WASHINGTON (AP) — Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sensed a different feeling around Redskins Park as players showed up Monday for the start of voluntary offseason workouts.
Making the playoffs as NFC East champions changed the outlook for a team that had finished in last place in six of the previous seven years.
"I think we're actually hungrier than you are when you come off a losing season, because we got a taste of success, but now we know that we have the ability and we have the team to get back to the point that we were at and then take it even further than that," Kerrigan said in a conference call with reporters. "Hopefully we can have a good rest of the offseason and then build toward the regular season."
Last year, Jay Gruden's second as coach, Washington improved from 4-12 to a 9-7 regular-season record, then lost to the Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round.
It's been a relatively quiet offseason for the Redskins with little turnover and no big-name additions, unlike what used to happen under owner Dan Snyder. Kerrigan said he likes the new approach.
"We've got some continuity," he said, "and I think that'll be a big thing for us."
Kerrigan said "mostly everybody" showed up in Ashburn, Virginia, for Day 1 of the two-week phase of offseason activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.
A year ago, wideout DeSean Jackson missed time during voluntary OTAs, saying he had personal business to take care of. Kerrigan was asked how important it is that teammates show up.
"Ultimately, the season's still months away, so it's not a huge deal, but at the same time, it is good to be here if you can, because this is our job," the linebacker replied. "You get to spend time in the meeting room with the coaches, so there's learning involved. It's not just working out and lifting weights and running. You're laying the groundwork for the playbook for the season. So I think there is an importance to it, but at the same time, I don't think it's a huge thing if some guys aren't here early in the offseason."
Some other topics addressed by Kerrigan:
— Outside linebacker Junior Galette, who missed all of last season after tearing his left Achilles tendon at training camp, "looks as explosive as ever." Kerrigan added: "He's kept his weight on, which is good, because that's always a struggle when you have surgery and you can't train like you normally can."
— Quarterback Kirk Cousins and cornerback DeAngelo Halls are likely to be vocal leaders this season, filling the voids left by departed veterans Dashon Goldson, Terrance Knighton and Darrel Young. Kerrigan called Cousins "a guy who does things the right way; he leads by example but also can speak really well." As for Hall, Kerrigan said he "has always been a vocal leader with us, so I'd imagine he'd continue to expand his leadership role as well."
— The Sunday night game against Green Bay in Week 11 of the Redskins' 2016 schedule, followed by going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day in Week 12, "kind of caught my eye," Kerrigan said, "because I would have thought that would have been a 1 o'clock since we do have to travel, take a long trip to Dallas for a Thursday game. But at the same time, it's exciting, because that team, Green Bay, ended our season last year."
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