Ryan Kerrigan wants to make strides in second season

His rookie season now a thing of the past, Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan aims to make the jump from solid rookie to impactful veteran.

The 16th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Kerrigan last season recorded 63 tackles, 7.5 sacks, a team-high four forced fumbles and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.

Although pleased with those numbers, Kerrigan believes he could have done more.

“Last year, I certainly did some good things, but I also had some games where I didn’t do much at all,” Kerrigan said on Thursday. “I want to be more consistent, play each game at a high level and be productive for this team.”


Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is hoping his game makes the leap in 2012. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

“I’ve just got to be detailed at practice, really, really hone in on my skills, because I know what I need to do, and now it’s just a matter of doing it,” Kerrigan said. “A lot is expected because I’m not a rookie anymore. There’s not that little side note by my name anymore. I’ve got to come out and compete.”

Kerrigan last season proved himself as the ideal complement to Brian Orakpo, who recorded a team-high nine sacks while rushing from the opposite end. Their efforts helped free up linemen for an increased number of sacks, and also helped Washington’s defense improve from 31st in the league in 2010 to 13th overall in 2011.

Kerrigan believes that improvement on his part can help the defense move further up in the rankings.

Fellow linebacker London Fletcher said he fully believes Kerrigan’s expectations are realistic.

“Ryan is going to be so much better because [as a rookie], he was going from a hand-on-the-ground 4-3 rush end to a stand-up 3-4 outside linebacker,” Fletcher said. “That transition was big for him, but he did well. He did great. He played more snaps than anybody on that defense. He’s going to be even better this year. As good as he was last year, he’ll be even better just because of the experience he had last year.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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