Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 17, 41 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.
—The Redskins last played a game 159 days ago. It will be 87 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.
—Days until: Redskins training camp starts 41; Preseason opener @ Falcons 55; Final roster cut 78
Galette says he’ll be better than ever
Junior Galette has let the world—or at least the portion of it that pays attention to his Instagram feed—know that he is going to be better than ever in 2016.
He cites the “elite” defensive backs who will be playing behind him as the reason why he will be so good this year. Using their Twitter handles he lists Bashaud Breeland, Deshazor Everett, DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho, Quinton Dunbar, and Josh Norman. Of that group that only one who anyone not drawing a paycheck signed by Dan Snyder would call elite is the All-Pro Norman. But Galette is entitled to use hyperbole when pumping up his teammates.
What kind of talent did Galette have working behind him in New Orleans in 2013 and 2014 when he had 12 and 10 sacks, respectively?
The Saints’ defense was pretty solid in 2013, Galette’s breakout season. He went from starting one game and getting five sacks in 2012 to 15 starts and 12 sacks. The team was fourth in both yards allowed and points allowed and they went 11-5. Nobody in the defensive backfield made the Pro Bowl but it was a decent group with veterans Jabari Greer and Keenan Lewis at cornerback and Malcolm Jenkins and rookie Kenny Vaccaro at safety. Between the four of them they picked off eight passes.
In 2014 the supporting cast was not nearly as strong. The Saints fell to 28th in the league in points allowed and 31st in yards against and fnished 7-9. Vaccaro and Lewis were back as starters but the other defensive back positions were unstable all year. They gave Jairus Byrd a truckload of money to play safety but he was only healthy enough to play in four games. Corey white and Patrick Robinson shared starts at the at corner opposite Lewis.
How does the Redskins’ current crop of DB’s compare to Galette’s former teammates? Looking at it right now, the presence of Norman puts the Redskins perhaps a cut above. But that’s assuming that Norman is able to transition to a new team successfully and as we’ve learned in Washington, free agent success is far from a given.
In case you missed it
After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.
Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.
Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either.
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Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return.
Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games.
The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury.
MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS
For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond.
The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.
Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it.
- Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come.
- Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions.
- Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus.
Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-
We didn't spend last week playing checkers.
News & Notes:
- Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
- The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed.
- D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
- Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week.
- Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.
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