WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Along with a new head coach, the Redskins are facing a string of defensive changes in Washington.
Namely, they’ll have to do without probably retiring team leader London Fletcher, and quite possibly, free agent linebacker Brian Orakpo.
Another member of that core, who has perhaps most benefited from their presence, and could also stand to lose the most from their departures, is three-year veteran linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.
With 24.5 sacks in his first three seasons, and coming off an 8.5 sack 2013 season, Kerrigan has been able to consistently capitalize off the attention Orakpo commands from opposing offensive linemen.
Kerrigan was asked, in an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Friday, if he’s thought about life without Orakpo, who could potentially be parting for greener pastures, if a team in need of a versatile 3-4 linebacker with experience with his hand in the dirt comes calling this offseason.
“I know Rak’s gotta do what he’s got to do,” Kerrigan said. “Hopefully they can get something done in Washington so he can be here because I love playing alongside him, I love being able to watch him everyday in practice and learn things from him, but at the same time, he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family.”
Immediately after, Kerrigan was asked about the thought of losing Fletcher to retirement.
“It’s definitely gonna be different,” he said. “I mean he’s all I know coming in the NFL. I’m a fortunate guy to be able to come into the league and learn the ropes from a guy like London, so it’s gonna be different without him, but that just means guys like myself, and whoever else is gonna be here, have to pick it up.”
Newly introduced head coach Jay Gruden asserted his desire yesterday for the Redskins defense to continue working out of the 3-4, to which Kerrigan seems to be pleased.
“It’s hard to run against,” he said. “I mean all gaps are accounted for in the 34 defense, while when everyone is gap-responsible, so it’s really tough to run against. When you’re not sure what outside linebacker is coming a lot of the time, so it’s really hard for an offense to prepare against, because you don’t know where the pressure’s coming from a lot of the time, and then also, it’s really hard to run against.”