The Dallas Cowboys are opening up the season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they may be getting a major weapon back just in time.
Dallas and Tampa Bay squared off last year to open the NFL season, with the Buccaneers taking a last-second 31-29 victory. Dallas will be looking to start 2022 with a win, and that means the offense has a tall task.
It could get a little easier though, according to Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy. The Dallas coach teased that wide receiver Michael Gallup is making serious strides in recovery.
“I thought his workout was excellent really the last two days,” McCarthy initially said, per the Cowboys’ website. “…He has checked every box the whole way… Physically he looks really good. But we don’t have a timeframe (for his return). That will answer itself. But we’ve been very encouraged by the work.”
McCarthy was then asked about Gallup playing on Sunday, and his answer is optimistic, but vague.
“Well, if he practices today, we’ll talk about it,” McCarthy said.
It’s worth noting that Gallup did practice, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota.
Having Gallup back would elevate the Cowboys’ offense, and add another dimension to quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game.
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Gallup Trying to Get Back with Cowboys
At one point in 2021, Dallas was able to trot out a wide receiver combo of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Gallup. That trio won’t be together in 2022, but having Gallup as the second-best option behind Lamb still makes for a dangerous duo.
Gallup tore his ACL in January, but had already missed eight game last season due to a calf injury in Week 1(against the Bucs, of all teams.) As Pro Football Reference shows, Gallup still put together a solid season with 445 receiving yards and two touchdowns over nine total appearances.
However, Dallas fans know what he can achieve over the course of a full season. Over 30 games in 2019 and 2020, Gallup totaled 1950 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on 125 catches.
Now, he has the opportunity to come back fresh at the start of a season. However, McCarthy’s words of optimism don’t mean that Dallas will rush Gallup back to the lineup against the Buccaneers.
Jerry Jones Talks Gallup Before Buccaneers
Earlier in the week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went on local Dallas station 105.3 The Fan to preview the Week 1 game. When Gallup came up, Jones didn’t rule out the receiver but also didn’t think the 26-year-old would play against Tampa Bay.
“I couldn’t be more pleased about how he’s pleased with his status and how coaches are pleased,” Jones said. “He can do anything you ask of him right now… We want to be conservative with him… He won’t be out there, more than likely, against Tampa.”
So, Jerry doesn’t expect Gallup to play but he also thinks that he can do “everything” being asked of him implies he’s on the way back.
Obviously, Jones, McCarthy and the rest of Dallas would love to have Gallup back. But if he isn’t going to be ready, forcing the Buccaneers to gameplan for his presence makes preparations a bit more difficult.