Help is on the way for the Dallas Cowboys. On the same day they discovered head coach Mike McCarthy tested positive for COVID-19, they also delivered a round of good news to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Neville Gallimore, the team's starting defensive tackle that went down in the preseason with a dislocated elbow, has been designated to return from injured reserve on Monday, the team announced.
While Gallimore won't be ready to take the field on Thursday night, this is a great sign he's on track to potentially make his 2021 debut against the Washington Football Team in Week 14 -- aided by the fact the Cowboys have a 10-day mini-bye week between their next two games.
The return of Gallimore infuses an instant vial of potency into a Cowboys defense that has mostly played well in the absence of starters such as himself, DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, but has also faltered a time or two and could reach new heights of dominance once whole under the tutelage of Quinn. The Cowboys were ranked in the top 10 in points allowed per game prior to their Week 12 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, and currently sit at 13th in the league in that category before traveling to New Orleans (allowing just 22.7 ppg).
Having Gallimore back in uniform upgrades both the run defense and pass rush, and it comes not long after Lawrence was designated to return from IR -- last week -- and the Pro Bowl pass rusher doing well in practice, and rookie first-round pick Micah Parsons made it clear Lawrence expects and is expected to take the field against the Saints, although the Cowboys must first activate him to the 53-man roster before he can.
And then there's Gregory, who suffered a calf strain in mid-November that landed him on injured reserve. Gregory is now eligible to be designated to return from IR as well, and the feeling is that could happen in the next several days, with the hope being he'd benefit from extra practices during the aforementioned mini-bye week to increase his chances of playing against Washington.
So if you're keeping score at home, that's Gallimore, Lawrence and Gregory all on track to potentially be on the field together for the first time this season, and possibly in the Cowboys first 2021 bout against their bitter rivals at FedEx Field. With the Cowboys standing at 7-4 and trying to bounce back from a disappointing November, it's all about what they do in December that will determine how special this season will be, or not.
With the offense becoming whole yet again -- i.e., the return of Amari Cooper (COVID) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) -- and the defense matching serve in that regard, the NFL will finally get a look at what a complete Cowboys team looks like in 2021. And considering both sides of the ball either have been or remain a top-10 threat, it's difficult to overstate just how dangerous they might be if they can piece it all together over their remaining six games.
All they have to do is find their spark (again), and their icy November will quickly give way to one of the hottest Decembers on record in Dallas.