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Kristian Garic

Wake up to live, local sports talks with Kristian and T-Bob Hebert on "Double Coverage!" 

Weekdays 6am-9am on 3WL 1350-AM

Twitter: @kristiangaric1
Email: kristian@3wl1350.com

Kristian: Saints are in a tough spot with Junior Galette

A video re-surfaced over the weekend of a man believed to be Junior Galette in a beach brawl striking one man with a belt in a fight, and later turning and striking a woman at least twice during the fracas.  Galette’s already scheduled to meet with he NFL at the end of this month stemming from his January arrest on domestic violence (charges in the case were dropped).  Galette’s attorney told Nick Underhill of The Advocate that it’s not Galette in the video.  The NFL is investigating the incident that apparently occurred in 2013. The Saints apparently are aware of the video.

WARNING: The video contains disturbing images and profane langauge.

The Saints are trying to let the league handle the process of investigating the matter, but some of the onus is on the team, if they’re truly preaching chemistry and re-establishing a winning culture.  The Saints model their franchise after the New England Patriots, and I wonder how the Patriots would have handled Galette’s January run-in, and this latest alleged video?  I understand the possibility that it isn’t Junior Galette in this video, but what about the possibility that it is?  If it is determined to be Galette, the Saints need to cut ties with Galette no matter what the cost.  

Releasing Galette would cost the Saints $17.5 million dollars of cap space next season if they parted ways with Galette based on his contract that was restructured on March 9th.  I’ve talked to a few legal analysts with knowledge of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and they’ve all told me the NFL cannot reasonably apply the 2015 Personal Conduct policy to the alleged incident from 2013.  One source I spoke with said “The Players Association would go crazy on the league if they decided to do that.”  On the flip side, the league could argue that this video wasn’t ‘reasonably discoverable until now’.  Also the league or the Saints could argue that Galette failed to report the incident in question and could try and recoup some money from his contract. 

The NFL designed a new personal conduct policy last year, and it calls for a minimum of a six game suspension for the first offense involving domestic violence or assault/battery.  Under the new policy, the second offense could result in a lifetime ban. 

Galette lacks perspective, maturity and character. “Really, at this level, you can conduct yourself as good as choir boy as you want, but sometimes the trouble comes to you,” Galette said last week at the teams minicamp.  Trouble doesn’t find Zach Strief, Drew Brees, Marques Colston and other players on the Saints roster.  Galette finds himself in bad situations because he puts himself in those situations.  

If it is Galette in that video hitting a woman with a belt, the Saints can’t keep him around no matter what the NFL deems as appropriate punishment.  The cap hit would be painful, but not having him around would be worth any price.  Also, the Saints would create a void at Outside Linebacker/Pass Rusher but it’s better than having that guy in your locker room and in you organization. 

Galette is becoming more of a problem while the Saints are looking for solutions.  One source I spoke with described Galette this way: “He needs to grow up, he’s troubled, he’s a party guy and kind of flashy.”  "Flashy" and "troubled" are not flattering descriptions but Galette insisted that he’s focused on football, and that his teammates have been supportive through a rough off-season.  He also maintains that he learned some lessons.   

The Saints will have no choice but to release him if it’s determined to be Galette in that Miami Beach Brawl.  Every NFL contract has specific language in the contract based on conduct detrimental to the team, it’s the catch all in just about every deal. If the league or the Saints exercise that clause, Galette could be suspended for a maximum of four games and fined 1 weeks pay.  Galette would be re-instated after those four games.

We might be in the sports "dead zone" until training camp starts, but the Galette saga will keep our interest. 
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Saints wrap up 2015 mini camp; Breaux, Coleman looking great

The Saints' on-the-field work is finished until the team reports to training camp at the end of July, after three days of mini camp at team headquarters on Airline Drive.  Sean Payton decided to cut practice short today by about an hour. “I think we got a lot of stuff done. This time away will be fairly quick, and before we know it, we’ll be back at training camp,” Payton said following practice.  The rookies have to report for camp a week early and the injured players follow, with the veteran players reporting two days ahead of the 29th of July.  

Stand outs:  If there was one particular player that made a ton of plays consistently it was defensive back Delvin Breaux. “I said that after the first practice, you can tell he belongs in the NFL - he’s a confident player that made a number of plays, and all of a sudden the Saints have some pretty good depth at cornerback, opposed to last year where that position was a weakness,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. Another player on the stand out list is WR Brandon Coleman.  I don’t recall one dropped pass from Coleman during the OTA and mini camp practices. “He’s been really sharp, you can tell he’s much more comfortable being able to play faster and he’s looked really good making plays on a number of different throws from the QB,” added Hebert.  

