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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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Bruce Allen does not know why Redskins would expect suspension for Reuben Foster

Bruce Allen does not know why Redskins would expect suspension for Reuben Foster

MOBILE, Ala. — Florida authorities dropped domestic violence charges against Reuben Foster earlier this month, and for Redskins team president Bruce Allen, that should mean no NFL suspension.

Allen said as much when speaking with reporters on Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. 

"The league is still finishing their investigation of it," Allen said. "I don't know why we would expect a suspension, but we'll let the league finish up."

There is precedent for an NFL suspension regardless of legal action. Recent examples include a three-game suspension for Jameis Winston and a six-game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott.

The Cowboys tried to fight Elliott's suspension in the courts, but eventually, the NFL won. Winston and the Bucs did not appeal his suspension. 

Neither Winston or Elliott were ever charged with a crime, but the accusations against both included salacious details and possible sexual assault, and the NFL did not relent in their rulings. 

For Foster, in the last calendar year he has been arrested twice for separate incidents of domestic violence. The first case fell apart when testimony was recanted, and in the second case, charges were dropped. The 49ers released him after the second incident, and Washington swooped in to claim the linebacker off waivers. 

Throughout this process, the Redskins have maintained that Foster would not play for the organization if he was deemed guilty of any wrongdoing.

"Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the Burgundy and Gold as a player," Redskins VP of Personnel Doug Williams said in a November statement.

Allen said that the team conducted its own investigation then and expected Foster to be cleared. Now, Allen expects Foster to stay out of trouble. 

"We hold our players to a very high standard at the Redskins," the team president said. "We ask for a commitment that goes beyond the 60 minutes of a football game. Reuben understands what he has to do, and he's been doing it every day."

As a rookie in 2017, Foster played in 10 games and registered 72 tackles.

In 2018, Foster started the season on a suspension for a drug violation before playing six games. He logged 29 tackles but his year was cut short for injuries before landing on the commissioner's exempt list once the arrest in Florida happened. 

A first-round pick out of Alabama in 2017, Foster will be lined up with a number of his former college teammates on the Redskins. 

Assuming he gets through the offseason without any trouble, when Foster hits the field for Washington, he could be a major asset

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Bill Callahan should return as offensive line coach, answering one major question about Redskins' staff

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Bill Callahan should return as offensive line coach, answering one major question about Redskins' staff

Bill Callahan is expected to return to the Redskins for another season, taking care of one major question regarding Jay Gruden's staff.

Washington's offensive line coach of four years should be back for 2019, Bruce Allen told reporters at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

There had previously been much speculation that Callahan was on the outs.

Callahan came to D.C. in 2015 and has long been hailed as one of the league's top O-line gurus. His tenure with the Redskins has featured both positives and negatives.

Among the positives? Brandon Scherff has grown into an elite NFL guard, Morgan Moses earned a pricey contract extension and 2017 sixth-round pick Chase Roullier spent all of last year as the offense's starting center. And Trent Williams, of course, is still Trent Williams.

However, the unit has been decimated by injuries the past two seasons. Some wonder if Callahan's intense coaching — often times, he keeps his players for an extra 30 minutes after weekly practices — has something to do with it.

In addition, the Burgundy and Gold's running game has never really emerged as a dominant one for a 16-game schedule, and Callahan has always had a large role in that area.

Allen said Gruden's full complement of coaches will be finalized in a few weeks. The head coach wasn't at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday; instead, he was conducting interviews at the Redskins' Ashburn facility. 

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