You may be unfamiliar but Marvel has an animated show called What If? that ponders hypotheticals within their overall cinematic universe. A friend of mine suggested I check it out and it was certainly worth having on in the background, but if you aren’t all the way caught up on the Marvel movies it may not hit the same for you. No worries this isn’t about that.
When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. one of the bigger what-ifs we have been talking about for a while now was what if Michael Gallup returned to his proper form? You know, the one that existed prior to his injury that came in the penultimate week of the 2021 regular season.
The Cowboys clearly believed that this was possible given that they gave Gallup a second contract last offseason. Obviously the 2022 campaign was a difficult one for Gallup, it was delayed at the start on his road to recovery, but even when he was back he wasn’t really so.
We may only be four games into this season but it seems like we are starting to see the MG13 that we all remember fondly.
Michael Gallup seems to have found his pre-injury form
Being fully transparent, we started to have this conversation last week here on the site when the Cowboys could not get it done against the Arizona Cardinals. We noted that one of the lone bright spots in the performance was Gallup’s play, and physical play at that.
Another week later, winning ways re-established, the flame took and we are starting to nurse it with materials like people in the fire-making contest of the new age version of Survivor. Gallup had another productive day last week against the New England Patriots as he snagged five receptions for a total of 60 yards.
Looking at just these two games against Arizona and New England we have a total of 11 receptions for 152 yards for Gallup. This is noteworthy.
Why are we calling attention to this? Gallup’s 11 receptions over this two-game stretch are the most that he has had in consecutive contests since Thanksgiving and the week after in 2020, and the 152 yards are the most in back-to-back games since the final two of the 2020 regular season.
Obviously Gallup’s injury did not occur until the end of the 2021 season so he was still in proper “form” for that entire year, but we have gone about a year and a half without seeing consistent success like this, even with defining consistent in the smallest possible way of two straight games.
Interestingly enough, Gallup was not looking great at all prior to this particular two-game stretch. After the team’s Week 2 win against the New York Jets the folks at Sumer Sports had him ranked dead last among receivers in yards per route run.
You’ll see that Gallup was sitting at 0.24 but after the two games we are harping over right now he has boosted himself all the way up to 1.72.
While the redzone offense continues to be an issue it appears that the Cowboys began operating a bit differently with Gallup starting with the Arizona game. Take a look at his route chart from that contest specifically, courtesy of NextGen Stats.
Gallup thrived as a bit of a deep thread in the earlier days of his career with the Cowboys, and while nobody is suggesting sending him all the way downfield his physical presence allows him to shield defenders a little bit further away from the line of scrimmage.
That physicality is also translating into Gallup simply catching the ball which is obviously a fundamental aspect of being an NFL wide receiver. According once again to Sumer Sports, Gallup is 11th in overall catch percentage with a mark of 76.5%. Consider that 10th on the list is his teammate in CeeDee Lamb at 76.7% and that the first person beneath him is DeVonta Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles at 75.9%.
Fantasy football legend Los Angeles Rams wideout Puka Nacua is just south of that at 75% flat for a bit more context.
No one is trying to race to any conclusions or declare anything silly. But all of this information matches what we are seeing through these last few weeks which suggests that Gallup really has turned a corner.