Off Time:  Most players will take a few days or week on vacation while they mix in some training, but the pitfalls are there for NFL players at this time of the year. Payton says he spends a lot of time talking about the trouble that could lurk during this break. “We go through it and talk about ‘no news’ and talk about different things,” Payton said; by ‘no news’ Payton means off-the-field incidents that could turn into distractions heading into training camp.  

Final thoughts:  I’ve talked about this a lot during the off-season, and I’ll say it again.  Everything positive you hear about a player standing out or making plays should come with some tempered enthusiasm, and jobs aren’t on the line right now.  The coaches are really measuring football smarts more than anything else at this time of year.  Every training camp that I’ve covered there is always one or two players that separate themselves when the pads go on, and some players that looked great in OTA’s and Mini Camp sometimes disappear.  
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Cooks, Anthony shine at Saints minicamp; Galette avoids surgery

The intensity was ramped up on Airline Drive today as the Who Dat Nation filled the stands for their first glimpse of the Saints in day one of Mini Camp.  “The schedule’s a little different in regards to our times and the amount of time we’re on the field, meeting time,”  Payton said after the Saints worked for about two hours on the field in front of packed house at team headquarters.  The format for practice wasn’t all that different from what the media saw in three previous practices.  

Galette:  NFL network reported that Saints OLB Junior Galette will not require surgery to repair a pectoral injury he sustained in the weight room.  Coach Sean Payton confirmed the news today following practice, and said the team is optimistic about getting Galette back on the field soon. “All along, we were just making sure that all eyes were on him and making sure we do the right thing as we approach this break.”  Galette is the team’s best pass rusher, registering double-digit sacks in back to back seasons, and sat out of practice today in camp.  “That’s clearly positive news for the Saints, because whether you like Galette or not, he’s a really good pass rusher with some vulnerability as a run defender,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Saints minicamp day one

Highlights:  Undrafted rookie WR R.J Harris had the play of the day, chasing down a long pass from QB Ryan Griffin, making a diving reception forty yards downfield in one team portion.  Tight End Benjamin Watson also continued build on a solid off-season, hauling  a deep seam pattern early in practice.  CB Kyle Wilson made back to back nice plays in pass defense, batting down one attempt and gathering an interception after a Drew Brees pass slipped through Nick Toon’s hands. Stanley Jean-Baptiste also put together a solid practice, coming up with a very athletic pass break up down the sideline that would have gone for a touchdown if not for the leaping deflection from Jean-Baptiste.  

Bobby sounds off on what impressed him at #Saints camp today - plus we're also asking, Stephone Anthony stood out big time.. would you be okay with a rookie linebacker leading the Saints defense?

Posted by WWL Radio on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bumps and Bruises:  Two players left practice early, S Kenny Vaccaro and CB Delvin Breaux. Sean Payton was not asked about their status following practice, so at this point it’s unknown the reason for their early exit from the field.  Both players were escorted by a member of the Saints training staff into the team locker room.  DE Akiem Hicks, WR Marques Colston, and DL Broderick Bunkley were among a handful of players that did not work.  Colston told the media later in the locker room that the team is simply managing his workload and added that he’s practiced two days a week in the organized team activity portion leading up to this week.

Hey Rookie:  Linebacker Stephone Anthony doesn’t look like a rookie out on the field right now for the Saints, he continues to make plays around the ball. “You can tell he’s got a high football IQ - it doesn’t look like it’s too big for him,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert in his observation of the rookie.  Sean Payton continued to heap praise on Anthony: ““He is around the ball. He certainly can be a leader. I think that first, by nature, an inside linebacker is potentially a guy who would have a headset and have some of those traits. He has really done a good job of getting acclimated to our system quickly. I would say he is pretty mature. When you are around him and visit with him he is ready for the competition and opportunities.”  

Saints Rookie LB Stephone Anthony another solid showing at Mini Camp.

Posted by WWL Radio on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cooks will be a stud:  Saints WR Brandin Cooks is the best playmaker on the roster right now.  That is very clear at this point in the off-season. “You can see he’s just got a different gear that not too many players can compete with. He catches the ball, and he’s up the field past defenders in a hurry,” said Saints Color analyst Hokie Gajan.  Cooks made several nice catches today, darting up field leaving defenders in his wake.  

