One element that has been lacking from the Dallas Cowboys offense in the past two weeks has been receiver Michael Gallup.
The second-year wideout from Colorado State was off to a fast start with 13 catches for 226 yards on 15 targets until he injured his knee in the Cowboys' 31-21 win at Washington. While Dallas was able to match their 31-point output in Week 3 at home versus the Miami Dolphins, they were not able to score more than 10 points in the Week 4 loss at the New Orleans Saints.
Additionally, quarterback Dak Prescott's passing yards declined from 269 in Gallup's most recent game to date to 246 in Week 3 and 223 in Week 4.
"Michael has just been a really impactful player," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters Wednesday. "We throw him the ball, and good things happen. He's demonstrated that he can win short, medium and deep. When they cover him with one guy, typically, there's a good chance of him winning on that. And he's proven that fairly consistently over certainly the start of this season and the latter part of last season. That's a weapon."
The Cowboys host the Green Bay Packers Sunday at AT&T Stadium with both teams coming off their first loss of the season. For Dallas, they will face a defense that has surrendered just 6.2 yards per pass attempt, tied with the Cowboys for the fourth-lowest in the NFL.
Garrett indicates he likes the receivers who have filled the void while Gallup has recovered.
"We feel good about the guys who have been playing in his absence though," said Garrett. "Obviously Devin Smith came up big, made some big plays for us when he's had opportunities. [Amari Cooper] has been really good, week in and week out. Randall Cobb has been an impactful player. So, we really like all of those guys."
Smith produced five catches for 113 and a touchdown over Weeks 2-3. However, against the Saints in Week 4, he was targeted once. Cooper has 11 catches for 136 and two scores since Gallup left the lineup, compared to 10 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Cobb, who will be facing his former team of nine seasons, has caught five passes for 64 yards in the past two weeks as opposed to the nine catches for 93 yards and a touchdown produced from Weeks 1-2.
Not only had Gallup "made a lot of plays" for the Cowboys, as Garrett said, but he has also been an integral part of keeping the passing game clicking. If Gallup is able to go for Dallas against the Packers – and he’s been practicing this week with the hope of returning – it will certainly help a Cowboys team that seeks its first 4-1 start since 2016.
Do you think the Cowboys offense can survive without their productive second year receiver or is Dallas doomed without Michael Gallup? Share your thoughts on the wideout situation with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.