Michael Gallup’s rehab has been relatively quiet. There have been no announcements, updates, or timetables provided over the last few weeks. Fans have to cross their fingers and hope that the news is positive during training camp or whenever updates start arriving.
However, the NFL did the Dallas Cowboys no favors in this matter. Because during the first few weeks of the season, the Cowboys will not only play a few of their most difficult 2022 opponents, but they are playing great offenses during this stretch. This means that Dallas could be without their WR2 during a few barn burners.
The timeline of Michael Gallup’s injury became more important after the schedule release
There is not an abundance of information available regarding Gallup’s recovery at the moment. But, as of now, it appears unlikely he suits up for week one:
The sense is Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (ACL) likely won't be ready for start of season. But Gallup said playing Week 1 is "definitely a goal. I mean, you don't want to miss no games. But you still can't put a timetable on it. ...You've got to make sure you're right before" return— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 17, 2022
One month later, Mike McCarthy commented on the situation. However, there was little clarification added:
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that Gallup is “doing very well” in his recovery. When training camp arrives, Dallas will be able to have a more definitive timeline for when Gallup will make his 2022 season debut.
As of now, he’s not expected to be ready for Week 1.
Since then, there has been no further information provided. As noted in McCarthy’s last comment, training camp seems to be when fans will know his true timetable.
And fans now have to hope the timetable is as short as possible.
Based on projected win totals, the Cowboys will play four teams in 2022 whose line is set above 10 wins for next season. Three of those matchups will happen in the first five weeks of the season. And in week six, they play the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, who sit at 9.5 projected wins.
But it is not just the fact that they play a few difficult opponents in the first few weeks. These games could easily turn into an offensive battle. The Cowboys are set to face five teams who ranked inside the top ten by offensive EPA per play last season. Three of those games are during the first five weeks. And the Eagles ranked as the eleventh offense last season.
We discussed this idea in greater detail on the latest episode of 1st and 10 on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to our network so you don’t miss any of our shows! Apple devices can subscribe here and Spotify users can subscribe here.
And of the Bengals, Rams, Buccaneers, and Eagles, who all finished as a top-eleven offense and are on the Cowboys schedule in the first six weeks, only the Rams finished with a top ten defense. It is entirely possible that, of the first six games, Dallas is involved in several matchups that turn into a game of “who has the ball last.” These are matchups ripe for high overs and a lot of scoring.
Which makes the Gallup injury that much more impactful. If Dallas needs scoring in these matchups, they might have to do so without their second-best receiving option. Maybe Gallup only misses week one and is back for the Bengals matchup in week two. But he could also be on a longer timetable than fans expect, given the ACL tear happened in week 17.
So what does this mean for Dallas? Well, there are two implications of the opening schedule:
- Fans have to hope, now more than ever, that Gallup is recovering according to plan. The NFL front-loaded Dallas’ schedule with high-powered offensive matchups, where the fifth-year veteran would make a noticeable impact. For that reason, Gallup’s injury might be the most important story heading into camp.
- Jalen Tolbert and James Washington have to be ready for week one. This means that one rookie who hasn't played an NFL snap, and one newly signed free agent, must be prepared to contribute. Because there is a very real possibility Dallas is throwing 40+ times in these matchups with Lamb, Tolbert, and Washington as the WR trio. Granted, Schultz will likely see increased work if Gallup misses, but both of these new Cowboys must be ready to go.
If there is a silver lining to the difficult opening schedule, the last eight weeks are set to be significantly easier. And by then, Gallup will assuredly be healthy. At least, he shouldn't be recovering from the ACL injury anymore.
But the back half of the season is still ages away. The most important game right now is week one at home against Tampa Bay. While it appears Gallup will be absent, there are still four months until that game. Monitor Gallup’s status closely, because the NFL and schedule release necessitate a quick return from the WR.