Kicking battle:  Dustin Hopkins and Zach Hocker were both perfect on their attempts during the special teams portion of practice today ranging from 34 to 48 yards.  As I’ve said before this kicking battle will play all the way out in the final roster pairings in the pre-season.  Former Saints Kicker John Carney was at camp today working with both kickers “He’s spending three days here, just kind of working with these young guys. He’s kind of been close to the program and stayed involved” Sean Payton explained.  

The Saints are back on the practice field tomorrow on airline drive at 11am at team headquarters, the practice will be open to the public weather permitting. 
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LSU looks to eliminate Cajuns in Game 2

You can put Chris Sciambra on the list of LSU Tiger players with memorable performances in the post-season after his solo home run in the ninth inning last night to give LSU a 4-3 victory in game one of the Super Regional over ULL. The Tigers are one win away from the College World Series and could finish off ULL tonight in game two. 

The Tigers were on their heels a little bit after the Cajuns tied in the top of the ninth inning with a solo blast from Brenn Conrad. LSU managed just five hits on the night, but it was enough, after another solid performance from pitcher Alex Lange.  The Tigers were out hit by ULL, and give the Cajuns a ton of credit as they were not effected or bothered by the hostile record-setting crowd. 

The Tigers are in good shape once again on the mound with Jared Poche taking the hill after a dominant performance last weekend in the Super Regional, rediscovering himself after a couple of sub-par starts at the end of the regular season.  Sometimes teams have a hard time closing out another, and LSU might face that pressure tonight against ULL.  As we saw in game one, the Cajuns won’t go quietly and with their backs against the wall facing elimination might have just enough spunk to force a game three. 

Coverage starts at 2pm on the home of the Tigers, WWL 870 AM and 105.3 FM. First pitch is set for 6pm.
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Kristian: Baton Rouge buzzing with baseball!

Finally! Gameday is here on LSU's campus for the Super Regional round of the NCAA tournament.  Lousiana Lafayette and Louisiana State open the best of three series tonight at Alex Box Stadium, with a trip to the College World Series on the line.  The Tigers are the highest seed remaining, and an overwhelming favorite to make some noise in Omaha.  

ULL would love nothing more than to dash the hopes of an LSU program that has CWS expectations or bust nearly every year.   The Ragin Cajuns come in as one of the hottest teams in the country riding an eight game winning streak, and swept the Houston Regional last weekend.  

The two fans bases don’t like each other, lets just be honest.  The schools, on the other hand have tremendous respect for one another. “I like those guys, I expect the games this weekend will have great sportsmanship and competition,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri.  LSU is the better team, with more talent, but Mainieri doesn’t see the Cajuns as the underdog.  “If they’re in the NCAA tournament they’ve earned their right to be here.  If we don’t play our very best, we won't win these games.” Mainieri was quick to remind his players that Stony Brook came into Baton Rouge a few years ago and knocked LSU out of the tournament in the Super Regional. 

I’m interested to see the fans interact tonight.  I want to see just how much this rivalry means to LSU and ULL.  The Box is a daunting place to play for visiting teams, but the Cajuns have familiarity with the venue and the LSU players.  With that said, I cant wait to feel the energy tonight in the stadium.  Tonight should produce the largest crowd in LSU baseball history.  

LSU has every advantage, except pressure.  How can I say that when they are at home in the Super Regional?  Easy!  The expectations are different for the Tigers.  LSU was the No.1 team in the country for nearly the entire year. The fans and players have embraced the prospect of another return trip to the CWS.  The Cajuns were supposed to have a down year after making a run last year.  LSU has more riding on this game than just the CWS, but also in state pride, and bragging rights are at an all time high this weekend.  

LSU is 51-10 on the season, ULL is 42-21.  On paper LSU is better, they hit better, play better defense, have better pitching, they’re at home.  The Cajuns are scrappy though, winning two games in the regional last weekend in come from behind fashion in Houston.

The Cajuns will face LSU’s freshman stud Alex Lange in game one.  Lange was named National Freshman of the year earlier in the week and comes into tonight’s game with a sparkling 11-0 record and a 1.76 ERA.  ULL will counter with a freshman right hander in Wyatt Marks who is 6-1 this season with a 3.32 ERA.  

