It appears the Redskins pursuit of recently dismissed New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette is quite serious. While not a done deal yet, Galette seems to have major interest of the Washington brass, and perhaps more importantly, not many other suitors.
Galette's talent is obvious: With 22 sacks the last two seasons he has a proven ability to get to the quarterback. Outside of Ryan Kerrigan, few on the Redskins defense can boast the same, and certainly no other linebacker can tout those kind of numbers.
Galette brings much baggage, both as a teammate and a person, and GM Scot McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden must weigh that against his on-field talents. But one name seems a bit lost in the Galette-palooza, that of former second round pick Trent Murphy. By all accounts, Murphy had a tremendous offseason, adding weight and getting familiar with the new defensive scheme of Joe Barry. Gruden even said as much after practice on Wednesday.
"It’s very early at training camp and we like competition in all spots, but Trent Murphy has really done an excellent job," the coach said. "In OTAs, he probably had about 15 sacks – would-have-been sacks – if we let the whistle blow."
As a rookie, Murphy's numbers were rather pedestrian, though the big man from Stanford did deal with injuries. He played in 15 games, logged 22 tackles to go with 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. He took over the starting outside linebacker job when Brian Orakpo went down with injury, and with 'Rak gone now to Tennessee, that job is presumed to be Murphy's. Or was presumed to be Murphy's until the Galette situation arose.
There will certainly be competition from new rookie Preston Smith, but Murphy has already established himself as a strong player against the run. If he can combine that with better pass rushing, there would be no question who gets the starting spot. To call it a hype train implies false connotation, and by all accounts that's not the case, but the avalanche of positive talk on Murphy's development this offseason leads reason to think it could be a big year for 93.
"He’s really put on some weight. He’s stronger, he looks a little quicker, and he’s got great knowledge of the system. He’s a very smart player," Gruden said of Murphy. "Trent is going to be a tough guy to get out of that lineup."
An NFL team can never have too many pass rushers, period. As offenses transition around the league to more up-tempo and pass heavy, the ability to get to the opposing QB is one of the few means to slow a team down. If McCloughan believes Galette will make the team better, and the organization is properly prepared to handle any off-field issues, a potential signing makes sense.
But what does it mean for Murphy? And what does it mean if the coaches all speak to his development from his rookie season to Year 2?
Let us know what you think in the comments.