Ryan Kerrigan experienced tremendous success in his rookie NFL season, making the transition from first-round pick to dangerous edge rusher.
He got off to a fast start, with three NFL Rookie of the Week honors and the September Rookie of the Month award. By season's end, he had earned consideration as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
But with only five team wins for the Redskins, Kerrigan's season fell short of personal expectations. In 2012, Kerrigan is focused on turning the Redskins into a winner.
"I'm excited for the season," he told fans during the 80th Anniversary bus tour. "I think we have a lot of potential, we just have to live up to it."
Part of that potential lies in the pass rush, which accumulated 38 sacks in 2011. With the entire front-seven returning in 2012, Kerrigan expects that number to jump.
"I'm pretty encouraged by what I've seen so far in OTA's," he said. "We have all our guys in there and we're tweaking some things in the playbook in order to play to our strengths."
Drafted during the lockout, Kerrigan spent the early part of last season absorbing the team's playbook. With a year under his belt, Kerrigan already feels more comfortable in the defensive scheme.
"Everything has slowed down a lot," he explained. "I'm not thinking as much out there on the field, I'm more reacting. Things are coming a lot more naturally."
Kerrigan credits head coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett for working closely with him last season to get him up to speed.
"When you look at Coach Shanahan, he's won multiple Super Bowls and has been around guys like Jerry Rice and John Elway," Kerrigan said. "Coach Haslett has been in the league for a number of years, and he's also played at a high level on the defensive side of the ball. He's someone that knows the in's and out's of the game from a player and coach's standpoint."
"I couldn't have asked for two better people to come into the league to," he continued. "It's been great having both of them."
Organized team activities continue this week, today through Thursday.