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Why Eagles’ leaders think Ryan Kerrigan will make overarching impact on roster


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Why Eagles’ leaders think Ryan Kerrigan will make overarching impact on roster

Posted May 22, 2021
Da'Ron Payne

Former Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles this week.AP

When Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon first discussed the roster with GM Howie Roseman back in January, they stressed the importance of character.
While talent is obviously important, talented players wash out of the NFL in droves every year. That’s why Sirianni and Gannon were determined to get the right people -- and in turn, the right players -- in the NovaCare Complex.
Former Washington pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan, who signed a one-year deal with the Eagles this week, fit the character model that the coaching collective was looking for.
"I wanted to get Ryan here a lot,” Gannon said Thursday. "The number one reason is the person that he is.”
Sirianni and Gannon want to create a positive locker room culture, and Kerrigan, 32, is a strong leadership voice to add to the mix. Oh, and he’s pretty good on the field, too.
In his 10 seasons in Washington, Kerrigan collected 95.5 sacks, which is the franchise’s all-time career mark. He made four Pro Bowls, wreaking havoc on the NFC East in the process. In 19 career games against the Eagles, Kerrigan produced 13.5 sacks.
Right tackle Lane Johnson, who has battled Kerrigan for eight years, is happy to have his former rival in Philadelphia.
"I was honestly surprised that Washington let him go,” Johnson said. "But having him on our side now will do us a lot of good, I think, later down the road in the season.”
Kerrigan will work into the Eagles’ pass-rushing rotation opposite fellow Pro Bowl lineman Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat and sixth-round pick Tarron Jackson.
Graham, the Eagles’ longest-tenured player, is glad to have Kerrigan on his side.
"I love that,” Graham said. "You can’t have too many pass rushers. I hear people talk about us using him how we used Chris Long (from 2017-18), and Chris Long was a beast. Kerrigan is a beast. He’s been with Washington 10-plus years and to see him on the other side now with us, I know I’m excited, because I know what he brings to the table.”
While Kerrigan might cut into the other defensive ends’ playing time, Graham is looking forward to the competition that he will bring training camp. Kerrigan is going to push Graham, Barnett and Sweat to be better, more productive players.
"You’ve got to have that competition in your room,” Graham said. "I’ve been here long enough to know that.”
Kerrigan has been a stand-up rusher for the majority of his career.
While the Eagles are expected to use four down-linemen, Kerrigan offers them the excuse to be a bit more creative with their attack on opposing quarterbacks.
The Eagles could use Kerrigan as a fifth pass rusher at linebacker, sending him forward on regular blitzes. They could also use Kerrigan as a pre-snap weapon, selling a rush, before moving him into coverage once the ball is snapped.
Kerrigan’s versatility could make him an X factor for Gannon, a first-time play-caller.
"He’s a hard guy to block, he’s extremely intelligent,” Gannon said. "I’m looking forward to getting our hands on him and working with him.”


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