Commanders Name Ryan Kerrigan Assistant Defensive Line Coach


Ryan Kerrigan never really left the game after announcing his retirement from football at the end of July.

On Monday, the Washington Commanders’ all-time bag leader was named assistant defensive line coach, giving the top five a familiar and respected face alongside Jeff Zgonina, who was recently promoted to defensive line coach.

The role is a perfect fit, despite Kerrigan’s lack of coaching experience. About 48 hours after signing a one-day contract to end his 10-year playing career with Washington, Kerrigan was back on the field in Ashburn Sporting Commanders apparel and willingly helping out with the line. It quickly became apparent where his career was headed.

“I didn’t expect an opportunity to come so quickly because of the timing, considering it was late July,” said Kerrigan, who admitted during his retirement press conference that he hoped to turn his playing days into coaching. “But I’m really grateful to the coach [Ron] Rivera gave me that opportunity, and I just hope to prove him right.

Football is not Jeff Zgonina’s only passion. He also loves dog shows.

In early August, Washington fired its former defensive line coach, Sam Mills III, and elevated Zgonina. Brent Vieselmeyer, the assistant defensive backs/Nickel coach, was brought in to help on the line, but his title never changed and Kerrigan soon assumed the unofficial role of Zgonina’s assistant.

“As he was following the coaches, and I was watching him with that, you could see how much fun he was having and how much respect he had earned from the defensive sides,” Rivera said. “These guys seem to gravitate towards him. But he also did it very well, very quickly. So having this opportunity to do that was, really, honestly, a no-brainer.

Washington drafted Kerrigan with the 16th pick in 2011, beginning his decade-long career with the team before capping his career with a season in Philadelphia. Revered for his work ethic and attention to detail, Kerrigan became a natural mentor to many of his younger teammates, even those who would eventually take over as his career ended.

A polished pass rusher whose production often belied his size (6-4, 265), Kerrigan notched 95.5 career sacks and, last weekend, was added to the list of Washington’s greatest players.

“He’s a guy who’s been there and done that at a really high level. He’s also very detailed,” defensive end James Smith-Williams said. “We played my rookie year together, and RK was the exact same guy. He hasn’t changed one bit. Even then, I was going to RK my rookie year asking, ‘What do you see? What do you think?’ He told me that three years ago, so the fact that he is a coach will not change anything.

Jamin Davis is progressing. Commanders need it to keep going.

Still, Kerrigan’s transition from the field to the sideline required some tweaking. On the one hand, his days are longer, with meetings that have no definite end. And his coaching instincts can go even further when he digs deeper into his assessments of the players he was working with on the line.

“From my perspective, having played with these guys a few years ago to work with them as a coach, I think it’s a great situation for me personally because I really want these guys to succeed.” , did he declare.

Curl talks about his thumb injury

Washington safety Kam Curl said Monday he underwent surgery to repair his right thumb and is hopeful, though not certain, that he will play in the league’s season opener. team on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“It’s just a small, light thumb injury,” he added. “I want to play every game, you know? My job is to play football, and that’s what I want to do.

Wearing a small black cast on his wrist and thumb, Curl described the injury, which he sustained in Washington’s second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs, as a “freak accident.”

Curl said he could mess with the cast if that happened, but under NFL rules the cast should be completely covered in foam rubber or similar soft material. The extra padding and immobility in his wrist may make it too difficult for Curl, a versatile defensive back who is often asked to blitz, drop into the box and drop into deep coverage.

“I’m just trying to be careful with it,” Curl said. “Any injury is frustrating. I try to play football, so it’s a bit frustrating. Just be patient with it.

If Curl can’t go against the Jaguars on Sunday, the Commanders could turn to a player rotation to fill the void, with Darrick Forrest and rookie Percy Butler likely to be in the mix.

Tight end Logan Thomas continues to recover from a serious knee injury he suffered late last season. He was activated from the physically unable to play roster on August 22 but is still unsure whether he will play in Week 1.

Thomas indicated on Monday that he would return in either Week 1 or Week 2, but the decision is up to the coaches and medical staff. Among the things they could look for are if Thomas can make the cuts he needs, if his knee can withstand the pressure of the block and how he continues to react after practices.

He, however, assured that there was no doubt or lack of confidence in his repaired knee. If there had been, he wouldn’t have been training for the past two weeks.

“Everything has gone well so far,” Thomas said, “but obviously there’s no simulation for a match.”

Tight end Cole Turner said he expects to be available for Week 1 after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in training camp. The Nevada rookie could play an important role in the offense, given his wide catching radius and size and the system’s emphasis on position.

Turner said on Monday that he took part in no-limits team drills for the first time in weeks and now feels confident he will face the Jaguars.

“I’m ready to go,” he said.

Rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. continues to recover from the gunshot wounds he suffered Aug. 28, but his regimen will become more structured as he improves, Rivera said.

Robinson was shot twice, in the hip and knee, in an attempted armed robbery along H Street. He underwent surgery at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, and commanders later placed him on the non-football injury list, ensuring he will miss at least the first four games of the season.

His recovery included both home rehabilitation and treatment at team facilities, Rivera said. And the latter could soon gain momentum.

“Now we’re going to start making him do specific things,” Rivera said. “Those first few days of recovery were tough for him because I think it was the second day he was really in pain and it was one of those things that, you know, I said to him, ‘Hey, stay home, relax a bit, and we’ll pick you up very soon. As this process progresses, the schedule of his daily training schedule and recovery schedule will change.

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