Bearded Galette getting attention of fans, coaches
METAIRIE, LA. (AP)
Junior Galette has heard fans yelling ''fear the beard,'' when he has
caused havoc in the New Orleans Saints' backfield during training camp.
Galette's prodigious facial hair has given the defensive end a vastly
different look than when he arrived as a fresh-faced rookie in 2010.
Saints coaches say they have also seen a difference in his play since
he was signed as an undrafted free-agent out of Division II Stillman
''Junior's a guy that's established himself as a guy we're going to
play with,'' defensive line coach Bill Johnson said after practice on
Monday. ''He's a productive player. He affects the rush, gets his hands
on balls, makes tackles, pressures the quarterback, gets him off his
spot. That's the first thing you look for.''
Galette began to receive regular playing time as a reserve in 2011 and
wound up third on the team with 4 1-2 sacks, and second in quarterback
hits with 11.
While Galette is in line to open the season primarily as a third-down
pass rusher and a contributor on special teams, the Saints will need
all the depth they can get at defensive end if Will Smith's four-game
suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty probe is not overturned
in federal court.
''We don't know what's going to happen,'' Galette said. ''They got me
bringing it starting on third down right now. ... So I'm embracing that
Galette's performance cannot be appreciated simply by looking at
statistics, Johnson said. He pointed to Galette's role in Smith's sack
and strip of Tom Brady in last week's preseason game at New England.
Galette got into the backfield first, forcing Brady to move right,
where Smith took the quarterback down and jarred the ball loose.
Linebacker Curtis Lofton recovered the fumble.
''We call that hidden production ... because (Galette) got Brady off
the spot, and that's the way the pass rush works,'' Johnson said. ''One
guy gets the quarterback off his spot and the other guy goes and gets
him, so that was a very productive play.''
The 6-foot-2, 258-pound Galette looks the part of a defensive end, with
a stout but lean frame, quick feet and quick hands. He blocked a punt
as a rookie during a preseason game, and last week hit the arm of
Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett as he tried to throw.
''He has some good natural attributes that he's got to keep refining
fundamentally, but they serve him well as a football player,'' Johnson
Galette spent most of his college career at Temple but was dismissed
from school after his cousin, who was his guest at the time, was found
with a couple of laptops stolen from dorm rooms.
Although Galette moved down to Division II his senior season, he said
he never doubted that he would find his way into the NFL.
''I always envisioned that. If I was to tell you I didn't believe I'd
be here, I'd be lying,'' Galette said. ''It's a humbling experience to
come from Stillman and Temple and all the adverse situations I've been
Galette credits some of his improvement to observing the way more
established pros handle themselves off of the field.
''On the field it wasn't anything I did. I always play hard,'' Galette
said. ''Off the field it's just living right as far as studying a
little extra and doing more football stuff. When we get out of
meetings, you go home and just get in your bunk instead of playing
video games. You are just loving your job. I'm loving football more and
more each day.''
Notes: Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said RB
Darren Sproles won't play in Friday night's preseason game against
Jacksonville because of knee soreness. He could play if it were a
regular-season game. Vitt also said WR Adrian Arrington had knee
surgery to repair a torn meniscus and it isn't clear when he will be
back. Also missing practice on Monday were DE Turk McBride (ankle), DT
Tom Johnson (ankle), CB Jabari Greer (groin), and Nick Toon (left
foot). McBride and Johnson are also expected to miss the game against
the Jaguars, Vitt said. ... CB Patrick Robinson returned from a
shoulder injury and intercepted Drew Brees' pass intended for Marques Colston in 11-on-11 drills. ... TE Jimmy Graham returned from a lower
back strain for individual drills but sat out team drills.
Fear The Beard
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