Redskins linebacker Junior Galette participated in full team drills Saturday for the first time in training camp and has a return date in mind.
Linebacker Junior Galette made some encouraging progress Saturday when he participated in 11-on-11 team practice drills for the first time since signing with the Redskins two weeks ago.
Head coach Jay Gruden believes Galette will make his debut with the team in Baltimore on Aug. 29, Washington's third preseason game.
"I feel great, man," Galette told reporters on Saturday. "I put the pads on, really tested my shoulder. We'll see how it feels tomorrow, if there's any soreness. I feel great. I'm blessed to be with a team that's on the rise."
Galette, who just signed a one-year contract with the Redskins, had a few learning moments on the field with his teammates, but that's to be expected in his first live action for quite some time. Earlier in the offseason, Galette completely tore his pectoral muscle and received mixed opinions about how he should address his injury.
"I knew that I could have had surgery and be out for five months," Galette said. "One of the opinions told me I should get the surgery and two other opinions told me no. My gut instinct said don't, and here I am today, well-prepared, well-equipped. Just got to get the cardio back of course."
That's primarily why Galette has needed more time to return to the field, to re-adjust to the physical demands of the game. Even after one day of practice though, he seemed excited envisioning how the defense will progress over the next month as a unit.
With an attitude entirely devoted to the team, he has no opinion about where he should play alongside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Both he and Galette have each totaled 22 sacks over the past two seasons, primarily playing on the right side of the defense.
"There's no preference," Galette said. "Whatever the team wants. Obviously I've been rushing against the left tackles my whole career so it doesn't make a difference. I've got an elite pass rusher from the other side in Kerrigan, so it doesn't really matter which side we play. You've got to take advantage of it and be cohesive together."
Gruden said Galette is "an exciting player" for the Redskins' defense.
"He brings a different type of burst and energy to that defense," Gruden said. "You can just see in 1-on-1 drills and the little bit he got out there. It's a different tempo with him coming off the ball. We've got to get him ready. We've got to make sure he's healthy, No. 1, knows the defense, and then when he's ready, he'll be ready. He's a good player."
Galette has played on imposing defenses before, but Saturday he noted there was something special about the collection of guys he's begun to know during the small window he's been in Richmond.
"It's going to be a process," he said. "I've played on teams before that looked amazing on paper but it just collapses on the field. But this team has something different, that guys are together and cohesive. I've been here 14 days and I can feel that guys really care. They want to win. You can feel that. It's not just about me, me, me. It's about us. It's about the team, and that's what I love here."