Ryan Kerrigan stepped up to the microphone on Tuesday to talk about a range of topics in a quick-paced media session with local beat reporters.
As Kerrigan enters his tenth year in the league, he talked about how “weird” this off-season has been — and don’t forget that he was drafted in the 2011 lockout year. Kerrigan talked about his teammates, spending time answering questions about Chase Young and Dwayne Haskins in particular, but he also talked quite a bit about himself, his goals and his future with the team.
Ryan Kerrigan wasn’t shy about saying that he wants to set the franchise all-time sack record this season as part of achieving all of his goals. He reiterated that he likes being a Washington player and that he hopes to stay around beyond 2020, which is a contract year for him. He discussed the challenges of continuing to impress people as an ‘older’ player, and spoke frankly about the need to impress the new coaching staff.
The veteran defensive end also talked about his role as a leader, saying that he’s never been particularly vocal, but that he has always tried to lead by example, and that he has found that many of the younger players like Chase Young are eager for knowledge about how to take care of their bodies and stay healthy year after year. Kerrigan says he has shared his experiences freely.
This discussion led to a question about the end of Kerrigan’s “iron man” streak of consecutive games that had dated back to his 2011 rookie season, but which came to an end with an injury last year. Kerrigan talked about being disappointed, but also philosophical, saying that all he can do is get back to work.
He also talked about leadership and teamwork in protecting everyone in the organization from the COVID pandemic, saying that the protocols at Ashburn are strict enough to maintain everyone’s health, and that the real concern is what people do away from the headquarters. He almost laughed about being settled down with a family, saying that he and other older players pretty much stay at home with the family every night anyway, and that he imagines that it’s more of a struggle for the young single guys on the team.
Of course, he wasn’t going to get away from the podium without a question about the name change, and RyKer surprised me a little bit by saying that the Washington Football Team moniker is “kinda cool”. He said that he sometimes slips and still refers to the team as the Redskins, but that he’s open to the new direction.
This was a good interview with a guy who clearly commands respect from his teammates, his coaches and the media members asking the questions. There was an underlying tone of recognition in the Q&A session of Ryan Kerrigan being closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but it was a discussion that the player didn’t shy away from. He clearly has come to grips with his leadership role, his changing on-field role, and the challenges of proving to everyone that he still has what it takes to get it done on an NFL playing field.
He seems to be positive, upbeat, looking forward to the coming season, and signing another contract that will keep him in Washington going forward.
Training Camp Press Conference - Ryan Kerrigan https://t.co/MXFn6R9wEI— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 11, 2020
The weirdest part
Ryan Kerrigan said the weirdest part of training camp so far is the fact it's Aug. 11 and they haven't even put helmets on.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 11, 2020
Kerrigan said the defensive front is deep and they have a chance to be good up front on the interior and edge.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 11, 2020
The franchise sack record
Ryan Kerrigan says he plans on being a playmaker for Washington in 2020. On approaching Washington's sack record: "I want it."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 11, 2020
Ryan Kerrigan when asked about role for this season says “I plan on being a playmaker”— John Keim (@john_keim) August 11, 2020
Kerrigan is 1.5 sacks away from being the franchise leader. Obviously, he said, he wants to get the record. It's just another goal that he has on his list for 2020.— Zach Selby (@ZachDSelby) August 11, 2020
DE Ryan Kerrigan likes that there's a lot of competition at DE this season, but he's also still hoping to set the Washington franchise sack record. He's one away from DE Dexter Manley (91).— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) August 11, 2020
"I want it."
Football Teamer for life
Kerrigan says he’s made it clear privately and publicly that he wants to remain here. “Want to show the coaches I’m someone they can rely on.”— John Keim (@john_keim) August 11, 2020
Ryan Kerrigan believes the coaching staff wants to see if he can still play. He wants to prove he can be a difference maker and make plays.— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 11, 2020
Ryan Kerrigan said you "have to humble yourself" to come to grips with still having to prove yourself at this stage. "what you did for many years doesn't matter as much when trying to prove yourself for this season."— John Keim (@john_keim) August 11, 2020
The interruption to the iron-man streak
Ryan Kerrigan saw his consecutive game streak end last season with a concussion. He's had time to reflect on it: "It bums me out that it's done. ... I really took pride in being available for every game."— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 11, 2020
Coping with COVID
More Haskins on Dwayne: "Quarterbacks are generally viewed as leaders, and I think Dwayne has those qualities."— Kyle Stackpole (@kylefstackpole) August 11, 2020
Locker room leadership
The name change is “kinda cool”
DE Ryan Kerrigan says he catches himself using Washington's old team name sometimes, but he doesn't mind the change.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) August 11, 2020
"I'm cool with it. The [new] name's kind of cool. ... I got to be part of one tradition, and I get to be part of a new tradition moving forward."