Football Team

Del Rio: Kerrigan will 'remain involved' after barely playing Week 6

Football Team

Ryan Kerrigan has basically been a fixture for the Washington Football Team ever since he was drafted in 2011. Last Sunday against the Giants, however, was a major departure from that.

Kerrigan was on the field for just seven defensive snaps in New York. That's the lowest snap count of his 10-year, 148-game career. 

When notified of that stat on Thursday, Jack Del Rio didn't make too much of it. Now, Del Rio is a coach who doesn't like to make too much of anything with the media, but his answer about Kerrigan's afternoon was especially standard.

"Seems awful low, but it's the way the game flow went," Del Rio said.

As far as the flow that Del Rio referenced, it's a fair point. The Giants only ran 48 plays, which is an unusually small amount for a pro offense. Because of that, Kerrigan, who's become a rotational player this season that spells Chase Young and Montez Sweat, naturally had fewer chances to get in the lineup.

Still, in each of Washington's first five weeks, the all-time franchise sack leader saw action on at least 30 percent of the defense's action. At MetLife Stadium, that number dropped to just 15 percent.

Despite that, Del Rio was complimentary of Kerrigan's contributions and, even more interesting, touched on his future contributions as well.

"Obviously, Ryan has done a great job for us," he said. "Consummate pro and he will remain involved with us."

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Del Rio probably made that last statement generally, though with the NFL trade deadline on Nov. 3, it definitely stuck out a bit in the presser.

When he spoke to reporters on Thursday, Ron Rivera didn't offer much on his franchise's plans for the deadline. Kerrigan is a guy who some believe could be moved, and those thoughts are growing due to how sparingly he was used in the Burgundy and Gold's most recent outing.

Maybe Del Rio knows something, and Kerrigan truly will "remain" with Washington for 2020. When that quote is combined with Rivera calling No. 91 "very valuable" for the younger players on the roster, which he did on Monday, two of the organization's leaders are on the board this week with notable Kerrigan comments.

The numbers, meanwhile, tell a bit of a different story. That's what makes this Sunday's meeting with the Cowboys very intriguing as it relates to Kerrigan's tenure in Washington.

If Kerrigan's snap count returns to what it was before the New York trip, then that section of his game log will turn out to be the aberration that Del Rio is chalking it up to be. But if he is relegated to the sidelines for the most part once again, more questions will follow.

After facing the Cowboys, Washington will be on their by, meaning Sunday is their last appearance before the trade deadline comes and goes. Therefore, it's not outrageous to wonder if it'll be the last time we'll ever see Kerrigan play for the team. The staff continues to praise him, but that praise will begin to feel hollow if he's barely featured versus Dallas.