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Redskins and LB Junior Galette agree to deal

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Redskins and LB Junior Galette agree to deal

RICHMOND—The Redskins have rolled the dice and signed former Saints pass rusher Junior Galette, according to his agent. The contract is for one year at the league minimum salary of $745,000.

Adding Galette instantly upgrades the Redskins’ pass rush, which finished last season tied for 21st in sacks. But talented 27-year-old also brings baggage. A lot of it. 

Galette was released last week by the Saints after being paid a $12.5 million bonus in March because the team decided that his troubles off the field and brash personality outweighed his on-field productivity. 

In 2013 and 2014, Galette racked up a total of 22 sacks. He also amassed 45 quarterback hurries last season. 

The NFL, however, is investigating Galette’s January arrest for alleged domestic violence incident; the charges were later dropped. The league is also looking into a two-year-old video that allegedly shows Galette striking a woman with a belt during a group altercation on a beach. It’s unclear if he’ll face any discipline from the NFL. 

Since Galette’s release, the Redskins have been talking to people who know the player in an attempt to figure out whether he’s worth the risk.  

Galette, who suffered a pectoral muscle injury earlier this summer that did not require surgery, met with Redskins coach Jay Gruden and GM Scot McCloughan in Richmond on Thursday and remained in town overnight. 

“We judge it on an individual basis,” Gruden said Thursday, asked how the team evaluates free agents with checkered histories. “And it’s something that Scot [McCloughan], myself and Bruce [Allen] and the defensive staff will all talk about. Obviously, he’s had some issues in the past but we like to draw our own conclusions about every individual that we bring in to this building, and we’ll go from there. It’s very early right now, and I haven’t had a chance to talk to him at all. So until I do, I won’t draw any conclusions on what’s happened to him in the past.”

It wasn’t immediately clear when Galette will start practicing, but there’s little doubt about why the Redskins made the gamble: he’ll provide a much-improved pass rush from the right side of the defense. 

Based on the current depth chart, it would seem likely that Galette would be the starter opposite Ryan Kerrigan, a move that could relegate rookie Preston Smith and second year linebacker Trent Murphy to reserve status. Smith and Murphy had entered camp expecting to battle for a starting job. 

Signing Galette, however, changed those plans. As it should. Galette is a proven playmaker that will provide an immediate and needed boost to a Washington defense that ranked 29th in points allowed last season.

But the question remains: is Galette’s undeniable talent on the field worth the potential for trouble off of it? The decision to sign him means Gruden and McCloughan were in agreement that the answer, from the Redskins' perspective, at least, was a resounding, “Yes.”

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Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

Jay Gruden deserves praise for keeping Redskins 'out of the ditches'

On paper, Jay Gruden's tenor with the Redskins is nothing to write home about. Through five seasons he holds a 35-44-1 record, good enough for a .444 winning percentage. Looking at that, some may draw the conclusion that Gruden hasn't been what the Redskins need at the helm.

But according to Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt, that's not exactly the case. Taking into account the variables Gruden has dealt with throughout the five years, Gantt actually sees him as a "really good" coach.

"I have always come down of the side, maybe, of guys who are doing more with less," Gantt said recently on a Redskins Talk Podcast. "I think Jay has done a pretty good job keeping things in the middle."

Doing more with less and working in the middle essentially defines Jay Gruden's career with the Redskins. Besides his opening year in 2014 in which Washington went 4-12, Gruden's teams have consistently finished right around the middle of the pack.

In the last four seasons, the Redskins have not won more than nine games, but they also haven't lost more than nine. Hovering right around .500, they've always been around league average.

Part of the reason Gantt is willing to give Gruden praise for records that some coaches would get scolded for revolves around what he's had to work with. Gruden's time as head coach has been filled with injuries and other dilemmas both on and off the field. 

In those circumstances, it wouldn't be surprising to see a team completely flounder and spiral out of control. But, that hasn't really been the case with Gruden. Dealing with what he has, the head coach has kept the team competitive for the most part. The team hasn't been a perennial playoff contender, but it also hasn't been at the bottom of the league.

For that ability to keep the Redskins out of the basement despite all the problems he's encountered, Gruden is someone Gantt respects.

"They're able to keep it out of the ditches," Gantt said about Gruden and former NFL head coach John Fox, who Gantt followed during his time in Carolina.

"I think again in the NFL there's something to be said for that," Gantt added. "When things get sideways a Jim Zorn can lose control in a hurry. I feel like Jay just got sort of a steady hand on the wheel."

Until Gruden takes Washington back to the postseason, the critiques will continue to come, as they would for almost all head coaches in similar situations. But when looking at Gruden's time in Washington with a wide view of everything that has happened, Gantt believes the head coach deserves at least a little praise for keeping things afloat.

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Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

Best birthday ever? 107-year-old Redskins fan celebrates in Burgundy and Gold

When Carletha "Nana" West was growing up, she began to take an interest in football. In particular, she took notice of a certain Redskins quarterback. 

"When Sammy Baugh was quarterback I liked him and I was just learning football at that time," West said. "I was young myself."

Baugh commanded the Redskins offense from 1937-1952 and became one of West's favorite player. With that, her fandom for the Redskins grew.

Decades later, her love for the Redskins remains. So for her 107th birthday -- yes, 107th -- she, of course, celebrated it with some Burgundy and Gold festivities.

Joined by Redskins President Bruce Allen, West took in her birthday on Thursday, July 18, at Brandywine in Alexandria, Va. Not only was she given a customized Redskins jersey with the number 107 and the name "Nana", but West also got a day named after her. In Alexandria, July 18 will now be known as Carletha "Nana" West Day.

West spent some time reminiscing about her years as a Redskins fan, singing 'Hail to the Redskins' and even sharing her advice on how to live a long, fulfilling life. Besides loving football, she shared some simple words of wisdom.

"Make friends," West said. "And keep them."

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