Galette, Jordan emerging as top sack tandem
Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette lived with an aunt in
Haiti until age 10 before reuniting with his parents in a New York
suburb, and in his own words, ”came from nothing.”
Cameron Jordon was practically born into the NFL – a child of
privilege whose father played tight end for the Minnesota
As defensive teammates in New Orleans, they complement each
other rather well, emerging this season as one of the most
effective pass-rushing tandems in the NFL.
”I respect what Cam has done to get here,” Galette said after
Thursday’s practice, reflecting on his and Jordan’s divergent paths
to pro football. ”I came from nothing, but in some ways it’s
harder when you know you always have someone to support you. He was
able to stay motivated.”
Jordan, who is 6-foot-4, 287 pounds, played four years at the
University of California before the Saints selected him in the
first round – 24th overall – of the 2011 draft.
After Jordan finished last season with eight sacks, the Saints
hoped he’d emerge as an elite pass-rushing end in 2013.
He has 11 1/2 sacks so far this season, making him the first
Saints player since Will Smith in 2009 to surpass 10.
Galette isn’t far behind – with nine – as the Saints (10-3)
prepare to travel to St. Louis (5-8) on Sunday.
”Both of them have good motors,” Saints coach Sean Payton
said. ”Those two guys have really stepped up and given us
consistent pressure. Sometimes it may not result in sacks.
Sometimes it may result in a hurry that results in an incompletion.
On third down, that’s (getting the defense) off the field.”
With 20 1/2 sacks combined, Jordan and Galette represent the
second-most productive sack tandem in the NFL.
The only teammates to combine for more sacks this season are
Kansas City’s Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, who each have 11.
While Jordan was a returning starter, it wasn’t clear last
offseason how prominent of a role the 6-2, 258-pound Galette would
have in his fourth pro season.
With the Saints switching to a 3-4 front under new defensive
coordinator Rob Ryan, Galette was moved from end to outside
linebacker, but still was expected to be an edge pass-rusher,
rotating in to spell projected starter Will Smith.
That changed when Smith had a season-ending knee injury in the
Now Galette, who was undrafted in 2010, is making the Saints’
scouting department look pretty good.
Galette had started his college career at Temple, spending three
seasons there, but was dismissed when a relative staying with him
was caught with stolen property. He finished his college career at
Division II Stillman.
”He’s obviously come a long way,” Payton said. ”He was a free
agent we looked closely at. We saw speed and athleticism in the
player. … Where he’s at now is because he had a vision and he
worked extremely hard.”
Galette became increasingly optimistic about this season shortly
after Ryan was hired.
”When Rob got here, he actually called me. He said he’s looking
at this film and didn’t really know who I was before. And he was
like, `Wow, you can be special,”’ Galette recalled. ”I’m like,
`Man, this guy’s just building my confidence up.”’
In New Orleans’ 31-13 victory over Carolina last Sunday night,
the Saints sacked Cam Newton five times. Galette was credited with
three and Jordan two.
Galette said he and Jordan sensed early on that they could cause
havoc together in opposing offensive backfields, and shared the
belief since the season started they would combine for 20 sacks or
”We knew it was going to happen. Like, we called it,” Galette
said. ”We knew that (Jordan) has the power and all the skill set
to beat any tackle in this league. And I come off the edge with
speed and push the pocket.”
Galette and Jordan say credit for their production goes in no
small part to the Saints interior linemen for compressing the
pocket, as well as to those in pass coverage for giving them the
time to get to the quarterback. But middle linebacker Curtis Lofton
said Galette and Jordan have been exceptional.
”They have taken steps toward being a very good or even special
pass rushers,” Lofton said. ”They have all the moves – a bull
rush, speed rush, spin move. They have a counter to whoever is
going to try to block them.”
Notes: TE Josh Hill (hamstring), S Rafael Bush (ankle) and LB
Keyunta Dawson (calf) missed practice. … DE Glenn Foster (knee)
and DT Brodrick Bunkley (back) were limited.