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Redskins in a no-lose situation with confident Junior Galette

Redskins in a no-lose situation with confident Junior Galette

Junior Galette was something of a forgotten man during the Redskins’ offseason program. That will happen when a player misses back-to-back seasons as Galette did with a pair of Achilles tears, one in each leg.

Despite the missed time, Galette is confident that he can regain the form that he had when he racked up 12 sacks in 2013 and 10 in 2014. That got him a big contract extension from the Saints but they quickly moved on after Galette went through some off-field issues.

RELATED: Did Kirk Cousins over prepare for the 2016 season?

In fact, Galette, 29, thinks that he can be superior to what he was in New Orleans.

“I think I’m going to be better than what I was,” he said after a minicamp practice this week. “Honestly, if I didn’t feel like that, I wouldn’t even come back. I don’t want to come back the way I was, I want to be better than what I was you know? So, it’s just the level of confidence that I have in myself in overcoming a lot of obstacles in life that took me here and molded me into this person I am today with extreme confidence and I feel like I do have what it takes.”

One thing that could make Galette better is his new weight. His typical playing weight has been around 263 pounds. He has dropped about 15 pounds and will play in the upper 240s. Certainly, he will trade some ability to set the edge against the rush for some additional quickness while rushing the passer.

Jay Gruden was among many who were surprised to see Galette participating in 11-on-11 work during OTAs about 10 months after his last Achilles tear. He said that it looks like Galette still has his most important assets as a pass rusher.

“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to see Junior a whole lot this time of year, really,” said Gruden. “We’re trying to get him healthy. But he’s been out there working and he’s done a nice job. He knows he’s got a little ways to go, but you can still see that he’s got the quick twitch, which you really need off the edge. He can bend, and now as far as stamina goes, he’s going to continue to work to get in shape.”

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The Redskins must be careful when it comes to Galette. As much as they might like to, they just can’t count on Galette to be available for 16 games. They already have exercised caution by drafting OLB Ryan Anderson in the second round, adding him to a group of edge rushers that includes Galette, Preston Smith, Ryan Kerrigan, and Trent Murphy. So even if Galette is unavailable for whatever reasons, the Redskins still go four deep with solid pass rushers (after Murphy’s four-game suspension is over).

They really can’t lose with Galette. His salary cap hit is $800,000, almost insignificant as part of the $167 million total cap. If he is healthy he can work in situations where he can be most effective, likely when it's third down and the offense has six or more yards to go. If he ends up getting injured again or is ineffective, meanwhile, the Redskins have enough depth to deal with it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

Oddsmakers give Kirk Cousins favorable shot at 2017 NFL MVP

There continues to be a (ridiculous) debate on whether or not Kirk Cousins can continue to be a successful starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.

In the betting industry, there is not much debate with Cousins being listed with 50/1 odds to win the NFL MVP award this upcoming season from Bovada. Among all the other players listed, he is in a tie for 14th. 

He is coming off back-to-back seasons with seven 300 yard passing games, a team record, and has an abundance of fresh, young wide receivers to compliment his passing style. Last year he was third in the league in passing yards with 4,917, trailing only Drew Brees (5,208) and Matt Ryan (4,944). 

The team may not be poised for a Super Bowl run in 2017-18, but if the team makes a post-season run, who will it be on the back of? Jordan Reed? Rob Kelley? Ryan Kerrigan?

No, it will be Kirk Cousins. 

RELATED: Ex-GM outlines staggering contract for Kirk Cousins

Entering this season at 40-years-old, and defending Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady is the overall favorite at 4/1. He is closely followed by Aaron Rodgers, and young quarterbacks Derek Carr and Dak Prescott. 

BOVADA 2017-18 NFL MVP ODDS:

Tom Brady, NE — 4/1
Aaron Rodgers, GB — 7/1
Derek Carr, OAK — 9/1
Dak Prescott, DAL — 12/1
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — 12/1
Russell Wilson, SEA — 12/1
Matt Ryan, ATL — 16/1
Ezekiel Elliott, DAL — 20/1
Drew Brees, NO — 25/1
Andrew Luck, IND — 25/1
Cam Newton, CAR — 25/1
David Johnson, ARI — 33/1
Marcus Mariota, TEN — 33/1
Sam Bradford, MIN — 50/1
Antonio Brown, PIT — 50/1
Kirk Cousins, WAS — 50/1
Julio Jones, ATL — 50/1
Eli Manning, NYG — 50/1
Carson Palmer, ARI — 50/1
Adrian Peterson, NO — 50/1
Philip Rivers, LAC — 50/1
Matt Stafford, DET — 50/1
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG — 66/1
Rob Gronkowski, NE — 66/1
Alex Smith, KC — 66/1
Ryan Tannehill, MIA — 66/1
J.J. Watt, HOU — 66/1
Jameis Winston, TB — 66/1
Blake Bortles, JAX — 100/1
Andy Dalton, CIN — 100/1
Joe Flacco, BAL — 100/1
T.Y. Hilton, IND — 100/1
Marshawn Lynch, OAK — 100/1
LeSean McCoy, BUF — 100/1
Von Miller, DEN — 100/1
DeMarco Murray, TEN — 100/1
Carson Wentz, PHL — 100/1

RELATED: After Derek Carr deal, Cousins' best option may be short-term

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True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

True or False: Rob Kelley will be Redskins leading rusher

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins top running back in 2016, an incredible story of an undrafted guy working his way to the top. Of course, Matt Jones' problems with fumbling helped push Kelley to the top. 

Redskins coach Jay Gruden speaks highly of Kelley, particularly his fluidity and vision, but the team drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round this year to provide additional competition in the backfield.

Here's the crucial statement: Rob Kelley will lead the Redskins in rushing yards in 2017.

Finlay: True.

Kelley averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry last season and the Redskins ground game is very much centered on a "4 or more" philosophy. Washington running backs coach Randy Jordan joined the #RedskinsTalk podcast and explained that the team wants a runner it can count on for positive yards more than creating big plays. The Redskins offense, as designed by Gruden, sets up for big plays in the pass game, and the run should allow for proper use of play action. 

In just nine starts last year, Kelley gained more than 700 yards. Project that out over 16 games, and he would be over 1,000 yards rushing. Perine has much to learn about the NFL, and understanding pass protections will take time for the rookie out of Oklahoma. Chris Thompson will be a key part of the offense, but much of his yardage will come via the pass game. 

Kelley will lead this team in rush yards. He's looked great in OTAs and minicamp while the coaching staff believes Kelley is in much better shape this year than he was as a rookie. Write it down in pen. 

RELATED: How will Kelley and Perine share the carries?

Tandler: True.

After the draft and during rookie camp I was saying that there was a chance that Perine could lead the team is rushing this year. But after seeing Perine playing with the big boys in OTAs and minicamp it’s apparent that he has a long way to go to become a consistently productive running back.

One thing Kelley seems to have going in his favor is that he has a very sensible outlook on the NFL. As JP noted, Kelley showed up to Redskins Park in better shape than he did as a rookie. This indicates to me that he understands that being an NFL players is a year-round job. Staying in great shape is important in the league but at running back it’s vital. Kelley gets that and because he does, his chances of being available for 16 games are much higher.

In turn, that improves his chance of being the team’s leading rusher. I’m not sure if he’ll get 1,000 yards—Perine will get things figured out enough to take some carries before the season gets too old—but Gruden will make sure that he gets fed plenty as long as he is available. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back