PHILADELPHIA – Ryan Kerrigan looked like a solid signing for Howie Roseman in free agency.
A notorious Eagles killer while racking up 95.5 sacks over a decade with the Washington football team, perhaps Kerrigan was not a natural fit for a team in transition after turning 33 in August, but the four-time Pro Bowl selection cost only $ 2.5 million and figured to fit in perfectly as a rotating player on the rim, with Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat now injured.
A thumb injury that required surgery over the summer did not help and embarrassed Kerrigan, who admitted it was difficult to grip and use his hand at an optimal level, always a wrench for a defensive lineman.
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Kerrigan, however, played in all six games and managed one tackle, but for loss. That’s it. No sacks, not even a rushed quarterback for one of the best passer of his generation.
Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, however, sees Kerrigan in a different way.
Gannon was questioned at close range about the Eagles’ mini-goodbye on Tuesday why the veteran was not productive in the team’s 2-4 start.
“On the stats sheet, you mean?” The DC asked rhetorically. “Because in my opinion, [Kerrigan] has been productive.
While some may scoff at Gannon’s assertion, he is a follower of Mike Zimmer, who advocates a more disciplined approach to the pass rush, especially compared to the wide 9 looks that Philadelphia fans get. got used to their on-board rushers.
“How could I quantify that he lines up, he lines up the right way, he plays with his eyes the right way, he is asked to do the techniques that we ask him to do and he plays football winning in his role, ”Gannon said.
In other words, football is a team game and Kerrigan is no longer the playmaker. He is the role player.
“What I mean by that is like someone doing a tackle on a run, well Ryan helped this guy make that tackle by the way he smashed the block,” Gannon said. . “I don’t always look – with [DT] Fletcher [Cox] roll back a few weeks like, he’s having a blast. “
“Now the stats sheet might not jump over you and say, ‘Well, this guy doesn’t have 10 sacks or six, whatever TFL’s,’ this and that, but as part of what we ask these guys to do, they are productive.
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The easiest way to measure intangibles like this is in high school.
“Now, saying that, we can – you know, with a DB. He didn’t have interceptions, he didn’t have SEBs, yes, but when the ball came back to him six times, he gave up two completions, ”was the example given by Gannon. “It’s a winning day for me with no SEBs and no interceptions. He doesn’t allow his boyfriend to catch the ball.
Gannon has admitted, however, that production is a measure, and when the time is right and Kerrigan is free to play, the veteran will have to do it.
“Production is a way of measuring; you know what I mean? “the DC said.” So you still have to, as a coach – what’s the mix of this guy playing winning football for us? And who produces when the parts that are there for him to make, does he make them? I think [Kerrigan] Do it.”
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–John McMullen contributes to the Eagles’ coverage for SI.com’s EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports chat host Jody McDonald, every morning from 8am to 10am on “Birds 365”, broadcast live on PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Extending the Play” on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is SI.com’s Eagle Maven editor and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news on www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles Where www.eaglemaven.com and follow him on Twitter: @kracze.