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Yahoo: Kerrigan’s flexibility could work in ‘Skins defense


Audible_Red40

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ys-farrar_ryan_kerrigan_fits_redskins_defense_051911

In 2010, the Washington Redskins switched to a 3-4 defense under the supervision of new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. As with most circumstances in which a team tries to force a scheme on the wrong personnel, the experiment was a bit of a disaster – it gave Albert Haynesworth yet another reason to alienate himself from his coaching staff, and the ‘Skins fell from 11th to 26th in Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted defensive rankings. Like most supposed purveyors of the 3-4 defense, Haslett actually wound up calling a lot of 4-2-5 nickel concepts to fit his personnel and adjust for offensive tendencies.

Now a year removed from the change, the Redskins are charged with finding (or creating) players who fit the aggressive 3-4 ideas Haslett would prefer to run. And, in that regard, few draft-eligible players would understand the importance of that transition more than Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who the Redskins took with the 16th overall pick. After a 2010 season in which he put up 70 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 12½ sacks and five forced fumbles, Kerrigan started taking off weight and impressing in coverage drills as a 3-4 linebacker.

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Teams didn’t have a lot of footage on Kerrigan doing anything in five-man fronts (though he did line up as a wide nine-tech end in the style of Kyle Vanden Bosch. But one of the thoughts behind the switch to 3-4 ‘backer was that his motor was better than his selection of hand moves and that it would be wiser to get him outside the tackles, where he could use his speed and quick turn at the edge to harass quarterbacks on a regular basis. At the Senior Bowl, Kerrigan didn’t just dominate on the edge – he showed enough when dropping back for several 3-4 teams to start talking with him seriously.

But the sack Kerrigan put up at the Senior Bowl showed a player who will do just about anything to get to the quarterback from any position – in this case, Kerrigan took TCU’s Andy Dalton down near the end of the first half of the game by pinballing off Louisville running back Bilal Powell and Arkansas right tackle DeMarcus Love.

On the play, the South team set up in a four-receiver set, with the North defense lining up in a 4-2-5 nickel (wide linebacker on the slot), not unlike the plays Haslett runs in Washington. At the snap, Kerrigan blew past Love’s outside arc and actually took the block from Powell. Spinning off Powell took Kerrigan back inside the pocket, out of Love’s area, and right into Dalton’s face.

Kerrigan comes into the NFL with a proven ability to mess up enemy offenses as a 4-3 end, but if he can add the attributes common to 3-4 outside linebackers at the professional level, he could become the kind of indispensable defender necessary for any team to thrive on that side of the ball. And Kerrigan doing so in tandem with Brian Orakpo might give Washington that sack duo it’s been craving for years.

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Let's see, a pretty good base defense: Jenkins, Bryant, Carriker - Kerrigan, Riley, Fletcher, Orakpo - Hall, Landry, Atogwe, Barnes

A good nickle package: Orakpo, Jenkins, Bryant, Kerrigan - Riley, Fletcher - Hall, Landry, Atogwe, Barnes, Gomes

I'm liking the way the defense is panning out...

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Could work? It better work!

I am one of the skeptics - transitioning a 16th overall is our priority. The guy is a horse a stud and hopefully he works out. Watching our converted DE's as OLB's last year has me skeptical. Did anyone like how our slimmed down Carter Rak Alexander or Wilson looked backing up into coverage? Wasnt Haslet a 4-3 guy? Without a NT, I wonder how the hell our 3-4 is going to work, an exercise in futility. I guess we will use our slimmed OLB's at DE in those 4-2-5 fronts again. Which look was largely ineffective last year.

It still seems easier to just go back to the 4-3. Where this kid and all the others we have on defense have done so well.

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Sounds like we might have a chance on the edges. I wonder how we'll be up the middle.

I thought Bryant was playing good football towards the end of the year. And if this Jenkins kid does what they say he can do, we have the opportunity to be decent.

I do worry about our other two linebackers. I love London but he is playing on borrowed time.

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I thought Bryant was playing good football towards the end of the year. And if this Jenkins kid does what they say he can do, we have the opportunity to be decent.

I do worry about our other two linebackers. I love London but he is playing on borrowed time.

Agreed. How our defense plays really depends on the young guys we have in the fold. It's also my hope that we can bring in a veteran or two to compete for playing time at the ILB positions.

I cannot imagine how much it would hurt if London were to (god forbid) miss any time. :doh:

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Let's see, a pretty good base defense: Jenkins, Bryant, Carriker - Kerrigan, Riley, Fletcher, Orakpo - Hall, Landry, Atogwe, Barnes

A good nickle package: Orakpo, Jenkins, Bryant, Kerrigan - Riley, Fletcher - Hall, Landry, Atogwe, Barnes, Gomes

I'm liking the way the defense is panning out...

I agree 100% our D could be very productive and most importantly fun to watch again HTTR.

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I agree 100% our D could be very productive and most importantly fun to watch again HTTR.

I also agree. I think it will be a process but we are on the right track. I believe one key to greatly improving our D would be to get NA to play opposite D. Hall. I believe this would give Rak and Kerrigan the extra half a second to get to the QB. I also like that he is still young and we wouldn't be signing another free agent past his prime. By the way Hulk... LOVE THE SIG!!! I crack up every time I see it. HTTR!

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I just find it amazing how so many ppl were sure that he wouldn't fit into this defense with out seeing him in even one practice...lol sheesh!!

I find it amazing that so many Kerrigan (college) articles refer to his knowing the whole D, practising in coverage even though he was a DE and to top it off he lost weight for draft and yet some people are adamant he will struggle in Washington. Certainly Ryan Kerrigan thinks he fits as an OLB in a 3-4.

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Almost every 34 OLB in the NFL is a converted DE. Will Kerrigan be able to do it? Don't know tell he does but the indications are good. There is a long list of college stars that never make it n the NFL playing the exact same position they did in college so it's a crap shoot for all of them. They're all just educated guesses, I believe we hit on this one.

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Almost every 34 OLB in the NFL is a converted DE. Will Kerrigan be able to do it? Don't know tell he does but the indications are good. There is a long list of college stars that never make it n the NFL playing the exact same position they did in college so it's a crap shoot for all of them. They're all just educated guesses, I believe we hit on this one.

Exactly, i'm not 100% sure on him either. But from what i've heard about his ability and work ethic, i do have a good feeling about him.

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I find it amazing that so many Kerrigan (college) articles refer to his knowing the whole D, practising in coverage even though he was a DE and to top it off he lost weight for draft and yet some people are adamant he will struggle in Washington. Certainly Ryan Kerrigan thinks he fits as an OLB in a 3-4.

Indeed. Anthony Spencer went the same ****ing school as him and he eventually made the transition, and he's got a few pluses over Spencer.

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Indeed. Anthony Spencer went the same ****ing school as him and he eventually made the transition, and he's got a few pluses over Spencer.

I'm not familiar with Anthony Spencer. What's the general consensus regarding his level of play?

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