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Ryan Kerrigan electrifies crowd, chugs beer through his shirt in nod to T.J. Oshie

Ryan Kerrigan electrifies crowd, chugs beer through his shirt in nod to T.J. Oshie

There was only one way for Redskins linebacker and Capitals fan Ryan Kerrigan to show his support for TJ Oshie and the Caps prior to Game 5 when he led fans in the "Let's Go Caps" chant at Capital One Arena. 

He chugged some beer through his shirt - a nod to the move Oshie introduced to Caps fans and the world during last summer's Stanley Cup celebration.

Kerrigan joined fans and the Capitals showing support for the Capitals forward heading into Game 5 of the series between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, following an injury he suffered in Game 4.

While Kerrigan will be spending Game 5 in the stands hoping to help the team through motivation, he was also prepared to take a much more hands-on approach in order to try and get a victory.

Ahead of Saturday's Game 5 matchup between the Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes, Kerrigan stopped by NBC Sports Washington's Caps Pregame Live coverage to explain how he's ready to suit up and throw his body around on the ice if the Caps need him.

"I'm here, I got a jersey on. I'm ready to roll," Kerrigan said.

His services may be of interest to Washington, as the series has proven to be a physical one. However, there is one little piece of adversity both sides might have to overcome.

"I can't skate very well," Kerrigan admitted. "So that might be a little bit of a hiccup there."

So while Kerrigan may not be exactly what the Caps need, the Redskin's willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team win is a testament to his fandom of Washington's hockey team. Since he became a part of the D.C. sports community 2011, he's grown fond of a sport he didn't follow much growing up.

"Growing up in Indiana, we don't have a team there, it was all basketball for us in Indiana," Kerrigan said. "Since I got here, everyone is so passionate about the Caps, it was easy to become a fan and really dive into hockey."

Now immersed in the sport, Kerrigan tried out his analyst skills as well prior to the matchup.

"I think they got to come out the gates hot, I think they got to come out physical," Kerrigan said. "They got to come out and be physical. I'm a defensive guy, you got to be physical."

He also predicted that Nicklas Backstrom would have an impact on the game, and with Backstrom opening up the scoring early on in the contest, it seems as if Kerrigan may have a profession to fall back on after football.

Yet when the puck drops, Kerrigan will act just like the thousands of other Caps fans packed into Capital One Arena. One the edge of his seat, living and dying with every second that ticks, Kerrigan is more into the game than ever before.

"Especially coming off the Stanley Cup last year, we're wanting to go back-to-back now," Kerrigan said. "My wife and I watched every game last year during the postseason run. We were yelling really loud when they were winning, we were really focused when things weren't going so well.  No different this postseason."

Speaking of his wife and family, Kerrigan also took some time to talk about his new life as a father following the birth of his daughter Lincoln last month. Just around 40 days into parenting, it's safe to say that the bruising linebacker has found a soft spot for his little girl.

"That's all I heard going up to it. Little girl will change your life, little girl will melt your heart and I'm like, 'yeah yeah whatever,'" Kerrigan said. "And then I held her for the first time and I'm crying, this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."

Though Kerrigan may have a soft spot there, opposing quarterbacks shouldn't get their hopes up. According to him, he's still ready to be as physical as ever when he hits the gridiron.

"Only she can get the soft dad," Kerrigan said with a smile.

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

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10 Training Camp Questions: How dangerous is the Brandon Scherff contract situation?

The Redskins report to training camp on July 24th, and for the next 10 days, JP Finlay will count down the 10 biggest questions the Redskins face going into the 2019 season.

10) Will the Redskins develop depth on the D-line?

9) Can the Redskins count on Montae Nicholson?

8) Want better offense? Get more out of the tight ends 

7) Will Jimmy Moreland actually win the slot CB job from Fabian Moreau?

6) After losing Reuben Foster, how's the Redskins LB situation?

5) Will potential match production for Redskins WRs?

When a team picks in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft, folks around the NFL expect that player to become a Pro Bowler. For Washington, that exact scenario unfolded with right guard Brandon Scherff. 

Mostly. 

Selected fifth overall in 2015, the Redskins took Scherff to play right tackle and anchor the offensive line opposite Trent Williams. That idea quickly faded, helped by the emergence of Morgan Moses, and Scherff moved inside to play guard. For four years, it's worked out great, with Pro Bowl selections in 2016 and 2017. 

Scherff is a mauler in the best sense of the word. He has great footwork and Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has called the former Iowa Hawkeye the best pulling guard in the NFL. Scherff is strong and nasty, words that won't win beauty pageants but absolutely win in the trenches of the NFL. 

Considering all of that, a contract extension for Scherff should be easy. Right?

Wrong. 

Currently in the final year of his rookie deal, multiple reports stretching over the last six weeks indicate that the organization is way off in their extension offers to Scherff. He might not command the biggest contract in the league, but he will get paid like a top three guard. In 2019, that means a lot of money.

Cowboys guard Zach Martin makes $14 million a year. Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell makes $13.3 million a year. Scherff might not get to Martin's salary, but he will probably get to Norwell, whether Washington pays it or not.

That means the Redskins need to pony up the cash now because as each day passes, the team is approaching an ugly set of options. Scherff and his representatives might continue to negotiate during the season, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. Once free agency becomes in view, players tend to wait for it. Just ask Kirk Cousins. 

In fact, the situation between Scherff and the Redskins has some resemblance to the Cousins saga from a few years ago. 

In that case, Washington low-balled their homegrown quarterback in their first set of negotiations. From there, things went sideways, and the team used consecutive franchise tags on Cousins before he finally left via free agency. 

If the Redskins can't get a deal done with Scherff, the team could use a franchise tag in 2020. But that's a dangerous game of roulette. 

The time to get a deal done with Scherff is now, if not last month. Redskins team president has said in the past that deadlines drive deals, but with Scherff, there is no exact deadline. He can decide to stop working on a contract extension at any moment, particularly once the pads come on at training camp. 

The Trent Williams holdout might be complicating things a bit, if Williams only wants more cash and the issue isn't about much more than that. The truth is a Scherff extension would actually free up cap space in the short term, as his signing bonus would be spread out over the life of the contract, and some of that salary cap relief could go to Williams right away. 

Williams' status isn't the hold up between Scherff and the Redskins. Whatever is the actual holdup best be resolved soon, or the Redskins are beginning down an all too familiar franchise path.

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Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.

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