A former third-round pick in 2020, Gallimore suffered a terrible elbow injury in last year’s preseason that cost him all but five games and four starts in 2021, and his absence was felt long before his return in mid-December. – the pride of Welland, Ontario, immediately reminding everyone what he can do on the football field, shadows of what could happen as soon as the Cowboys’ regular-season opener against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 11 at AT&T Stadium. .
The 25-year-old is now 100% healthy and eager to lead the way at defensive tackle this season. Tasked with not only improving himself, but also setting an example for new additions such as rookie fifth-round draft pick John Ridgeway, and second-year talents like Osa Odighizuwa, Quinton Bohanna, and Chauncey Golston, among others, like former second-round pick Trysten. Hill (who is entering a pivotal season), increasingly feels as if the inside of the defensive front will go like Gallimore, both in production and overall from the field.
Asked after the Cowboys’ final unprotected practice camp if he’s ready for the breakout season that eluded him a year ago, Gallimore smiled and was unequivocal in his answer.
“Yes sir, absolutely. Believe it,” he said. “The time is now. We’re not going to play with it. We’re about to get to it.”
“Ready to set the world on fire and this is the time to do it.”
If the Cowboys can consistently stop the run, from a yards gain standpoint, edge rushers can hit opposing quarterbacks. For perspective, the club improved its run defense from the year before and ranked in the top 10 in rushing touchdowns allowed (13), a tally that amounts to just four more than the league-best New England Patriots. in that category.
That said, his bend-but-don’t-break mentality resulted in him bending enough to make a yoga instructor blush, in the middle of the pack ranking 16th overall in total rushing yards allowed (1,918) and in the 25 overall in rushing yards allowed. on the ground (4.5 per transfer).
That just won’t work, and especially if the Cowboys hope to hold off an undetermined offensive line group and a young receiving corps that is also trying to figure itself out without the help of the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. Amari Cooper or, at least to start the season, a veteran game changer in Michael Gallup.
But as much as Gallimore takes and must take the lead inside, his supporting cast must also quickly become the same game-altering force if they are to take the pressure off (no pun intended) on Lawrence and the outside pass-rushers. Looking at the first week of practice, it’s impressive how Ridgeway, essentially a road grader, has been able to move any large human that’s been placed in front of him, and with ease, while both Odighizuwa and Bohanna seem a bit faster. than they were in 2021, and without sacrificing physical mass or strength.
The latter can also be said for Gallimore who, on more than one occasion, unleashed a successful turning move at defensive end in a three-man front, a nod to how versatile he could be and an early reminder of what defensive coordinator Dan Quinn expects from his linemen: the ability to flex between multiple positions; either 0-tech/1-tech (nose slash), 3-tech, 5-tech or more off center.
Bottom line, everyone should expect both the expected (their base position) and the unexpected (in-game adaptations), and perform well in both circumstances if they’re going to be part of a defense that saw Quinn guide them from the worst. first in many categories in his first year in Dallas.
It’s something Ridgeway isn’t uncomfortable with.
“I don’t care. Whatever front they call, make yourself more comfortable,” the rookie said during minicamp, noting that he was also asked to move in his college days in Arkansas. “…Depends on which front we were on. If we were down three or down four. If we were down four, I could play 3 technique, nose [or] shade. By the time we were down to 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 sees is really the biggest difference at the pro level.
“[It’s] speed, because the NFL is go, go, go, go,” he added. “In college you can take a couple of plays and catch your breath. But you go against All-Pro every day. So, you can’t stop breathing at all.”
When it comes to what the Cowboys need from their defensive interior in 2022, if they want to finally end the long Super Bowl drought that has caused famine throughout the fandom, no truer words have been spoken that absolutely they can’t breathe. out, not at all.
That 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 approaching as the Gallmore prep turns into something of a rain dance in Oxnard.