Interview: Washington Football LB Ryan Kerrigan

ASHBURN, VA -- August 11, 2020, Washington Football Team linebacker Ryan Kerrigan speaks to the media.

On surprise differences during training camp this year:

“I mean, the whole process is different, obviously. It’s August 11th and we haven’t even put helmets on yet. So, that whole factor of the process alone is the biggest one. I feel like we’re in the same spot as everyone else in the league and just kind of adjusting to what’s going on right now.”

On LB Ryan Anderson playing defensive end:

“He’s looked good in the little bit that we’ve been able to do. It’s been a lot of walk through tempo type things, so it’s tough to get a great gauge but he’s looked good. He looks fast, he looks athletic. He’s done well so far.”

On the talented defensive line this season:

“It’s cool. We’re really deep at this position so it’s exciting. We’ve got a chance to be pretty darn good up front and not just on the edges but on the interior, too. DT Matt [Ioannidis], DT [Daron] Payne, DT [Jonathan Allen], and all those guys, big DT Tim [Settle]—we’ve got a chance to be good up front, not just on the edges but up front, too.”

On his role in the defense and chasing the sack record for Washington:

“As far as my role, I’m planning on being a playmaker. I’m planning on being out there a lot and making a lot of plays. That’s how I trained this offseason, that’s how I’m approaching camp right now and that’s how I’m anticipating going into this season. As far as the sack record, obviously I want it. I know I’m only one and a half, two away so, yeah, I want it because that’s a step in what I want to accomplish this season.”

On where he can excel the most in the defense with more playmakers this year:

“Any snap you’re out there is a chance to make a play. Really any given play you can change the game. No matter when I’m out there, however many plays a game that is, I’m out there and trying to make plays. That’s the approach I’m taking now and how I’ll always take.”

On getting to know a new coaching staff:

“I think it’s very important. Obviously, I want to be here. I’ve made that clear. I’ve made that clear privately, I’ve made that clear publicly. I want to be here through the good and bad. I want to show these coaches that they’re someone they can rely on not only this year but going forward as well.”

On reflecting on his consecutive games played streak:

“I’ve reflected on it at different points throughout the offseason. It bums me out that it’s done because that’s something I take a lot of pride in because I really work hard to take care of my body, not just in season but out of season. It’s really an everyday thing, not just in season but out of season. So, I really took pride in being available for every game. It bums me out that it’s over, but it’s something I had to put behind me because it’s done. I’ve got to focus on these next games and make sure I’m available moving forward.”

On if one area on the defense will be most impacted by shortened training camp:

“Not one part in particular. I think we’re all right now just trying to make sure we get the defense installed, make sure we know our assignments so we can play fast. If you know what you have to do on a play you can play a lot faster than if you’re uncertain of what you have to do. I think we’re using these days where it’s more of a walk through tempo to really get not only physically ready but mentally ready so that way when we start doing the real practices in the coming weeks we’re mastering the defense and mastering our assignments.”

On the locker room setup:

“It’s a lot different. We’re kind of all spread out over the locker room. We’ve got a couple lockers in between each guy, which I think is smart. You want to keep as much space as possible, obviously. Guys have been pretty good about wearing masks, keeping their distancing so that’s been encouraging to me from the start because guys want to have the season. They’re doing their job.”

On if anyone is standing out on offense:

“It’s tough to say because we haven’t really been working against our offense at all. We see them a little bit in our conditioning drills before we start our football stuff, but I can’t really give a good analysis. QB Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] obviously looks like he’s in better, good physical shape. That was one of the first things I noticed when I saw him in the locker room the other day. He looks like he really did a good job training this offseason. As far as training against guys, we haven’t really had as much experience yet. So it’s to be determined. I’ll have a better answer for you next week, I’d imagine.”

On challenges young quarterbacks face to transition to the NFL:

“It seems like the biggest thing for a lot of guys, especially offensively, is learning the scheme and learning the playbook. From what I’ve heard, it’s a lot more advanced and there’s a lot more nuances coming from the college game to the pro game. So, that’s a big transition coming from college.”

On adjusting his conditioning regime in quarantine:

“Once some aspects of the lockdown were lifted I was able to get back in the gym. I was really honing in on my mobility, that’s been one of the big things as I’ve gotten older in my career I’ve wanted to work on my mobility, my thoracic mobility, my hip mobility. Hopefully, that can allow me to not only play longer in the league, but still play at a high level.”

On having a strong presence from the starting quarterback:

“It’s the role that’s kind of expected out of a quarterback. The plays are largely dictated by what the quarterback does in a certain play, so we’re looking at the quarterback to not only make plays on the field but to be that leader that most teams need. You look around the league and I think quarterbacks are just generally viewed as leaders. I think Dwayne has those qualities.”

On what the coaching staff wants to see from him:

“I’m sure they just want to see if you can still play. With this kind of narrative of guys that get older in the NFL, you think they’re going to start slowing down. I guess that’s where I have to kind of prove that I’m still a productive player and someone that can still be a difference maker not only this year but moving forward.”

On mentoring younger guys on the team:

“It’s started to come more naturally over the years. I’m not a real vocal guy as it is, but as I’ve gotten more experience in the league and as I’ve accomplished more I feel more comfortable sharing with guys, ‘OK this is how I was able to play all those games in a row and this is how I’m able to feel good Week 1 and Week 17.’ I’ve been just trying to impart that on a lot of guys, especially DE Chase [Young]. I’ve been around Chase a lot in these first couple weeks. He’s a guy who wants this information. He wants to know how he can be great, so I want to impart as much as I can on him and help him accomplish all he can accomplish because, you guys know this is no secret, the sky’s the limit for that guy. G Brandon Scherff, it’s been cool he’s really started to take care of his body really well and he’s realizing the importance of getting in early and getting your body ready for the day so you not only feel good for practice that day but you recover faster for the next day. He’s doing a good job and I’m proud of the way he’s handling himself.”

On the social responsibility to stay healthy throughout the pandemic:

“It’s huge. People think it’s what we do here at the [facility] that’s important, but really, we’re taking all the protocols here at the [facility]. It’s how you’re handling it away from [the facility], how you’re handling it at home. I imagine for a lot of us guys that are married it’s a little easier because you’ve got your wife and your kids at home, so you kind of stay home most days of the week in the season anyway. But, I imagine for the guys that are young and single it’s hard because they want to go out and go out to dinner and what not. You’ve just got to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions and mask up. We’re all dependent on each other to have a season, so we’ve really got to be responsible not only here but socially.”

On wearing new Washington Football Team gear:

“I mean, you catch yourself saying, ‘Redskins’ a ton, but ultimately, I’m cool with the change. I like it. I think the name is actually kind of cool, ‘Washington Football Team.’ I know a lot of soccer teams have you know different names that are, ‘FC’ and what not. So, I think it’s kind of cool. I’ve got to be a part of one tradition, and I hope to be a part of this one going forward.”

On checking his ego proving himself as a veteran player:

“I think that’s a good way of putting it. You’ve really got you humble yourself. You’ve got to realize this game, you’ve got to prove yourself year in and year out. What you did for how many years, it doesn’t matter as much anymore when you’re trying to prove yourself for this next season. I think that’s a good way of putting it.”

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