It’s nothing fancy, but it does the trick for him. He gets to the stadium and does some running and stretching roughly two hours before kickoff. He’ll return to the locker room, say a few prayers, suit up, and just before re-emerging, the second-year pro scrolls through his iPod and selects Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day.”
Redskins’ Ryan Kerrigan wants to prove he’s full of good days with Brian Orakpo sidelined
Kerrigan uses the 1993 hit to help him both focus and relax.
“I try to get myself in the mind frame that it’s going to be a good day,” said Kerrigan, whom the Redskins selected out of Purdue with the 16th overall draft pick in 2011. “I heard the song one day in the offseason and I was going to play some golf, and I heard it and I said, ‘You know what, this is going to be a good day.’ And I played pretty well, for me. I decided, that’s my pregame song this season.”
After selecting that tune, the young pass rusher recorded sacks in two of the three preseason games he played in. He also recorded a sack in each of the first two regular season games.
Kerrigan hopes he can emerge from this Sunday’s game sayingit was a good day. But things just got a lot more complicated for him with fellow outside linebacker Brian Orakpo out for the remainder of the year with a torn pectoral muscle.
The Redskins last season drafted Kerrigan last year to serve as a much-needed Robin to Orakpo’s Batman. Orakpo had been lacking a complementary pass rusher, so offenses could devote the bulk of their attention to the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker and, for the most part, keep their quarterback clean.
But last season, the defense had more balance. Orakpo recorded nine sacks and Kerrigan added 7.5 as the unit improved from 31st in total defense in 2010 to 13th overall in 2011. Redskins officials came away from the 2011 season and looked to 2012 with the belief that they indeed had found their dynamic duo.
But those plans are now on hold.
Kerrigan is now thrust into the leading role, and backups Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson will alternate as his sidekick.
“He’ll probably get more attention from the offensive line as far as sliding to his side, protecting, chipping with a back or tight end,” inside linebacker London Fletcher speculates. “He has to be aware of those things now.”
Kerrigan is aware, but tries not to think about it. He knows his coaches expect him to step up, but as he did last year and prior to Orakpo’s injury this year, Kerrigan is trying to focus on executing rather than worrying about the magnitude of his role.
“You really can’t put too much pressure on yourself because then you really start to stress out. When I saw ’Rak and Carriker first went down, at first I started thinking, ‘Okay, I’ve got to do this.’ I was kind of wearing myself out. But I’ve just got to go out there and do my job.”
Kerrigan chooses to focus on the fact that he was already expected to have a greater impact this season, with or without Orakpo on the field.