© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Dallas Cowboys were done in largely by injuries to their offense last season, but their defense did not do them any favors. It was a unit that finished 23rd in yards allowed and 28th in points allowed, as well as 23rd in defensive efficiency, as measured by Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
One of the major areas of weakness was the team’s defensive tackle play. The Cowboys signed Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe in the offseason, only to see McCoy suffer a season-ending injury during camp and Poe struggle so badly that he was released early in the year. In their place, veterans Antwaun Woods and Tyrone Crawford (who also played end) got the majority of the snaps, followed by second-year man Trysten Hill (until his own injury) and rookie Neville Gallimore.
Gallimore showed some flashes in his nine starts, though he only finished with 0.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits. The Cowboys did not make any major upgrades to the defensive tackle group this offseason, opting instead to sign players like Brent Urban and Carlos Watkins, and draft Osa Odighizuwa in the third round and Quinton Bohanna in the sixth.
Gallimore has seemingly been in line for a starting role, but on Friday night, he suffered his second training camp injury. Gallimore previously tweaked his ankle during the team’s joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams, and he left the Cowboys’ 19-16 preseason loss to the Arizona Cardinals with what coach Mike McCarthy is calling a “significant” elbow injury.
Gallimore was quickly declared out for the game, which is typically not a good sign. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport later reported that Gallimore suffered a hyperextended elbow, and will have an MRI on Saturday.
The Cowboys cannot really afford to lose any contributors along the defensive line — especially expected starters like Gallimore — considering the relative weakness of their defense. If Gallimore has to miss extended time, it would be wise for Dallas to take a look at the available free agents on the market.