spike in his quarterback pressures and quarterback hits, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Kerrigan often credited Baker with helping him better understand angles to quarterback, counter moves and many other finer points of pass rushing.
Baker, however, was not retained when head coach Jay Gruden shook up the defensive coaching staff following a four-win 2014 season, and the position went unfilled last season. In January, the team turned to Manusky, a former Redskins’ linebacker who spent the previous nine years as the defensive coordinator in San Francisco, San Diego and Indianapolis.
“I’m really excited to work with Coach Manusky,” said Kerrigan, who was hampered with injuries last season and finished with 9.5 sacks. “Got to spend a little time with him in the meeting room [Monday]. He really is on top of his stuff. He really knows football and wants us to know football, not just know what we have to do, but understand why we have to do it and what others around us are doing as a result.”
As excited as Kerrigan is about the addition of Manusky, he’s equally excited about the prospect of lining up opposite Junior Galette in 2016. Galette, of course, suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon last August and missed the entire 2015 campaign.
“I’ve been seeing him all offseason because we’ve both been here training at Redskins Park and he looks good,” Kerrigan said of Galette, who totaled 22 sacks with the Saints in 2013 and 2014. “I mean, he looks as explosive as ever. He looks strong. He’s kept his weight on, which is good because that’s always a struggle when you have surgery and you can’t train like you normally can.”
Added Kerrigan: “It’s definitely a very exciting prospect to have because you could tell early in training camp last year that this guy would have been a difference maker for us on the defensive side of the ball and it stunk when he got hurt because any time you have an injury like that to a player like that, it’s really hard on your team. But having him out there, it should make us better upfront, better all over the field defensively.”