The Dallas Cowboys invested resources into improving their interior defensive line during free agency in 2020. The biggest addition was Gerald McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl selection who has built a reputation as of the league's best defensive tackles since entering the NFL in 2010. Unfortunately, McCoy suffered a ruptured quadriceps in August, and through an injury waiver in his contract, he was released from the team.
The veteran didn't let his injury stop him from contributing to the Cowboys though. Rookie Neville Gallimore was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and McCoy took him under his wing. On the latest episode of The Locker Room podcast, former coach Brian Billick asked McCoy about life in an NFL locker room and the veteran explained how he used FaceTime to assist Gallimore during his first year in the pros.
“Like me and Neville Gallimore for example. Drafted third round by Dallas this year. When I couldn’t be in the building he would come home and we would FaceTime and we would go over the stuff,” McCoy said. “Like hey listen, this is what you need to be, because you know the NFL has that NFL replay app, where you can watch the coach’s film. So what I would do, because I couldn’t get the film, so I would watch it on that and I would break it down say hey this what you’ve got to be doing, this is this, this is this. I couldn’t do that with DeMarcus Lawrence. He’s a vet. He does it his way. But I knew I could do it with a Neville Gallimore and that’s why you’ve got to understand who you’re in the locker room with and make it a point to get to know each other and that’s how you become a team and start to grow and that’s the different dynamic of being in different types of locker rooms, man. You’ve just got to make it a point to get to know each other.”
Gallimore played just 20 defensive snaps in the first two games and didn't see the field in Week 3 or Week 4. He would see his role increase significantly over the next three games, including logging 38 snaps against the Washington Football Team in his first career start in Week 7 in which he recorded four tackles.
His breakout performance came two weeks later against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he was one of the highest-graded interior defensive linemen in the league in terms of run defense grade, run stops, and run stop percentage according to Pro Football Focus.
Neville Gallimore recorded his 2nd career start on Sunday and had a breakthrough performance as a run defender:
— PFF DAL Cowboys (@PFF_Cowboys) November 10, 2020
The former Oklahoma Sooner would start the final seven games as well. He had his struggles, which is expected from a rookie, but finished strong with 16 tackles and a half-sack in the final five weeks.
There's a chance McCoy could be brought back with the Cowboys in 2021, and if so, Gallimore can get even more guidance from him on a face-to-face basis. Nonetheless, the Cowboys have a young stud on the interior defensive line to build on going forward.