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Wake Up Washington | Kerrigan's coaching has been a "blessing" for Commanders defensive line


The Washington Commanders' defensive line has been one of the most impressive parts of Washington's recent run. Following the last practice before the Commanders face the Giants, defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, who has been at the helm of the unit since training camp, had some nice words for his assistant coach of the exciting and impactful group.  

"To have Ryan [Kerrigan] in the room me is a blessing for me," Zgonina said. "He's an elite, legit pass rusher. I mean he's got a lot of sacks and he's got different eyes than I do which helps me. I was an interior guy and I've coached the outside guys. But to hear him talk to the ends and their vision is some things that I never really thought of and even take some of that into the inside too."  

Kerrigan, the franchise's official career leader in sacks, started working with the defensive linemen at around the same time Zgonina came into the position coach role. The 33-year-old signed a one-day contract with Washington before announcing his retirement in late July. Almost immediately, Kerrigan was out on the field in an unofficial coaching capacity, and just before the regular season kicked off, he signed on officially as the assistant defensive line coach. 

After his hiring, he spoke about the transition from playing to coaching and how he loved the "competitive aspect" of this next chapter in football. And while his first season as a coach got off to a slow start, it has really taken an encouraging turn since Week 6. Washington has gone 6-1 in that span, the best over that time in the NFL, and Daron Payne, Jon Allen, Montez Sweat and others on the d-line are a huge reason for that.   

Zgonina noted that he and Kerrigan "collaborate more than [they] ever disagree," and that having Kerrigan's eyes and particular experience has been invaluable. They are making each other better coaches every day, and that is paying off in a big way for the Commanders.  

"I'm always asking, 'Where did your eyes go when this block came? Was it the hip, was it the neck, was it this or that?' So he sharpened me on it and he teaches those guys because it's second nature to him," Zgonina said. "It's been a good working relationship. And for the guys, they're getting results."

Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.

The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.

The Washington Commanders were back on the field for their second day of preparation for the New York Giants. Check out the top photos from Thursday afternoon. Photos by Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders

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