When it comes to the Washington Football Team's roster, "experience" is not a word that immediately comes to mind. The team is filled with young players that are just now getting the bulk of their NFL reps.
Potentially the most experienced member is outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, a 10-year veteran who is the franchise's all-time leader in sacks. Yet, in Week 6, Kerrigan's longtime standing in the league did not result in much playing time.
Kerrigan played a career-low seven snaps against the Giants, though he did record a sack. With a young and talented offensive line, it was known that the veteran's work could see a downtick in 2020. That could remain the plan going forward, but head coach Ron Rivera is not underestimating his importance to the youth on the roster.
“Yes," Rivera told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay on if Kerrigan's current situation could remain. "He’s a guy that our young guys can learn from. He’s a pro and guys like that, again like I said, are very valuable because they can show the young guys how to do things the right way.”
With the addition of Chase Young through the draft, Kerrigan was immediately looked upon as a mentor for the talented rookie. Throughout training camp, that proved to be true, as the two began building a relationship in which Kerrigan helped show Young the ropes.
In addition to Young, Kerrigan can have an influence on all the growing players in Washington. He's been through the grind of an NFL season nine times and knows what it takes to win and what feeds into losses. That mentality is something Rivera is looking to instill in his entire team. So far, he's seen that in a few players but not everyone.
With Kerrigan as a teacher, his influence will continue to point Washington's culture in the right direction. So, while his snaps may be decreasing, his importance to the team is still essential.