Ryan Kerrigan noticed a different feeling early Monday morning as he gathered his belongings and started heading towards the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
Instead of preparing for another grueling practice against his teammates, Kerrigan and Redskins on Monday began the first of three joint practices with the New England Patriots, their opponent in Thursday evening's preseason opener at FedExField.
Top photos from the Redskins & Patriots joint practice session at the Bon Secours Training Center on Monday, August 4, 2014.
"It definitely added heightened levels of excitement for sure," said Kerrigan, an outside linebacker in his fourth year with the Redskins. "It was fun today, because you get tired of going against the same guys in practice. Going against another team was pretty cool."
One practice got underway, it didn't take long into Monday's session for Kerrigan and the rest of the first-team defense to see exactly why Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, when his playing days are over.
Brady – wearing a red No. 12 practice jersey – had command of an extremely efficient hurry-up offensive attack on Monday, as the Redskins at times found themselves scrambling to catch up.
"We've just got to get used the pace of playing a team like them that's really up tempo," Kerrigan said. "You know we're going to see that twice a year against Philadelphia – you've got to get used to that pace."
Second-year cornerback David Amerson said the Redskins' defense knew what to expect coming into Monday's practice, but thinks the unit will be able to make some adjustments in meetings the rest of the day and come into Tuesday's practice better prepared.
"The main thing I know is you've just got to stay focused, especially when they go hurry up," Amerson said. "(Brady) caught us off guard sometimes and we didn't get our calls or guys were scrambling around, so we're just got to do a better job of communicating the calls and staying calm."
Amerson said he was left impressed by Brady's control of his team, even in practice.
"Tom Brady's one of the best quarterbacks -- everyone knows -- in the league," Amerson said. "You can really see how he takes command of the offense and really knows what's going on with the secondary and the coverages. That's why he's one of the best."
Both Kerrigan and Amerson said they think the three practices against the Patriots this week will lead to an added level of competition in Thursday's preseason matchup.
"We're ready to get going," Kerrigan said.