Just like fans were excited to see Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Junior Galette team up for the Redskins to rush opposing quarterbacks this fall, the players were excited too. When news broke that Galette would miss all of the 2016 season with a torn Achilles, fans were stunned. Turns out, the players were too.
"It definitely was shocking," Kerrigan said. "I wasn’t expecting to hear it, especially at the timing of it."
Not that there is ever a good time for a serious injury, but Galette missed all of 2015 with a torn Achilles. For more than a year, Galette posted to social media about his recovery and his excitement to get back on the field. At various Redskins training sessions this offseason, Galette could be seen working out, and he always talked about how fired up he was to get back on the field.
MORE REDSKINS: IS GREG HARDY AN OPTION? SHOULD HE BE?
Now, for the second straight year, that won't happen.
"It's just hard because we’ve seen him put in the work to get healthy," Kerrigan said of Galette. "It’s heartbreaking for him, it's heartbreaking for us."
Kerrigan, speaking at a Good Humor event in downtown Washington on Tuesday, explained that he didn't even believe the Galette injury when he first heard it. He said a friend texted him with the news, and Kerrigan thought it was a joke, until he looked around online and saw all of the reports.
Now without Galette, the 'Skins still report to training camp on Wednesday, and the defense will need to adjust.
"Collectively, across the front, we gotta take it upon ourselves," Kerrigan said. "We got to be even more productive."
Washington ranked in the middle of the NFL with 38 sacks in 2015. Even without Galette, that number could improve as the defense should be better on the back end with the addition of Josh Norman and Kendall Fuller. Galette's loss will impact the defense's depth, as the talent drop off behind Smith and Kerrigan will be severe.
"We do have Houston Bates who has some game experience from last year," Kerrigan said. "We all gotta collectively step it up."
As for Galette, Kerrigan said he texted his injured teammate, sending him well wishes as he deals with a second straight season ending injury.
"You wish him emotional strength."