I walked around campus earlier this morning and you can feel the buzz for this one.  Fans are already tailgating.  Super Regionals are always special in Baton Rouge but I haven’t felt energy like this in the month of June down here, it’s common in September during football season.  

Here is what I expect: First, an absolute wild atmosphere at the Box, a very confident Ragin Cajun team, but a better more equipped LSU team to handle business.  The Tigers will apply pressure when they get runners on base, employing the hit and run often and a straight steal when the situation is right.  Lafayette has to play nearly flawless baseball to beat LSU in two games and that’s hard to do in that stadium with the fans revved up like they will be tonight.  I don’t see this series moving past Sunday - LSU will go back to Omaha for the College World Series. 

"Countdown with Kristian, T-Bob and Deke" at 3pm, network pre-game at 6:30 and first pitch at 7pm right here on TIGER Radio, WWL 870 AM and 105.3 FM!
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Kristian: Young wide outs impress again at Saints OTA

Jones and Coleman:  I wrote about the progression of WR’s Brandon Coleman and Seantavius Jones last week, and the both had another impressive week at Saints camp.  Jones made a nice back shoulder contested catch against CB Kyle Wilson in the team portion of practice.  Coleman also came up with a nice grab on a deep crossing route matched up against CB Keenan Lewis.  Coleman used his big frame to out position Lewis on the catch, and turned it up field racing to the end zone for the score. 

Both recievers are playing with more confidence in their second season, and you can see the quarterbacks gaining confidence in them.  With that said, without pads on it’s easier for recievers to shine and standout because it’s not as physical during OTA’s as it would be for training camp.  Early, and I mean very early, Coleman and Jones appear to be standing out over veteran wide outs they’re competing with. 

Hau’oli Kikaha:  The Saints second round pick received a large number of snaps with the first team defense in the nickel package as a rush specialist.  While he didn’t do anything spectacular he was hardly unimpressive.  Kikaha’s first step is explosive, and noticeable at practice.  He was provoked off-sides twice in team drills on hard counts from the quarterback.

Grayson Progressing:  Today was the media's first look at rookie Quarterback Garrett Grayson.  Last week he was at the NFL rookie premiere. Coach Sean Payton said “He’s progressing, and has picked things up fairly quickly.”  Grayson’s accuracy is a strength and was apparent today at practice. You can see he’s shortened his release a little bit from college, but still has plenty of room for improvement.  I’m interested to see how he does during the pre-season in live game action.  It’s difficult to evaluate the QB position until the bullets are live. 

Griffin vs McCown:  As I mentioned above in the receiver breakdown, it’s very early, but the back up QB position will be interesting this season.  Veteran Luke McCown has held down that spot as the primary back up to Drew Brees for the last two seasons. Second year QB Ryan Griffin (third season as a pro) seems poised to give McCown a tough run at it this year.  McCown probably has the strongest arm of the quarterbacks on the roster, but the Saints have spent some time developing Griffin, and could be the option in 2015 if he continues to progress in training camp.  It’s all a matter of if Brees goes down how would you feel about handing the reins to the inexperienced Griffin?  

Highlight: The best or most entertaining part of practice today happened when the team decided to have a competition between some of the offensive and defensive lineman in fielding a punt.  Sean Payton put “Up/Downs” on the line for the loser.  The competition was three rounds, with offensive players competing against defensive players. Akiem Hicks, Cameron Jordan,  and John Jenkins all took their shot at fielding a punt from Thomas Morstead. Let’s just say Hicks failed miserably, completely misjudging his only attempt. Jordan caught his, as did Jenkins on his fingertips.   The offensive linemen competing against Jordan, Hicks and Jenkins were Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, and Terron Armstead.  Evans made a nice grab, and Armstead (clearly the most athletic of the three) made it look natural, while Strief muffed his attempt.  The final round was between fullback Erik Lorig and rookie defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls.  Lorig had the punt bounce off his facemask and Eulls sealed it with a less than textbook catch.  The team enjoyed the competition, and it was a nice break from the routine before getting more work in afterwards. 

Notable holdouts:   Running back Mark Ingram was held out of work again this week with what Sean Payton described as a “foot/ankle” last week, and Payton said the team is just being “smart” at this time of year.  WR Marques Colston, and Defensive Tackle Broderick Bunkley were also among those that sat out of practice. 
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Kristian: Cam Jordan gets 5-year extension with Saints

After saying last week that there haven't been any "mind blowing" offers from the Saints, defensive end Cameron Jordan and the Black and Gold have apparently made up a lot of ground, and the two sides have ironed out a five-year deal.

