Last year, on the first play of the second half against the Giants, Eli Manning tried to throw a quick 2 yard stop route to Hakeem Nicks. For the play to work, a clean throwing lane would be preferable. And so, at the snap, you’ll see below that Kareem McKenzie will try to cut Kerrigan, forcing him to put his arms down so that Manning can fire in a pass with some zip and not have to worry about it being tipped at the line.
Unfortunately for the Giants, Kerrigan diagnosed exactly what they were trying to do, as he was able to avoid the cut block and instinctively throw his hands back up in the air as soon as humanly possible to try to get a hand on the ball. He wound up batting the ball in the air, locating it, catching and scoring, as the monotone Joe Buck will describe below:
This Sunday, Kerrigan made a similar play. On this play, the Falcons were running a screen to WR Harry Douglas, who was lined up in the Falcons backfield. RT Tyson Clabo does a poor job selling that he’s actually trying to block Kerrigan, and just lets him have a free run at his QB. Kerrigan can also see that Douglas has no interest in blocking him either, so Kerrigan knows something is up. He diagnoses that it’s a screen, so he stops pursuing Matt Ryan, and gets himself in between Ryan and Douglas… Tip. Catch. Score.
This looks like it’s basic football recognition here, and to some degree, it is. But most defensive ends would simply chase the QB. Ryan Kerrigan is disciplined beyond his age (24). Smart player, and maybe the Redskins’ best player on defense.