Michael Gallup is ready to return for the Dallas Cowboys, and they couldn't be happier. After having seen their usually prolific offense nearly shut out by the Denver Broncos in Week 9, it stands to reason adding Gallup back to the mix will only help Dak Prescott regain his swagger going forward, after struggling to one of his (if not the) worst games of his NFL career in his return from a calf strain this past weekend. Gallup was moved to injured reserve following the Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a calf strain of his own, and was recently designated to return from IR on Oct. 26 -- starting his 21-day window to either revert back to IR or be activated to the 53-man roster.
It'll be the latter for Gallup, who is expected to be placed back on the roster this week and return to the field in the coming Week 10 matchup with the visiting Atlanta Falcons. Sources tell CBS Sports Gallup was "very, very close" to being available in Week 9, but the Cowboys opted to give him one more week of ramp-up work while also seeing how well Cedrick Wilson Jr. had played in his absence.
In other words, they weren't desperate so they didn't push the issue -- as has been the case with all of their IR returnees.
Exiting a humiliating outing against the Broncos, however, they're happy to see the return of their other 1,000-yard receiver to their stable of weapons that include Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, along with Dalton Schultz and running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard out of the backfield. For while each has the ability to stretch the field, the definitive deep-threat is Gallup, whose speed, physicality and particular brand of football violence allows him to run past, through, and around defensive backs, while also having the verticality to high point catches and muscle them away from others.
"It would be really, really exciting to get Michael," said offensive coordinator Kellen Moore this week. "Obviously, huge aspirations for him as the season went on he's dealt with the injury as it went. We're excited to have him back. He's going to do some awesome things for us.
"We're excited, he'll bring some juice and bring some energy, and go make some plays when he gets the opportunity. He'll add to that room and make that room even more competitive, because we got a lot of talent in that room and we're excited. If they get an opportunity they are going to take advantage."
Jerry Jones agrees.
"He does look good for the [Falcons] game," Jones told 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday. " ... Michael does a great job of catching those long balls, which we really needed in our long passing game. ... Maybe you would have liked to see him out there [against the Broncos], but that's certainly hindsight, and that did not make the difference in the way we played. And, so, but it's going to be good to have him back.
"He's a really, really outstanding receiver."
Gallup is not lacking for motivation once he gets back on the field, either.
It's a contract season in which he's already missed seven games, the most of his career, by far (missed only two combined games in his first three seasons in the league). His focus going into the back end of the season and potentially the postseason will be to remind the Cowboys of his value, after they've already seen it at times during his absence, when the offense stalled at times even prior to Sunday's shellacking by Denver. It felt like a piece was missing, despite their six-game win streak and the stellar play of Wilson at times, and that piece is Gallup -- who'll be back in uniform on Nov. 14.
Gallup is a highlight reel for the Cowboys, and his chemistry with Prescott is A1. The faster they can get back in sync, the better for them and the worse it'll be for the Falcons and others attempting to match up with a WR unit in Dallas that is whole once again.
"I think the sky's the limit for us," Gallup told NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" this past offseason. "We said that last year, obviously, we had some injuries on the team and stuff like that. ... I think we can explode. We can do what we need to do out here on the field and just kill it.
"I don't see anybody stopping us."
There's no better time than now to prove that true, to wash away the stench of last week while also reestablishing Gallup as a force in the NFL.