This past week the Dallas Cowboys found themselves a new defensive line coach in Aden Durde and the expectation is obviously for him to elevate the impact of that group. The Cowboys did see some production out of the defensive tackle position this past season that is worth being moderately proud of. Antwaun Woods continued to be a fine option, and Trysten Hill showed up nicely in his second season before being lost for the year due to injury.
Dontari Poe didn’t work out and that was unfortunate, but the Cowboys also saw legitimate growth from their third-round rookie, Neville Gallimore. There are, at the very least, a number of options for Durde to work with this upcoming season at defensive tackle, and that doesn’t even include Gerald McCoy if the Cowboys do bring him back.
McCoy was lost for the year on the team’s first day of practice during training camp. It was extremely unfortunate as McCoy is still a very capable player and a prominent leader in the locker room. Interestingly, it seems as if he did a fair amount of leading even being away from The Star in Frisco.
Gerald McCoy helped Neville Gallimore over FaceTime throughout the 2020 season
In the immediate aftermath of his season-ending injury back in August, McCoy talked about plans for the 2020 season. He noted that while he was not going to be available to the Cowboys players that he still planned on mentoring them and sharing his veteran experience.
This idea, noble as it was, became rather difficult once the Cowboys released McCoy. As he was not technically a member of the Cowboys, he could not be around the team in the locker room, at The Star, and all that comes with that.
Apparently this did not stop Gerald McCoy from contributing however he could. On the latest episode of The Locker Room podcast, McCoy talked about how he would FaceTime with Neville Gallimore about how to get better. He even noted the lengths he went to access game film since it wasn’t readily available to him.
Brian Billick: “Gerald when, we’re talking about life in the locker room… and I love an NFL locker room. There’s not a more diverse atmosphere in America. Any business that has different guys from different walks of life. Race, religion, and creeds, and economic backgrounds, and locations in the country that all come together in a team. Talk a little bit about, because you, obviously you when going to Dallas and then there’s the injury, how that changes a little bit for you. You’re still a member of the team, you want to be a part of it, but when you’re injured and rehabbing within a season and some of the things that that changes the dynamic a little bit.”
Gerald McCoy: “Yea it does. What you try and do is do your best to get to know who’s around you. And let them get to know you because once guys really understand and get to know you, because like you said everybody comes from different walks of life, so in the locker room you have to get to know each other. But you have to make it a point to get to know each other.”
“See in college. You come in with this class, there’s a few guys who might not stay all the time, but for the most part yall going to at least be there a minimum of three years together. And that’s including the people that came before you, yall might be together for three or four years, but your class is going to be together at least three years. NFL’s not like that. You see a new wave of players come in every year. So you have to make it a point to get to know each other. And once you do that you can have an injury and not be in the locker room and still be able to communicate with guys.”
“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. 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.”
This is obviously really cool to hear from Gerald McCoy. He had no obligation to mentor anybody associated with the Cowboys or even talk to them for that matter, but he went above and beyond to help mentor a younger player, one that played his position at that (and came from his alma mater coincidentally).
It also makes sense that someone like DeMarcus Lawrence wouldn’t be someone that McCoy could “mentor” in the same way. McCoy’s talk about the nature of a locker room in general is interesting in that regard as you truly have to develop unique relationships with every persona to see what works with each and every relationship.
Whether or not McCoy will be part of the Cowboys in 2021 remains to be seen. His on-field contributions certainly could be used, but his leadership in the locker room could also go an incredibly long way at getting things back on track on defense.