Injury For Saints OLB Galette Comes At Wrong Time


It was supposed to be a season of renewal for the New Orleans Saints after a disappointing 7-9 finish and an even more disappointing overall feeling of confusion about how the team finished in that aspect.

Looking back, the Saints had seemed to lose some of their “blue collar” attitude and work ethic even as the 2014 offseason started.

Entitlement and bragging about not only how great the team was going to be, but the defense was as well can now be viewed as the tortoise vs. the hare scenario; with the Saints being the hare –while fans pulled out theirs (pun intended).

A player who trumpeted those expectations was outside linebacker Junior Galette who along the road to perdition for the 2014 season managed to step on the toes of former Saints.

Galette mentioned that players who were currently on the 2014 roster were better than players like linebacker Jonathan Vilma and even eluded that he (Galette) was better than former Saints defensive end Will Smith.

Jul 28, 2013; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Jonathan Vilma (51) and linebacker Will Smith (91) talk during a morning training camp practice at the team training facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This prompted Smith to respond on Twitter with a post he later deleted that said Galette “lost his mind” and to “worry about winning games and championships then hop off my (expletive)”.

More from Big Easy Believer

The brash nature of Galette had been something of what made him a fan favorite of Who Dats as he brought an attitude to the defense since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

His ability to rush the passer and put quarterbacks “in a body bag” gained him more playing time as well as a huge contract last season for 4-years and $41.5 million dollars.

But the one thing that couldn’t click for Galette was taking over as leader from the very individuals he insulted during a time the team was 5-7 on the season.

With big contracts come big expectations and along with the stepping up on the field, players are expected to step up off the turf as well.

Statistically, Galette didn’t have a down year in the aspect of numbers where Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 4th best 4-3 defensive end.

Nov 24, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) is pressured by New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) in the second quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

While listed as an outside linebacker, he was switched to defensive end as the Saints played the traditional 4-3 scheme playing the right side of the line in ten games.

The last four games of the season Galette only started two and saw his snap count go to an average of 30.5 out of 67.5 with some being due to injury, but also due to the fact opposing teams on running plays would go straight at him.

Stopping the run was something Galette never a master at and was rated 52nd out of 59 4-3 defensive ends for the 2014.

I mentioned about stepping up off the turf and that chicken came home to roost for Junior as well as he became involved in a domestic dispute that lead to his arrest.

Almost a week later Galette had to retrieve his vehicle from authorities after his cousin was arrested while driving it and illegal narcotics were found during a search.

The once heralded defensive player started to spiral downwards with fans who already were raising an eyebrow after the insults he cast a month earlier at former players who had helped bring a Super Bowl victory to New Orleans.

He stayed low key during the offseason which was unusual for the larger than life Galette but actually was very smart for several reasons.

More from New Orleans Saints

While he had lead the team with 10 sacks last season rumors circulated that the Saints could possibly be shopping Galette after a slew of trades involving players like tight end Jimmy Graham.

Also the addition of veteran outside linebacker Anthony Spencer and 2015 second round pick Hau’oli Kikaha called into question if more of Galette’s snaps would continue to get reduced.

That fire was fueled even more as Spencer was seen by the media during an organized team activity session working ahead of Galette during reps.

May 28, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Anthony Spencer (99) during organized team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Another domino fell against Galette’s favor as reports came out that he had suffered a pectoral injury lifting weights according to’s Albert Breer.

Galette is currently seeking a second opinion on whether to have surgery on the injury since recovery time is said to be as long as six months which would almost wipe out the season for him.

Also looming in the background and not spoken about much is a possible suspension involved in the domestic dispute he was involved in.

Although the charges against Galette were dropped, the NFL could still impose a punishment for him that mirrors the situation involving defensive end Greg Hardy.

Hardy was also involved in a domestic dispute with a former girlfriend and although the case was dismissed, commissioner Roger Goodell handed him a 10-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy.

If Galette is handed down a suspension combined with a lengthy recovery time for surgery, 2015 would be a wash completely.

Another added pressure is teammate and defensive end Cameron Jordan was given a 5-year, $55 million dollar extension just last week.

Oct 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) pumps up the crowd during the fourth quarter of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Buccaneers 37-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports’s Larry Holder commented in a recent article that the Jordan and Galette contracts could compare to the deals given to former Saints defensive ends in Will Smith and Charles Grant.

If the Galette/Grant comparison comes to fruition as Holder hints at…well you know how that worked out.

With the Saints dedicated to turning around their pitiful 2014 defense, the pec injury is the latest stumbling block for the former Stillman standout.

It always seemed that Galette found the right time to make a play on defense for the Saints, but now it seems that everything is happening to him at the absolute worst time possible……

Next: Saints Fans Should Dial Down the Hype Of OTA's