Competition can be the best medicine, and Redskins' pass-rushing specialist Junior Galette is learning that quickly. Since being signed by the Redskins in 2015, Galette has torn his Achilles twice and has been forced to watch the Redskins from the bench. Galette, however, isn't letting his issues get him down, and he has one of the best left tackles in football in Trent Williams to help him get back up to game speed.
Galette, who hasn't played a game since December 2014, is happy for the competition.
"[It's] the best way to get better," he said. "He's going into Year Eight and I played six years… I can't think of an NFL lineman that's better than him so you have to take advantage," Galette told Redskins.com. "Every chance I get to go up against him I tell him, 'I'm not going to take [this] play off,' because you don't get to see a lineman like that every Sunday."
In New Orleans, Galette recorded 31.5 sacks, including 22 over his last two seasons (2013-14). He didn't leave the Saints on the best of terms, but he seems more than settled in in Washington. For a player coming off of two torn Achilles, however, regaining his explosiveness has been difficult. Furthermore, it's difficult for players that have missed two seasons to come back and contribute, so Galette is grateful for the opportunity to play at game speed against one of the best.
"He can literally jump set you and you can try to run around him and he's still in great shape. Most linemen don't even think about jump-setting speed rushes, but he's done that to me a couple of times where I had to go back in the lab like, 'Oh, this can't happen again,'" Galette added on Williams. "And I have to refine those skills and find a way to beat him. So everything he does is everything you ask for in a left tackle."
Ryan Kerrigan has been the No.1 pass rusher in Washington for some time, but Galette is hoping to challenge him for the title. He'll be tested early, as the Redskins will face off against a solid tackle duo of Lane Johnson and Marcus Peters of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. That and playing in the NFC East, which also has the Cowboys and their stacked line, will show how ready Galette is to come back. Staying healthy is the first step, and contributing is the next natural progression.