The Washington Redskins begin training camp next week and the excitement is ramping up. Josh Norman will be rocking the Burgundy and Gold in front of the fans for the first time while prepping for those battles with Odell Beckham Jr.. The 2016 draft class that includes Josh Doctson and Su'a Cravens will be making their NFL debuts. Oh, yeah, Kirk Cousins enters his first training camp as a starter. Yet the intrigue over one player who remains something of a mystery man trumps all. That man, Junior Galette.
The hype for the linebacker is impressive considering he hasn't played a down for the Redskins. Galette could not match the hype last year as an Achilles injury robbed him of his first season with the Redskins. The injury hasn't slowed the interest from fans or hype. Galette is as relentless on social media as he is chasing down quarterbacks, interacting with fans on a daily basis about sack dances, season expectations, and his road to recovery (He also talked to Breaking Burgundy about his recovery during minicamp as shown in the above video. It's not hard to see why the fans are behind him 100%.
What does Galette bring to the team? The "sack man" is obviously known for the most important stat for a pass rusher but how versatile is he? Does he help in run support? Can he cover? These things will be taken into account when Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry figures out how to use him with Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan. I evaluated Galette's game to try and find answers. Let's take a look:
1. On one of the first few snaps of the game, the Vikings run weak-side towards Galette.
Galette does a good job creating distance from the left tackle, keeping his outside shoulder free to force the play back inside where there is traffic.
When Galette sees the running back commit inside, he uses the separation that helped his vision to the running back to swim back inside and make the tackle. Well done.
2. The Vikings are running a zone left, play-action Boot with Galette on the back-side. There is a tight end responsible for him.
Galette jacks up the tight rnd while reading the play. As soon as he sees Matt Cassel bootleg, Galette drops his blocker to the ground and bee lines for the quarterback.
Galette barely misses a sack here as Cassel is able to avoid him and throw the ball into the turf at someone's feet. Galette is rabid. A little more control here and it's a sack.
3. On this play, Galette is going to drop into coverage. The Vikings are running an alley screen to his side with Cordarrelle Patterson.
The other receiver releases to block the cornerback leaving Galette the unblocked defender 1-on-1 with Patterson. That is not a favorable match-up for many.
Galette pusues as Patterson is able to turn this into a big gain.
4. Galette is going to drop into zone coverage again on this play. Viking have a tight end running a curl in the middle.
Galette is reading Cassel's eyes in zone which brings him to the Tight End in the middle of the field.
The Tight End makes the catch but Galette is there to make the tackle.
5. The Vikings are running at Galette this time. They are still trying to block him with a tight end.
Galette keeps separation from the tight end and keeps his eyes in the backfield. Maybe the running back makes the wrong read here or maybe he sees daylight inside and trusts his tight end to seal that hole.
As soon as Galette sees the running back commit inside, he fills and engulfs the running back for little gain.
6. Galette is a speed rusher. When he pins his ears back, he gets in his stance like former Olympian Michael Johnson in the 200 and is only missing the golden shoes. A Chevy Galette, if you will. This obviously helps getting around the edge but it also helps to open up the inside as LTs try to compensate for his speed.
If that wasn't foreshadowing, I don't know what is. The tackle sets way too hard outside to compensate for speed and Galette takes the inside alley to the quarterback. Cassel isn't even looking that way.
Cassel sees it at the last second and launches the ball as Galette runs right through him. Absolute hit, lift and drive. Cassel able to avoid a second Galette sack.
7. Here is another pass play from the Vikings. Galette rushing from the right, again.
The OT who already saw the counter move, now is tedious about opening up the inside and Galette uses his speed to run the arc right around him.
Cassel feels Galette and just bails on the play. He runs for whatever yardage he can get. Galette the disrupting gameplan.
8. On this play, the Saints are dropping Galette into zone coverage. There is a tight end running a seam route to his side.
Galette does a good job carrying the TE up the seam. Galette then sees the running back release out of the backfield and attacks it but by then the ball has already gone to the other side of the field. Good awareness by Galette, though. Carried the TE until he saw another pass catching threat around his zone.
9. Galette is back in pass-rushing mode. He's already beaten the LT outside and inside. The running back is going to slide over and give support.
Galette is able to split the blockers and the pressure forces Teddy Bridgewater out of the pocket.
When Galette sees Bridgewater bail, he pushes both blockers to the ground. The LT ends up tripping Bridgewater because of it.
Galette touches Bridgewater down for a sack.
10. Galette is in coverage again on this play. The Vikings are going to run a running back flare. The wide receiver is suppose to block Galette.
As soon as Galette sees what is going on, he chucks the WR to the side.
Galette, with help, hits the RB and stops all forward momentum.
11. Here is Galette in zone coverage again. He is lined up over the slot.
Galette gets a reall good jam on the slot receiver.
Then he falls right underneath the slant route that is suppose to sneak in behind him. Good coverage and the ball goes elsewhere.
12. Here is another pass rushing situation. The Vikings are going to have the RB chip Galette to slow him down and give the LT a little help.
The RB makes the chip but the LT again sets to far outside. Galette actually uses the chip to increase his momentum on a spin back inside.
Before the LT even knows what is going on, he has lost all leverage on Galette.
Galette just barely misses on another sack as Bridgewater is able to step back, then roll out.
13. An LT, RB, TE, and WR have all failed at blocking Galette. On this play, the Vikings are running it weak side and a FB is responsible for Galette.
The low man wins. Galette gets his pads under the FB and keeps his outside shoulder free to contain.
When Galette sees the RB commit inside, he sheds the FB and makes the tackle in the backfield.
This was fun to watch and was only more assurance that they fans excitement in Junior Galette is warranted. Hopefully, nothing goes wrong when they take the training wheels of him this training camp because the sky's the limit for this group of pass rushers. When all healthy, it won't be a question of if they can bring pressure, it'll be how much can they bring.
It also begs the question how will the trio of Kerrigan, Smith and Galette be used. Many think they'll kick Preston Smith inside on passing downs but that's not necessarily the case. There are a bunch of creative formations that get them all on the field and I'm sure we will see them soon. The thing about Smith and Galette is they have both shown the most valuable asset a pass rusher can have: beating left tackles. That is what gets you paid and the Washington Redskins currently have two good ones.
Paul Conner is the Film Analyst and Draft Evaluator at Breaking Burgundy. You can follow him on Twitter @P_ConnerJr
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