OXNARD, Calif. – Michael Gallup stutter-stepped, bounced to the boundary with a step on Rams cornerback Darious Williams, and grabbed a perfect back-shoulder throw from quarterback Garrett Gilbert in the end zone.
The jump-ball catch in Saturday's joint practice is the type of play Gallup has made throughout his first three years with the Cowboys, lining up mostly as an outside receiver. But the 25-year-old starter is getting a chance to expand his game in training camp, working from the slot as well as the outside.
"Everybody's labeled me as just a deep ball threat, but I know I can do a whole lot more," he said. "So me being able to come on the inside and run some routes from there, short, intermediate game, definitely can show that I'm more versatile than a lot of folks might think."
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has moved Gallup and second-year wideout CeeDee Lamb to different spots in camp with the idea of creating favorable matchups. Lamb, primarily the slot receiver in his rookie season, has taken more outside reps with Amari Cooper (ankle) currently on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.
Gallup, who has never really played the slot in his career, is also taking reps inside, where "the game comes a little bit faster," he said.
"The route tree is a whole lot different," he said. "You can get the ball a whole lot quicker. Definitely makes for bigger plays if you have a little in-and-out route for 4 yards, you can turn it into 15 or anything like that. Just being able to make plays a whole lot quicker."
Head coach Mike McCarthy has always valued versatility at the wide receiver position, asking players to know all three positions. He believes the expanded role will help Gallup, who already has one 1,000-yard receiving season on his
"It gives him more opportunities," McCarthy said. "I think right now, if you look at the position of X, how many routes can you really run from out there? The ability to get him the ball and the ability to take advantage of matchups, I think it's all part of his growth."