Removed from the Redskins' Week 4 victory over the Browns with an elbow injury, Ryan Kerrigan was back to work this week and is feeling confident about his prospects of playing against the Ravens.
If Ryan Kerrigan's health is up to par then the linebacker's consecutive appearances streak will continue Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
Kerrigan – who has started every single game for the Redskins since his NFL debut on Week 1 of the 2011 season – was removed from last Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with a left elbow sprain/hyperextension.
After playing just eight snaps in the game, Kerrigan returned to practice on Wednesday sporting a large protective brace covering his arm.
"I made a lot of progress from Monday to Tuesday so I feel very encouraged about being able to play and play effectively on Sunday," Kerrigan said. "Hopefully no setbacks in the next couple of days and if that's the case, then I definitely anticipate playing and playing well Sunday."
Limited during Wednesday's session, Kerrigan is still trying to regain his range of motion while the swelling goes down.
"It was just mobility and the strength in it," Kerrigan said of the pain he was feeling after initially suffering the injury. "Because it swelled up so quickly, when all that swelling occurs, it kind of shuts down the muscles in that area of the swelling. So I lost a little bit of strength at that point so that's why I couldn't go back in."
He'll continue to wear the brace, although he doesn't see it limiting him very much.
"It's obviously a little more cumbersome than what I'm used to because I'm not used to having anything on my arm," Kerrigan said. "It's something I can get used to. A lot of guys around the league play with them, so I don't anticipate it being too much of a problem."
Check out the top images of Ryan Kerrigan from the 2015 season.
Since being selected with the No. 16 overall-pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Kerrigan has started 83 straight regular season games along with Washington's two playoff games during that time.
"It's something I definitely take pride in, but at the same time I'm not going to be dumb with it if I'm not ready to play in a football game," Kerrigan said of his appearances streak. "I'm not going to put myself or my teammates in jeopardy by just going out there to keep the streak alive. The streak does mean something to me, but at the same time winning football games and being able to play effectively means more to me."
Even if he isn't full strength against the Ravens, Kerrigan will benefit from a rotation that allows him to get some rest while Trent Murphy, Houston Bates and Preston Smith take reps.
"I think having fresh bodies in there at all times, as pass rushers, that's key because it is a very tiring thing to do – rushing the passer repeatedly," Kerrigan said. "For us, being able to rotate bodies, keep guys fresh, has been big for us."
Kerrigan is just one sack shy of becoming the third player in franchise history with 50 career sacks.
As he tries to hit that mark this weekend, he's facing an offensive line that's allowed just eight sacks on Joe Flacco through four games.
But with Murphy piecing together a career year and Smith poised to get back on track, Kerrigan feels like the team is starting to get "a bit of a roll right now."
"We finished off the first quarter of the season strong, but there's still a lot of room for improvement," Kerrigan said. "We're still working on it at practice every day."