All-22: Gas Still Left In Kerrigan’s Tank
As the adage goes, the best coverage is a good pass rush.
On Monday, the Eagles fortified the latter, signing longtime division rival Ryan Kerrigan to a 1-year deal.
Kerrigan, 32, comes to Philadelphia on the heels of an immensely productive 10-year career in Washington, where he left as the franchise’s all-time sack leader (95.5).
In Philadelphia, Kerrigan joins a talented – albeit lean – stable of edge rushers that include Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Josh Sweat.
Kerrigan logged 397 snaps last season over 16 games (1 start) in a complementary role, playing a career-low 38 percent of the defensive total. Still, the veteran registered 5.5 sacks and 6.0 quarterback hits.
For his career, the four-time Pro Bowler has amassed 454 tackles (119 for loss), 95.5 sacks, 147 quarterback hits, and 26 forced fumbles over 156 career games.
While it’s hard to say exactly how Kerrigan will be deployed under defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, it’s safe to assume his snap share is poised to spike in 2021.
“You never wanted three or four guys to be at 65 snaps and then two or three guys at 10 snaps, and I really learned that from Coach [Matt] Eberflus,” Gannon said on Thursday of the Colts defensive coordinator, who he coached under in Indianapolis.
“He would say, ‘Get the horses fresh.’ He wanted those guys that were up. He wanted them rotated. He wanted them fresh. And depending on certain situations, you’re going to have some certain guys in there because you’re utilizing their strengths, but whoever’s up on game day is going to play.”
On the surface, the Kerrigan addition appeared eerily reminiscent of the Chris Long signing from four years ago. However, Kerrigan has fewer hurdles along his path to playing time. Barnett remains an enigma after four seasons and Sweat will likely never handle a starter’s share of snaps due to durability concerns.
Beyond that, the depth chart consists of rookie Tarron Jackson and a collection of long shots.
Kerrigan’s snap percentage could feasibly mirror Long’s 48 percent from 2017, but does the veteran have enough juice in the tank to usurp Barnett and seize a starting job in Year 11?
Let’s check out Kerrigan’s All-22 tape to see just what he brings to the Eagles’ defensive line.
In the early stages of the fourth quarter in the season opener that pit the Eagles against Kerrigan and Washington, Kerrigan pounced on a porous Eagles offensive line, dropping Carson Wentz for his second sack of the afternoon.
Watch him implode the right side of the O-line.
Kerrigan was given a clean rush before being picking up late by pulling left guard Isaac Seumalo (73), who reaches Kerrigan after the edge rusher has already turned the corner. Running back Corey Clement (30) wasn’t able to provide much assistance, resulting in a 10-yard loss on the play.
Watch it from the closer angle:
Wentz almost never had a chance.
This next clip not only highlights Kerrigan’s explosive get-off, but also his lateral agility and situational awareness to pursue a running back on the move without breaking stride, limiting him to a minimal 2-yard pickup.
Kerrigan showed good awareness and change of direction to get to the flat after his initial rush.
The season-opener against the Eagles was Kerrigan’s best from a sack perspective, but his most complete game last year came against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here’s a clip showing Kerrigan sacking Bengals QB Ryan Finley:
The play began with a half-hearted chip from running back Semaje Perine (34) on Kerrigan, who catches sixth-round pick Hakeem Adeniji off-balance and turns the corner with ease to meet Finley in the backfield.
Here’s another look from above:
On the next clip, Kerrigan does a nice job reading and reacting.
Once Finley delivers the short pass to wide receiver AJ Green, Kerrigan shows off his closing speed and fluidity in space, holding Green to just a 5-yard pickup.
This next clip proved to be effective for the opponent solely because of Kerrigan’s inability to disengage from Panthers’ fourth-year right tackle Taylor Moton.
Wide receiver Curtis Samuel used Moton’s block as a springboard for what ended up as a 45-yard run.
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.