On Monday the Redskins defence took a sucker punch with the news that Junior Galette will be out for the whole 2016 season after injuring the opposite Achilles to the one that kept him out the previous season.
In the run up to the season, Washington were boasting a pretty impressive pass rush with Ryan Kerrigan leading extremely promising sophomore Preston Smith, 2015 breakout D-Lineman Chris Baker and potential bounceback candidate Galette, but with this injury in will leave some question marks about the ‘Skins depth at outside Linebacker now.
The 2010 UDFA of the Saints has an impressive record when he actually gets onto the field with a 12 and 10 sack season already on his CV in New Orleans, but has long had character issues that resulted in his release from the Saints before being picked up by McCloughan and the Redskins last off-season. However on 26th August 2015 it was announced that he’d torn his Left Achilles and would be placed on Injured Reserve. With Redskins fans praying this off-season, hoping for Galette to repay the faith he’d been shown by the Front Office by keeping him around the team despite his injury and sign on again for another year. After some stiff negotiations the fans got their wish, after Galette really adhered himself to the Washington fans via Twitter, and he signed a one year deal to prove that McCloughan’s faith in his potential was justified. However with this recent news, it all appears in vein and Galette appears headed for another difficult road to recovery, let alone even more difficult negotiations next off-season and will probably have to settle one year on the veterans minimum to prove he’s fit.
On the field, there are real depth questions for the Redskins pass rush with this massive injury. Ryan Kerrigan is a bonafide stud at the position and is the face of the defence, after that it all gets a bit murky. Preston Smith managed 8 sacks in 2015 in a situational pass rush role, and despite his seemingly astronomical potential, it’s going to be a big ask for him to perform to those standards again in a full-time role this time. Smith has all the talent to do so, and I think that he will in due course, but there may be some growing pains this season as he gets used to the big role he’s going to be asked to play. After those 2, there isn’t much in the way of talent behind them with Trent Murphy likely the next man up who would be a massive step down from Galette.
Rumours have been circulating about the Redskins making a move for either Greg Hardy or Dwight Freeney to replace the injured Galette. Greg Hardy would likely be an extremely unpopular decision as a replacement given his personal background including his Domestic Violence charges that got him released; as well as being a former Dallas Cowboy which is never a good thing to be when warming yourself to the Redskins faithful. Freeney seems a lot more realistic as after a resurgent season in Bruce Arians Cardinals defence last season he showed he could be effective in a situational role. This would partner well with Preston Smith and his gradual exposure to the NFL in his sophomore season. But no doubt, Scot McCloughan and the Front Office have had their hand forced and need to make a move one way or another.
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