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Redskins LB Kerrigan's strong second half draws praise from Gruden

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Redskins LB Kerrigan's strong second half draws praise from Gruden

Ryan Kerrigan continued his recent surge in the sack dept. Sunday in Chicago and, in the process, joined some pretty elite company.

Kerrigan recorded a sack, a tackle for loss and four quarterback pressures in the Redskins’ 24-21 victory over the Bears. The sack was Kerrigan’s fourth in four games, boosted his season total to 7.5 and made him just the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 7.5 sacks in each of his first 5 NFL seasons. The others on that list? DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas and Reggie White.

Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said Kerrigan's improving health likely has something to do with his improving stats.  

“He did miss some [sack] opportunities early on [in the season], plus he missed all of preseason [after getting his knee scoped],” Gruden said Monday. “We were trying to rest him with his knee and all that stuff. [But] I think he’s getting back in the flow.”

Kerrigan’s sack came early in the third quarter with the Redskins ahead 14-7. On the play, he simply beat Bears tackle Kyle Long around the outside and took down Jay Cutler before the quarterback had time to react.

Kerrigan’s sack total ties him with Cliff Avril, Justin Houston and Whitney Mercilus for 14th most in the league. Kerrigan has also recorded 18 quarterback pressures the past four games, giving him 39 for the season, according to ProFootballFocus.com. That puts him sixth among all 3-4 outside linebackers behind Tamba Hali, Khalil Mack, Houston, Pernell McPhee and Von Miller.

MORE REDSKINS: 3RD DOWN CONVERSIONS VITAL IN WIN VS. CHICAGO

But, as Gruden said, sacks and pressures aren’t the only numbers the Redskins use to measure Kerrigan’s value.

“He’s a consistent player for us,” Gruden said. “He’s very good in the running game, and like I’ve said before, it’s not about his sacks. His presence is felt quite often throughout the course of a football game.”

Gruden added: “In the running game, you see him on the backside making tackles, on the frontside forcing the ball back into our big guys. He does a great job in the running game. In the passing game, he is occupying chip blocks, which is taking receivers out of the [play] and he’s doing a good job of making the quarterback step up to other people.”

One such play came during a critical juncture late in the fourth quarter. With the Bears facing a third-and-seven in Redskins’ territory, Kerrigan bull-rushed the left tackle, forcing Cutler to step up into an oncoming Chris Baker and Preston Smith. Cutler rushed the pass, which fell incomplete and left the Bears with a 50-yard field goal attempt. Which, of course, Robbie Gould missed to preserve the win.  

“I like where Ryan is at,” Gruden said. “He is getting better and better and I think he is feeling healthier and healthier as the season is going on.”

MORE REDSKINS: GRUDEN THINKS COUSINS COULD HAVE AVOIDED HIS INTERCEPTION

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

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Various sources

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Cousins and leadership, D-line potential

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, July 21, five days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

How the addition of Alexander affects the Redskins' DB depth chart—Adonis Alexander was brought into the NFL about a week and a half ago and in five days he’ll be on the practice field in Richmond. How much will missing OTAs and minicamp hurt him in comparison to, say, his former Hokie teammate Greg Stroman? I think that the plan is for this to be a “redshirt” year for Alexander to learn. But that was supposed to be the plan for Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chase Roullier last year and both ended up playing key snaps. 

Can the Redskins defensive line live up to its potential? Many NFL fans don’t appreciate the value of having a good defensive line. Redskins fans are not in that group because they have seen what you get when you try to build a defensive line with over-the-hill veteran free agents, low draft picks, and undrafted players. Fans will value the talent, youth, and depth on the 2018 D-line.  

10 Questions in 10 days: LB depth chart—This is another area where the Redskins have not invested much in recent seasons. At least this year they stepped up and re-signed starters Mason Foster and Zach Brown. They are the present. Are Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons the future? 

The pass rush must continue to be a strength for the Redskins—With the picture at the cornerback position is somewhat murky right now, the pass rush will be critical, especially in the early going. The outside linebackers lost a key reserve, putting the burden on Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan to continue to get pressure on Ryan Anderson to take a leap forward in his second season. 

Tweet of the week

Well, this tweet did sort of stir things up as did some of the things that Cousins said in an article by Dan Pompei on the Bleacher Report. The thing about Twitter is that there is no room for nuance. I was labeled a Kirk “hater” by some. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. On multiple occasions, I urged the team to sign him long term and highlighted the positive aspects of his play. 

But this thing about not having a “platform” to lead always struck me as a cop-out. Cousins talked about it during some press conferences while he was here. The length of your contract should not prevent you from embracing a leadership role. You’re getting paid to lead, just do it. Few in leadership positions in business or in the military know where they will be a year from now. They embrace the role while they have it and Cousins should have done the same. 

The fact that I don’t like this one aspect of Cousins doesn’t mean that I don’t like him overall. He’s a good quarterback and I think he will have success with the Vikings. I think that the price got to be too much for the Redskins and the decision to move on to Alex Smith was sound or at least the best they could do after it became apparent that he was not going to sign here. But it’s not all one or the other. It is possible to see the positive and negative of Cousins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

Timeline

Mike Sellers, whose seven receiving touchdowns in 2005 were the most by a Redskins running back since the merger, was born on this date in 1975.

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 5
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 19
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 42

The Redskins last played a game 202 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 50 days. 

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Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

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USA Today Sports Images

Vernon Davis pulls off memorable proposal in Ocean City

Vernon Davis has long been a fan favorite in the D.C. area since his University of Maryland days. The 34-year-old is almost always well-dressed and respectful to the media. 

More recently, he has been outspoken about his interest in acting after his football career. A true renaissance man who just so happens to be a force in the National Football League. 

In April, NBC Sports Washington ran into Davis at the Team USA Awards where he was serving as guest speaker. 

He took his smooth nature to a whole new level Tuesday while vacationing in Ocean City, Md. with his girlfriend Kayla. 

Dressed in all white on the beach, Davis proposed in an epic way. 

The best motivation I ever had. #shesmyrock

A post shared by Vernon Davis (@vernondavis85) on

Check out the whole video produced below. We won't spoil it for you, but there were skydivers involved. Take a look: 

Davis will suit up for his third season with the Redskins when training camp opens July 26 in Richmond.