Never fully satisfied with any performance, Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is driven to be elite and will not accept anything less from himself.
Ryan Kerrigan has set out his expectations for himself. A five-year veteran who signed a contract extension with the Redskins in the offseason, Kerrigan saw his first game action of the year last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, recording two tackles, a pass deflection and a half-sack.
The Purdue product's had two key plays on the day, recording a tackle on 4th-and-1 at the 12-yard line to stall a Dolphins drive that would eventually start a 17-play scoring drive for the Redskins, and he also had a heads up play to keep a wild fumble play alive that rookie Preston Smith would eventualy recover.
Still, Kerrigan wasn't fully pleased with his performance.
"I just felt like a guy out there," Kerrigan said. "I just felt like an 11th guy, didn't really do my part and that's disappointing because we work too hard. We played too well, defensively, offensively, the whole team played too well, then its rude for me to have a performance like that."
Jason Hatcher didn't see it that way, though, especially on the fumble recovery.
On 3rd-and-12, Hatcher's bull-rush, combined with Smith's stunt, quickly got them in the face of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Smith would strip the ball from Tannehill's possession before it started traveling downfield unattended.
Dolphins left tackle Branden Albert tried to secure control of it, but Kerrigan's tackle on him would force it free once again.
"It was a lot of smart plays by Ryan," Hatcher said. "The offensive line [was] about to dive on the ball and he hit him as he was about to dive on the ball. I saw the offensive line dive on the ball and I hit him and we came out on the right end of the ball and we recovered. I think it was smart by me and Ryan what we did there."
The defense as a whole proved both physical and able to withstand the Dolphins' balanced attack, as they held Miami to just 74 rushing yards on 18 carries and surrendered just one touchdown.
"Yeah, we did some good things out there, had those couple of big plays," Kerrigan said. "Thought Hatch played a tremendous game, he was in the backfield all day long and hopefully we can continue off performances from guys like him."
Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was named the 78th-best player in the NFL in the NFL Network's "Top 100 Players Of 2015." Take a trip back through Kerrigan's career with the Redskins.
Kerrigan was held out of the preseason after undergoing a minor knee procedure during the summer.
While the four-game slate is proving ground for the younger players and an opportunity for the first-team unit to gel, the Redskins know what they have in Kerrigan: a guy who brings it on every play.
"We wanted to keep him fresh for Week 1," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "He probably was a little bit rusty, but he still played with great tenacity, had a couple of good plays, had a half a sack, but Ryan's expectations for himself are very high. Obviously ours for him are very high and he'll never be satisfied. If he has five sacks, he'll want six or seven. We just know that he's a great player for us. He'll get better."
The Redskins return to FedExField this week to host the St. Louis Rams, a team the Redskins struggled against last year in a 24-0 decision in front of Washington's home crowd.
It'll serve as motivation throughout this week's preparations.
"They kind of took it to us last year, late in the season, and came in our building, took it to us," Kerrigan said. "So we're looking forward to this game, and we've got a bad taste in our mouth because we feel like we let one slip away against Miami, but we just got to put this behind us and move on."