After just one start, Ben DiNucci may already be heading back to the bench. But Dallas Cowboys fans shouldn’t rejoice over the idea of a new starting quarterback just yet. After all, DiNucci’s potential replacement has completed one pass since entering the NFL in 2017.
And considering they face the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, it won’t matter who’s under center for the Cowboys.
Ben DiNucci just became the starter in Dallas
The 2020 seventh-round pick arrived in Dallas after an impressive career at James Madison University. As a senior, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound signal-caller threw for 29 touchdowns and earned Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year honors.
However, DiNucci struggled mightily in his first NFL start. Last Sunday, the 23-year-old rookie completed just 21-of-40 attempts for 180 yards. He got sacked four times and lost two fumbles in the Cowboys’ 23-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The defeat caused Dallas to drop to 2-6. In their last three games, the Cowboys have scored a total of 22 points. Needless to say, they have major issues on offense, particularly at the quarterback spot.
The Cowboys may bench DiNucci for a QB with 1 career completion
Ben DiNucci’s tenure as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback may come to a swift end this week. Ironically, he’s already completed more career passes than his potential replacement.
On Tuesday, Ian Rapoport reported via Twitter that the Cowboys are “seriously contemplating” starting Cooper Rush against the Steelers. The 26-year-old is currently on the team’s practice squad.
Rush entered the NFL in 2017 after a productive career at Central Michigan. Though he did not hear his name called during the draft, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound QB signed with the Cowboys and earned a roster spot.
Though he has been in the NFL for three full seasons already, Rush has barely seen the field. In fact, his only taste of game action came in his rookie season. On Oct. 22, 2017, the Michigan native completed his first (and only) official pass in a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Now, Rush could be tasked with leading America’s Team against a Steelers squad that looks like a top Super Bowl contender.
Will Cooper Rush start against the Steelers?
If the Cowboys do bench Ben DiNucci in favor of Cooper Rush, it won’t make much of a difference on Sunday. Because no matter which quarterback starts against the Steelers, he will have a long day at the office against one of the best defenses in football.
Pittsburgh ranks sixth in points allowed and just held the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens to 24 points each. The Steelers boast a tremendous front seven that features T.J. Watt (6.5 sacks, 21 quarterback hits), Stephon Tuitt (6.0 sacks, 17 QBH), Bud Dupree (6.0 sacks, 10 QBH), and Cameron Heyward (1.5 sacks, 8 QBH).
That unit should have no trouble overwhelming the Cowboys’ injury-ravaged offensive line. Without Tyron Smith and La’el Collins in the lineup, Dallas QBs have faced consistent pressure. The Steelers’ deep collection of pass rushers should feast against a unit that no longer ranks as one of the league’s best.
Plus, Pittsburgh also excels at stopping the run. Ezekiel Elliott will have a tough time finding open holes against a defense that ranks fifth in rushing yards allowed per game (96.9).
Ultimately, even if Rush provides more “experience” at quarterback, he stands no chance of succeeding on Sunday. Expect another painful day for whoever starts at quarterback for the Cowboys against the 7-0 Steelers.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.