Jordan was on the club option year of his rookie contract and was scheduled to earn just over six million dollars this season. Jordan's new deal has $33 million dollars in guaranteed money, with $27 million dollars in the first two years of the contract.  

Jordan had a solid but not stellar 2014 season with 7.5 sacks, after racking up 12.5 in 2013.  The Saints drafted Jordan with the 24th overall pick in the first round back in 2011.

The Saints have maintained that Jordan is a part of the answer on turning around a 31st ranked defense from a year ago, and will provide them with a stout run defender and some pass rush off the edge.  The Saints have always found ways to keep players they like.
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Kristian: Tigers show they can win in more than one way

For the 11th time in LSU history, the Tigers are moving on to the Super Regional round of the NCAA baseball tournament.

Starting pitcher Jared Poche was dominant in the 2-0 win over UNC Wilmington this afternoon in Baton Rouge. Poche struck out eight Seahawks hitters in 8 and 2/3 innings of work. After hitting a rough stretch in his last two outings, Poche responded in a  big way with his best outing of the season.  LSU will host the winner of the Houston Regional (Rice or ULL) next weekend in a best of three series for the right to play in the College World Series.   

Andrew Stevenson saved at least one run for LSU with an incredible diving catch in the top of the fourth inning.  Stevenson came up with the diving grab and robbed UNCW of a sure-fire double and a run.  It might be one of the better catches I've seen at any level of baseball.  He not only caught it, but had the awareness to double up the UNCW baserunner trying to get back to first base.  
LSU only scored two runs in the second inning, but that's all they needed.  Alex Bregman was hitless during the regional, which if you had told me that was going to happen then I would assume LSU wouldn't have made it out of the Regional round.  

The Tigers offense has struggled a bit, but baseball is so cyclical.  The Tigers showed during the regional they can win in a variety of ways - if the pitching is off, the hitting can make up for it.  Defense? Yeah, the Tigers have plenty.  Pitching? With the rebound outing from Poche, LSU is armed with two solid options with Lange and Poche for next weekend.  
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Kristian: No "mind blowing offers" yet for Saints DE Cam Jordan

Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan is entering his fifth year option season with the New Orleans Saints, and while he’s going to get just north of $6 million dollars this season as part of the club option year, he says the team and his representatives continue to talk numbers and extension.

"We’ve talked since last season, but I wouldn’t say it’s been any 'mind blowing offers.'" He describes the the offers so far as “eye popping” but also conceded that if it was that significant he would have signed it already. Jordan also added that his base salary this season is “eye popping” considering the amount of money that NFL players get paid in general. 

Jordan’s sack numbers dipped in 2014 to 7.5 sacks after racking up 12.5 QB take downs in 2013.  Jordan said he is more worried about the ‘overall performance of the defense this season than his contract.”  Jordan had the right answer, and the Saints are notorious for pushing the contract year to the brink and seeing a particular player cash in with a solid season during the final year of a deal. Case in point is Mark Ingram last season.  Jordan was the club’s 1st round draft pick (24th overall) along with Ingram in 2011. 
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Kristian: CJ Spiller will play a major role for the Saints this year

Running Back C.J Spiller was a really nice find for the Saints in free agency this spring.  He wasn’t an original target for New Orleans but once he was released from Buffalo, the Saints made a big play for him.  

The early returns on Spiller are very positive. “ He’s explosive.  He knows what to do.  I think there’s a real good fit for him with what we’re going to do offensively.  We’ll put him in a role where, whether he’s in the backfield, or flexed out, the key I think when we study him is finding him ways to get him the ball in space and let him utilize his skillset and speed,” Coach Sean Payton said following the first week of Organized Team Activities. 

If you’re looking for the lost production of Jimmy Graham, you might find it in Spiller.  Think Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas combined.  He’s that kind of player.  He might not be as fast as Sproles, but man, you can see defenders really struggle to get the angle on him in practice.  

Spiller has to stay healthy, and that’s something that he’s struggled with in his career, but so much of that is about luck.  If he stays healthy I could see him having a major impact on the Saints this season.  He’s got unique skills that Sean Payton is a master at utilizing, so sit back and relax. A healthy Spiller will be a fan favorite this season. 
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