When Dak Prescott went down with a season-ending injury, the Dallas Cowboys still appeared to be in decent shape at the quarterback position. After all, Andy Dalton started 133 games for the Cincinnati Bengals before signing a one-year deal to serve as Prescott’s backup. However, with Dalton sustaining an injury of his own, Dallas has been forced to dig even deeper down its quarterback depth chart than anticipated.
But after only one start, Ben DiNucci will head back to the bench in favor of Garrett Gilbert. Unfortunately for the Cowboys’ new starting quarterback, he faces a daunting task in trying to take down the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dallas has had a revolving door at quarterback
Heading into the season, the Cowboys had one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL. Yet, injuries have decimated the position to the point that Dallas has started three quarterbacks through its first eight games.
Dak Prescott’s gruesome ankle injury robbed the Cowboys of their franchise player. Still, with Andy Dalton stepping in, it looked like Dallas could compete in a weak NFC East division.
Thanks to Washington Football Team linebacker Jon Bostic, that plan has quickly dissipated. Dalton absorbed a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit that has kept him out of the lineup.
Last week, seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci completed just 21-of-40 passes for 180 yards in a 23-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. His first NFL start certainly did little to prove that he should remain as QB1.
The Cowboys just decided on their next starting QB
At 2-6, the Cowboys can’t afford to lose many more games. Of course, having a revolving door at the most important position in football has definitely played a significant factor in the team’s disappointing record.
Apparently, the Dallas coaching staff has no faith in DiNucci’s ability to lead the offense. Because after one uninspiring performance, the 23-year-old has already lost the starting job.
On Saturday, Tom Pelissero reported via Twitter that the Cowboys plan to start Garrett Gilbert on Sunday. Cooper Rush will serve as his backup.
Gilbert entered the league as a sixth-round pick in 2014. He has bounced around a number of franchises and even played for the Orlando Apollos of the since-defunct Alliance of American Football.
Unfortunately for the 29-year-old journeyman, his first NFL start comes against the only undefeated team in the league.
Garrett Gilbert faces a formidable first opponent
Despite entering the NFL in 2014, Garrett Gilbert has barely seen the field. In fact, he has completed only two passes in six career games. And based on the Cowboys’ opponent, Gilbert will be lucky to complete more than a handful of passes on Sunday.
Dallas hosts a well-balanced Pittsburgh team that has started the season 7-0. Mike Tomlin’s squad ranks fifth in scoring and sixth in points allowed. Ben Roethlisberger and his deep cast of weapons—including exciting rookie Chase Claypool—should have a field day against a Cowboys defense that has allowed the most points in the league.
On the other side of the ball, the Steelers boast a nasty front seven that consistently puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks. T.J. Watt, Stephon Tuitt, and Bud Dupree have combined for 18.5 sacks and 48 quarterback hits and should have no trouble taking advantage of Dallas’ depleted offensive line.
Ultimately, expect the Steelers to blitz Gilbert in order to force the inexperienced quarterback into making quick decisions. And if that occurs, don’t be surprised to see the ball end up in the hands of Minkah Fitzpatrick and the rest of Pittsburgh’s talented secondary.
Sorry, Cowboys fans.
Garrett Gilbert’s first NFL start might end up being his last, too.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.