In the year Gallimore, a former third-round pick in 2020, suffered a gruesome elbow injury in last year’s preseason that cost him all but five games and starts in 2021, and his absence was sorely felt before his return in mid-December — the pride of Welland, Ontario immediately on the football field. It reminds everyone of what he can do on 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 is starving for the lead at defensive tackle this season. Not only has he been tasked with improving himself, he’s also been tasked with mentoring new additions like rookie fifth-round pick John Ridgeway and second-year talents like Osa Odigizwa, Quinton Bohanna and Chauncey Golston, among others like former second-round pick Tristan. Hill (who is entering a critical season), the interior of the defensive front feels like Gallimore is going — both in production and on the field overall.
When asked following the Cowboys’ last open camp practice if he was ready to make up for the season he missed a year ago, Gallimore smiled and had no doubts about his answer.
“Yes, sir,” he said, “never believe that.” “It’s time. We can’t play with him. We’re going to get to him.”
“He’s ready to set the world on fire and now is the time to do it.”
If the Cowboys can stop the run consistently, in terms of yardage gained, edge rushers can push opposing tackles. For perspective, the club improved its run defense the previous year and ranked in the top-10 in rushing touchdowns allowed (13), four more than the league-best New England Patriots.
That said, their bend-but-don’t-break mentality has resulted in enough bend to beat a yoga instructor — they’re 16th-overall in total rushing yards allowed (1,918) and 25th-overall in yards allowed per carry. On the ground (4.5 in each hand).
That simply won’t work, and he’s trying to figure himself out without the help of the four-time Pro Bowl wideout, especially if the Cowboys hope to keep the Heat from a determined offensive line group and young receivers. Amari Cooper or at least a veteran game changer in Michael Gallup to start the season.
But while Gallimore has to lead as much as he wants and lead in it, the fans need to quickly grow into a similar game-changing force. Looking back at the first week of practice, it’s surprising how easily Ridgeway — basically a road grader — can move the big man in front of him, while Odigizuwa and Bohana both look a little too quick. than they were in 2021, and without sacrificing any physical weight or strength.
The latter can be attributed to Gallimore, who played more than once as a defensive end in a three-man front, realizing how versatile he can be and being able to remember early on what a defensive coordinator Dan is. Quinn expects from his linemen: flexibility between multiple positions; 0-tech/1-tech (nose strapping), 3-tech, 5-tech or more off-center.
Bottom line, they all have to deal with the expected (their base) and the unexpected (in-game adaptations), and if they’re part of a defense that has seen Quinn lead them out of bad situations, they should perform well in both situations. A first in many categories in his first year in Dallas.
It’s something Ridgeway is uncomfortable with.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” the rookie said during minicamp. “Whatever front you’re called on, you better get comfortable,” he was asked to walk through his college days at Arkansas. “…It depends on what front we were on. If we were three down or four down. If we were four, I could play 3-technique, nose tackle.” [or] Shadow. I was a 2-technologist when we were in three outings.
So, for Ridgeway, his first season with the Cowboys was mostly about refining his technique and adapting to what he was seeing, which was actually the biggest difference at the professional level.
“[It’s] The momentum, because the NFL is go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go,” he added. “In college, you can take two games and catch your breath. But every day you get fired up against the All-Pros. So you can’t take any breath.
As for what the Cowboys will need from their defense in 2022 if they are to finally end their fan-starved Super Bowl drought, no real words have been uttered. Gone, never.
It starts with, you guessed it: making it rain in Southern California. And even though it’s still Christmas, it looks like a storm front is moving in as the Gallmore event is becoming a bit of a rain dance in Oxnard.