In their week four 12-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys struggled to move the ball through the air consistently against a better than advertised Saints pass rush and pass defense. The Saints were part of the reason for the Cowboys’ struggle as they did a really nice job covering Amari Cooper with Marshon Lattimore and the Cowboys secondary receivers struggled to create separation or make plays when opportunities came their way.
With a huge week five game against a highly ranked pass defense in the Green Bay Packers, the Dallas Cowboys need to have better games from their receiving corp if they want to get back in the win column. The receiving group got a boost on Wednesday with the surprise return to practice of second-year standout Michael Gallup.
Michael Gallup did individual work and some team reps during today’s practice: “I’m good to go.” Said he’s running and cutting. “As long as I can cut, I think I should be good.” Amari Cooper: “We need him out there. He actually looked good. He looks like before he got injured.
After having surgery to repair the meniscus in his knee it was thought that Gallup could be out anywhere from two to four weeks as he recovered from the procedure. So, it came as a surprise when Jerry Jones mentioned to Shan Shariff and RJ Choppy on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth that he wouldn’t rule Gallup out for week five. It’s been a little more than two weeks since Gallup had the surgery on his knee, so he’s getting back into the swing of things on the early side of that two to four week estimate.
Gallup has been a revelation this season opposite Amari Cooper. He’s become a reliable target for Quarterback Dak Prescott, getting open often in huge moments of the game when the Dallas Cowboys need a play. After a very inefficient rookie season where he caught less than 50% of his targets, Michael Gallup’s caught 13 of 15 targets this season for 226 yards, which is good for 17.4 yards per reception.
Though Amari Cooper is without a doubt the Dallas Cowboys’ number one wide receiver, Michael Gallup has been just as important. Dak Prescott thrives when he has several options that he can turn to within a game so he’s not having to force throws in just one direction. As we saw the first two weeks of the season, Prescott was more than willing to spread the ball around and take advantage of passing game mismatches.
As the Dallas Cowboys get ready to face a Green Bay Packers defense that is allowing the fifth-lowest net yards per attempt and the fourth-fewest passing yards through the first four weeks of the season. Against the Saints, the Cowboys were only able to hit two passes greater than 20 yards down the field and only five passes beyond ten yards. Each of the first two weeks of the season, the passing game was able to complete eight passes beyond ten yards.
In the last two weeks Dak Prescott’s completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing yards, and quarterback rating has been lower than what it was the first two weeks of the season with Gallup.
Michael Gallup provides an important balance in the passing game. His presence helps take some of the pressure off of Amari Cooper and even the running game. Getting Gallup back will only enhance the Cowboys’ ability to be effective and efficient on offense this week. For the Cowboys to get the win, they’ll need to get back to the team they were the first three weeks of the season.