Second-year Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan stopped by the Comcast SportsNet studios last week and talked to us about the upcoming season.
You’ve talked about the need to get more consistent. What specifically do you have to do to accomplish that?
It’s just little things. It’s taking a good pad level every snap, good hand placement. It’s just little things. Not false stepping when I’m coming out of my stance and being able to produce week in and week out.
Are we talking about improving technique, more reps?
It is a technical thing, for the most part. I’ve got to really hone in on my skills and techniques throughout training camp and try to get it down to where it’s every time, not just a sometimes thing.
There was no offseason program last year, your rookie season, due to the lockout. Do you appreciate the value of the program now that you’ve been through it?
I do think that having the offseason is very valuable for rookies coming in, not necessarily from a physical standpoint but from a mental standpoint. Last year we were installing every day during training camp but now we’ve installed most of the defense, now we’re just mastering them, we’re not learning them as much a we’re mastering them. That’s what’s going to be the key for us.
Lou Spanos left his job as LB coach to become the defensive coordinator at UCLA. How are things different under new linebackers coach Bob Slowik?
We all know Lou, and Lou is a heck of a guy and I hope he does well, I know he will, at UCLA. But coach Slowik is a very good coach. I say I need to work on technique, then he’s a good coach for me because he’s very technically sound, he knows where you need to be and not just knowing what I need to do to do something better but how I need to do it. So that’s big for me and I’m really lucky to have him from that standpoint. He’s coached a lot of really great players and some great defenses so he’s a good addition for our linebacker group.
Many have said that the Redskins have one of the very best linebacker corps in the league. Do you guys take pride in that?
Absolutely. I think every group will say that they want to be the best but we really, really take pride in it because we feel like with the guys we have coming back, a 15-year guy in London Fletcher, one of the best linebackers to play the game. Brian Orakpo coming off of one side and then Perry Riley, who really played well in the back half of last season. We’re really excited about the depth, too, with Rob Jackson and Markus White.
How is rookie Keenan Robinson doing?
He’s looking pretty good. What I appreciate out of Keenan is that he’s come in and he does extra things. He watches extra film, he does extra things to take care of his body that are not necessarily required of him but it will help him perform better. That will pay off for him down the road if he keeps learning and keeps taking care of himself physically he has a chance to have a long and successful career. I always like to see what a guy does that’s not required of him, what he does on his own that he knows will help himself and will help the team. I see that out of Keenan.
If the offense becomes more dynamic with RG3 at quarterback, will the defense benefit by being able to play with the lead more often
Whether we have the lead or not we have to perform but when teams have to drop back and throw the ball that’s an ideal situation for not only myself because I’m a pass rusher but for the way our defense is designed, that’s what it’s for. So we’re excited about the addition of Griffin because he’s the Heisman Trophy winner, he was a heck of a college player. From what I’ve seen throughout OTA’s an minicamp, hopefully he can be a heck of a pro, too.
What about going up against RG3 in practice?
It will be tough but I guess it will be good practice for when we play Philly with Michael Vick because he’s a heck of a runner, an heck of an athlete but a really great quarterback, too. Not just an athlete, he has a heck of an arm.
You’ll be in your second year playing opposite Brian Orakpo. How do your games compliment each other?
We both attack the passer with different kinds of rushes. He’s a really explosive, really powerful guy and I try to use some power but I use my hands a lot. We both can compliment each other very well and this team is really depending on us this year to step it up.
Are you getting more used to playing linebacker rather than defensive end?
It’s starting to become more natural. That’s what gets me excited this year because last year was the first year of my whole life I never played with my hand in the dirt. It was tough at first to generate the same kind of power vs. when you’re in a three-point stance. I’m glad that I’ve had OTA’s to work on it and perfect it because I feel myself getting better.
Is pass coverage one of the things that is coming more naturally to you?
It is. The way our defense is designed I’m never put in a position where they think I’m in a bad matchup. It’s feeling more natural and I’m feeling more natural in space.