Ryan Kerrigan is good. And smart.

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.


  1. Benj says:

    I had a class with him back during his senior year at Purdue. Seriously an awesome dude and nice as can be.

    Oh, and he spent the off-season going back to school and finishing his degree (how many first round picks do that?). I saw him walking around one morning and barely recognized him (wavy hair!?). I mentioned that it must be nice coming back to finish, except this time he’s a college student with a million or so in the bank. Needless to say, I tried to get him to go out to the bars with my friends and I (perhaps a free shot or two…or thirty). Sadly, he related that the college bar scene holds tons of bad things for an NFL player, and declined, but oh what could have been. Sucks I have to watch him attack my QB twice a year though.

  2. Ryan Kerrigan is soft-spoken off the field but plays every single play as hard as he can. Whats amazing is that without an off-season and forced to transition from DE to OLB, Kerrigan did not miss a SINGLE SNAP on defense in 2011 and has yet to miss a snap in 2012.

    He has been on the field for every single play of his career and continues to get better and better. What a player.

  3. Horatius says:

    What’s remarkable is that he had no offseason to speak of and a position change to OLB and he does that in his first game.

  4. Kerrigan was on my “wish list” for the Eagles that draft. Nice to see the kid already emerging as a star.

  5. Giants Fan says:

    On that play vs the Giants, we all said Barry Cofield gave the Giants playcalls to the Redskins (very probably) but in light of recent events, we gotta give Kerrigan some credit.

    This breakdown also knocks Osi down a peg. Against the Eagles, they didn’t block Osi, who raced towards Vick, giving McCoy the outside lane to run free. He should have recognize that something is up.

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