Red­skins train­ing camp

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY MAS­TER TESFATSION mas­ter.tesfatsion@wash­post.com

Through Aug. 13, Rich­mond

A pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship

Ju­nior Galette has been a men­tor to rookie Ryan Anderson.

rich­mond — When Ryan Anderson first ar­rived at Red­skins Park, the rookie ap­proached Ju­nior Galette. The 22-year-old told Galette, 29, that when he was in high school he had ad­mired watch­ing Galette’s early NFL ca­reer.

Galette was hum­bled, in more ways than one.

“I was like, ‘Damn, I’m old,’ ” Galette said. “I had to re­al­ize that I’m a lot older now, 29 years old, and this kid is 22.”

Only in sports can 29 feel old. De­spite the age gap, the re­spect is mu­tual be­tween the two out­side linebackers, who could pro­vide the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins with a level of depth they haven’t had at the po­si­tion dur­ing Jay Gru­den’s ten­ure as head coach.

As a teenager at Daphne High in Alabama, Anderson re­called, he watched Galette play for the New Or­leans Saints. Anderson had been im­pressed by Galette’s jour­ney from go­ing un­drafted out of col­lege to record­ing 22 to­tal sacks as a starter in 2013 and 2014.

“He worked his way up to the top,” Anderson said. “He was an ef­fort guy. He played hard, don’t take many plays off. That’s what I re­spect about his game.”

Anderson, a sec­ond-round pick out of Alabama, has been at­tached to Galette dur­ing his first three months with the or­ga­ni­za­tion. He of­ten has been spot­ted with Galette at off­sea­son prac­tices and train­ing camp, pick­ing his brain on the side­line and as they walk off the field.

Galette, like­wise, has praised Anderson’s abil­ity to pick up the play­book quickly.

“Ob­vi­ously, every­one has ar­eas in their game that they need to im­prove, but men­tally, he’s def­i­nitely there,” Galette said. “You wouldn’t think that he’s a rookie. He comes in, and he knows his stuff. Some­times, I ask him like, ‘Hey, what’s go­ing on here?’ when we’re out on the field. Whether he’s wrong or not, he’s com­mu­ni­cat­ing and mak­ing sure that he’s on his toes.”

As the sea­son ap­proaches, Galette and Anderson are try­ing to es­tab­lish them­selves in train­ing camp — but for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Galette is hop­ing to re­turn to his form from 2014, the last sea­son he was healthy enough to play. He has been side­lined the last two sea­sons with the Red­skins be­cause of sea­son-end­ing Achilles’ in­juries to each heel.

Head­ing into Satur­day’s prac­tice, Galette’s burst and quick­ness look sim­i­lar to what he ex­hib­ited with the Saints. He has been the only pass rusher to give left tackle Trent Wil­liams a con­sis­tent chal­lenge dur­ing one-on-one pass­rush­ing drills.

“He’s now, what, an eight-year pro? He’s smart. He knows the game,” Wil­liams said. “He’s been around for a minute. He knows how to use his rushes to his ad­van­tage. He’s just a re­ally good player.”

Anderson is at­tempt­ing to make an im­pact as a rookie. He is be­hind four ex­pe­ri­enced out­side linebackers at the po­si­tion, but Anderson could re­ceive a role dur­ing the start of the sea­son while Trent Mur­phy serves a fourgame sus­pen­sion.

At Alabama, Anderson was known for his mo­tor and tough­ness. He fin­ished with 141/2 sacks, 30 tack­les for losses, five forced fum­bles, three passes de­fended, an in­ter­cep­tion and a defensive touch­down dur­ing his fi­nal two sea­sons (28 games) with the Crim­son Tide.

“That’s what drew us to Ryan in the draft,” Gru­den said about that tough­ness. “He’s def­i­nitely an ‘al­pha’ and a leader. He plays hard. Same with Ju­nior, but that’s the men­tal­ity you want your de­fense to have. The more of those guys, the bet­ter . . . . That type of per­son­al­ity is con­ta­gious, and that’s what we want.”

As long as Galette re­mains healthy, he will re­ceive an op­por­tu­nity to prove that he is still an ex­plo­sive pass rusher in the league. For Anderson, it will be a sea­son-long process. There may be spurts where he is ca­pa­ble of dis­play­ing his abil­ity at out­side line­backer dur­ing the sea­son, but with the depth at the po­si­tion, Anderson’s best chance at play­ing time could oc­cur on spe­cial teams bar­ring an un­fore­seen in­jury.

“Ryan Anderson is find­ing his way right now,” Gru­den said. “Ju­nior is try­ing to find his way back. Both of them prob­a­bly aren’t quite as vo­cal as they prob­a­bly will be in the fu­ture if they start to per­form very well, play to the level they think they can. Ju­nior is try­ing to get him­self back to shape, and Ryan is try­ing to learn the sys­tem and find a way to fit in.”

JOHN MC­DON­NELL/THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Rookie out­side line­backer Ryan Anderson, hit­ting a sled Satur­day, is learn­ing from Ju­nior Galette.

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