A former 2020 third-round pick, Gallimore suffered a horrific elbow injury in last year’s preseason that cost him all but five games and four starts in 2021, and his absence has been felt in a big way. ahead of his return in mid-December — the pride of Welland, Ont., immediately reminding everyone of what they can do on the football field, nuances of what could happen in the season opener Cowboys regular against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 11 at AT&T Stadium.
The 25-year-old is now 100% healthy and hungry to lead the way in defensive tackle this season. Tasked with not only improving, but also setting an example for new additions such as fifth-round rookie pick John Ridgeway and sophomore talents such as Osa Odighizuwa, Quinton Bohanna and Chauncey Golston, among others like the Former second-round pick Trysten Hill (entering a pivotal season), there’s a growing sense that inside the defensive front will go like Gallimore – both in production and as a fielding general.
When asked after the Cowboys’ last unpadded camp practice if he was ready to potentially deliver the breakout season that eluded him a year ago, Gallimore smiled and was unequivocal in his response. .
“Yes sir, absolutely. Believe it,” he said. “The time has come. We’re not going to play with it. We’re going to get there.”
“Ready to set the world on fire and now is the time to do it.”
If the Cowboys can consistently stop the run, yardage-wise, then edge rushers can play on opposing quarterbacks. For perspective, the club improved in their run defense over the previous year and ranked in the top 10 in touchdowns allowed (13), a tally that equates to just four more than the best New England Patriots in this category.
That said, their bend-but-don’t-break mentality has resulted in enough bends to make a yoga instructor blush – sitting in the middle of the pack at 16th in total rushing yards allowed (1,918) and 25th in total rushing yards allowed (1,918) and 25th overall in yards per authorized ground carry (4.5 per pass).
That just won’t be enough, and especially if the Cowboys hope to keep the heat from a group of offensive lines to be determined and young receiving corps who are also trying to figure themselves out without the help of a four-time Pro Bowl. Amari Cooper or, at least to start the season, a game-changing veteran in Michael Gallup.
But as much as Gallimore is willing and required to take the lead on the inside, his supporting cast must also grow rapidly into the same game-changing force, if they are to take the pressure (no pun intended) on Lawrence and outside passers. Watching the first week of practice, it’s impressive how Ridgeway – essentially a road grader – was able to move any large human placed in front of him, and with ease, while Odighizuwa and Bohanna both seem a little faster. than they were in 2021, and without sacrificing any physical mass or strength.
The latter can also be said for Gallimore who, on more than one occasion, unleashed a successful rotational move as a defensive end on a three-front, a nod to his versatility and a first reminder of what what defensive coordinator Dan Quinn expects from his linemen: an ability to flex between multiple positions; whether it’s 0-tech / 1-tech (nose plate), 3-tech, 5-tech or more offset.
Ultimately, they must all expect both the expected (their base stance) and the unexpected (in-game adaptations), and perform well in both circumstances if they are to be a part of the game. ‘a defense that saw Quinn leading them from the worst. first in many categories in his freshman year at Dallas.
It’s something Ridgeway isn’t uncomfortable with.
“It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever front they call, make yourself more comfortable,” the rookie said during the minicamp, noting that he was also asked to sit down. move during his college years in Arkansas. “… It depends on which front we were. If we were three or four. If we were four, I could play 3 techniques, nose [or] shadow. When we were in three tries, I was a 2-tech.”
So for Ridgeway, his first offseason with the Cowboys is mostly about refining technique and acclimating to what he considers the biggest difference on the professional level.
“[It’s] speed, because the NFL is go, go, go, go,” he added. “In middle school, you can play a few games and catch your breath. But you face the All-Pro every day. So you can’t breathe at all.”
As for what the Cowboys need from their defensive interior in 2022, if they are to finally end the long-running Super Bowl drought that has starved all of the fandom, truer words have not. not been said in the sense that they absolutely cannot breathe. turned off at all.
It starts with, you guessed it: making it rain in Southern California. And while it’s still early days, it looks like a storm front could be moving in as Gallmore’s buildup becomes a bit of a rain dance in Oxnard.