Quick Hits Edition: Should Junior Return?
Updated: May 9
Welcome back to the Burgundy and Gold Report. Many followers on Twitter took notice when former Redskins Outside Linebacker Junior Galette changed his profile picture. That’s not uncommon on social media, but changing his profile picture back to him wearing his Redskins jersey raised a few eyebrows. When asked by a Twitter follower about the change, Galette simply replied “Anything’s Possible“. The Redskins repordedly had an offer on the table for two years at $10 million with low guarantees. Again final numbers were never confirmed, but word is that was the ballpark figure. Galette reportedly rebuffed the offer and saw little interest for the rest of the active free agency period. As it stands now Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are the starters at OLB with Ryan Anderson and new edition Pernell McPhee as the backups. Although I believe McPhee adds depth, his issue is staying healthy and his limitations as a pass rusher. He should still be a factor in the defense and offers veteran leadership.
A recent poll on Twitter and Face Book asked the question; Should the Redskins resign Junior Galette? Over 300 readers/followers responded and over 80% believed the Redskins should resign Junior. Briefly we’ll go over a few view points, as well as discuss why fans wanted him back and why they didn’t.
The Case for Bringing Junior Back
Many fans believe that the current depth behind Kerrigan and Smith is lacking. At this point Anderson and McPhee are being counted on to make meaningful contributions in the Skins Defense/Special Teams, as well as to spell the starters when they need a breather. In the event Kerrigan or Smith go down for an extended period of time, do you feel comfortable with the aforementioned backups? Personally I think Anderson could be decent vs the run, but McPee can’t be counted on to provide extended playing time. So enter available Free Agent Junior Galette. The bitterness is there for sure, but as previously mentioned Galette has a level of interest to return. The fact is Junior is a plug and play on obvious passing downs. The Redskins finally have the talent to march out a jumbo lineup with four-five defensive lineman on run downs, but also the talent to rush the passer. In the end Galette could provide 6-10 sacks, while only playing 25%-30% of the defensive snaps (which is about the % he played in 2017). I would bet a veteran minimum deal with playing incentives, could probably get the deal done.
The Case for Passing on Junior
Although the number of Redskins fans who voted to bring Galette back was a landslide, some fans made it clear why his time has passed in Washington. Galette’s injury history is at the forefront. As Skins fans know all to well Galette tore his achilles during the 2015 offseason, which caused him to miss the entire season. Junior returned the following offseason ready to go, only to tear the achilles on the opposite foot before he even took a regular season snap. So although Galette was signed in 2015, he didn’t see his first regular season snap in the Burgundy and Gold until 2017. Also mentioned by fans were his prior off the field incidents as a cause of concern. This might be too earlier to bring back Galette, considering the Redskins current depth at the position. This unit is only one substantial injury away from needing the services of a competent veteran though. Could Galette be the guy, well some fans believe that the Redskins have better options already on the roster. One fan brought up second year OLB Alex McCallister as an option. The 6’6 former Florida Gator pass rusher has great height to play the position, but his slight frame and weight (only 240 lbs) have him at a disadvantage in he NFL. He’s a Practice Squad candidate if he has a good pre-season, but he’s no where near ready to contribute on the 53 man roster based on his tape. It remains to be seen if the Redskins decide to add more depth to the outside linebacker group, but truth be told the backups leave a lot to be desired in passing situations.
What Junior Brings to the Defense
Galette provides one key attribute that the other Redskins outside linebackers do not, that’s his ability to get low when bending the edge. Redskins Pro Bowl Left Tackle Trent Williams went on record stating, he’d never seen a pass rusher with Galette’s strength get so low to the ground when rushing off the edge. Often times Galette would be on a LT’s outside shoulder at the snap of the ball, before they even knew what hit him! On the other hand, the soon to be thirty year old Galette has only played in 16 games over the last three years. Although he only registered 3 sacks in 2017, he was ranked among the Top 15 2017 pass rushers in the NFL for QB pressures. He was even rated higher the Preston Smith.
Considering Galette specializes on 3rd down pass rush situations, it still makes him in asset in the modern day NFL. Which is why I find it surprising that he’s still available. Again, off field issues and injury concerns do scare teams off of aging veterans.
As we all know, teams are lining up in passing formations more frequently and also passing out of running situations more often as well. This has led to a desire to have more specialized and athletic pass rushers on NFL rosters. I do believe Kerrigan and Smith can get the job done, the jury is still out on second year LB Ryan Anderson and if McPhee can get through a full season. Ironically enough the same reasons that make some Redskins fans nervous about bringing back Galette, are the same fears that lie with McPhee as well.
It’ll be interesting to see how Training Camp plays out and if a dark horse candidate rises from the ashes of obscurity to become a contributor at OLB for Washington.
Thanks for Checking out another Burgundy and Gold Report! Stay tuned for more Redskins news, player analysis and much more.
Written By Adam Aniba
*Pictures credit Bossip.com and Chiefswire.usatoday.com