With fellow outside linebacker finally Brian Orakpo back on the field after missing the final 14 games of the 2012 season, third-year linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is anticipating a breakout season in 2013.
At this point in their respective careers, the dynamic duo has each experienced individual success without much help on the other side.
Brian Orakpo burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2009, tallying 19.5 sacks in his first two seasons and a pair of Pro Bowl selections.
Kerrigan has 16 sacks in his first two seasons and was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, playing largely alongside backup linebacker Rob Jackson.
While Kerrigan has the ability to take over a game off the edge, his goal for 2013 is to be a regular force to be reckoned with.
"Consistency; that is my goal for the year. I started off pretty well last season but then towards the end of the season, I had some up and down games," he said. "I just strive to play at a high level every week, both as an individual and as a teammate."
With regards to a productive game vs. and unproductive game, Kerrigan said that sometimes he is asked to drop back in coverage more, which can affect how many opportunities he has for sacks and fumbled in a given game.
"Some of the lower sack numbers come from the game plan. Some of the games, I am in coverage more often than the pass rush," Kerrigan said. "What I need to do is figure out which attack move is and is not working during that game.
"I just try to do my job. Make sure my guy doesn't do that much."
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense requires linebackers to be versatile in pass rush and coverage situations, an added element that Kerrigan did not experience until the NFL.
While Kerrigan was terrorizing quarterbacks in the Big Ten, he did so primarily out of the defensive end position with one or both hands in the dirt. While coverage is still becoming second nature, he said he feels more confident in his assignments each game.
"I'm still getting there as far as learning. I'm still not where I need to be, but believe me, I am getting there," he said. "This defense asks you to be versatile enough to cover tight ends or receivers, and that's something I work on every day."
In each of his first two NFL seasons, Ryan Kerrigan has an interception in coverage that he returned for a touchdown. Whether in coverage or pass rush, look for No. 91 to be an impact player in 2013.