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Mailbag: DT Depth With Gallimore Injured?


Are you concerned about the defensive tackle depth now that it looks like Neville Gallimore will miss several weeks of action? Who steps up now? — MIKE SMITH / DALLAS, TX

Rob: I don't think the Cowboys are thin at defensive tackle in terms of numbers, but they don't have a lot of experience at the position. Even Gallimore, who was off to a good start before this elbow injury, is only entering his second year. If the Cowboys don't make an outside signing here, Brent Urban is the obvious name for possibly more snaps because he's a veteran guy. You'll probably see more of Osa Odighizuwa — he's shown promise as an inside pressure player. Quinton Bohanna has flashed as well. And maybe Trysten Hill can get off the Active/PUP list before the start of the season. He's making progress, but typically linemen can need more time to come back from ACL injuries because they're heavier players. It's a tough situation because the Cowboys were (and I'm sure to some extent, still are) counting on Gallimore to have a big season and anchor the interior line.

David: It's a concern, for sure. As Rob mentioned, there are plenty of defensive tackles on the roster, but not many of them specialize in pass rush, which you'd prefer to have from a three-technique. I doubt they're going to make a splash, but my guess is they'll have their eyes on the waiver wire or perhaps a minor trade that could help them bolster the position.

Based on the first month of training camp and two preseason games, has anybody separated themselves in some of the position battles outlined before the start of camp? — LARRY DOBBS / NASHVILLE, TN

Rob: I'm interested to see Malik Hooker get into full practice, but at this point I would think Damontae Kazee and Donovan Wilson are the likely projected starters at safety. Maurice Canady is pushing for not just a roster spot but regular playing time at cornerback. He's mostly worked in the slot so far but can play outside, too. And Garrett Gilbert has been the best of the backup quarterbacks in practice and games, though I would assume the Cowboys will continue to keep an eye out for more competition at that No. 2 spot.

David: This isn't really a direct answer to your question, but I can't stop thinking that we still haven't seen someone take control of the swing tackle job — which is concerning. If something serious were to happen to Tyron Smith or La'el Collins, at this point I think their best bet might be to play Zack Martin at tackle. It would be nice to see Ty Nsekhe or Terence Steele close out camp in strong fashion.

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