NFL

Who Is Garrett Gilbert, the Dallas Cowboys’ Latest Starting Quarterback?

Over the years, the Dallas Cowboys have had some pretty impressive quarterbacks stand under center. From old-school guys like Roger Staubach to more modern names like Troy Aikman and Tony Romo, there’s been no shortage of big names in Big D. Garrett Gilbert, at least as of now, isn’t one of those stars.

When the Dallas Cowboys hit the field on Sunday afternoon, Garrett Gilbert is expected to be their new starting quarterback. Here’s everything you need to know about Mike McCarthy’s new man under center.

The Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback carousel is still spinning

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Given the importance of a quarterback—without delving too far into ‘field general’ cliches, the ball is literally in their hands on every offensive play—no NFL team ever wants to be without their starter. The Dallas Cowboys, however, have already moved well past plans A and B.

While he hadn’t signed a long-term contract, Dak Prescott entered the season as the Cowboys’ top quarterback; although the team struggled out of the gate, the offense wasn’t the issue. Before too long, though, changes had to be made.

In Week 5, Prescott suffered a compound ankle fracture, ending his season. Andy Dalton took over the top job but, in his second start, suffered a concussion; he still hasn’t returned from that injury.

With Prescott and Dalton both out of action, Ben DiNucci stepped into the breach. As you’d expect, the seventh-round draft pick struggled and, after one start, lost the starting job.

According to an NFL.com report, Garrett Gilbert is expected to start at quarterback on Sunday when the Cowboys meet the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cooper Rush, barring any unforeseen changes, should dress as his backup.

Who is Garrett Gilbert?

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Even if you’re a hardcore football fan, you probably aren’t too familiar with Garrett Gilbert. The quarterback, however, has had plenty of football experience under his belt.

Gilbert started his college career at the University of Texas, but things didn’t go smoothly in Austin. After serving as the backup during his freshman year, the quarterback took over the top job as a sophomore; despite starting all 12 games for the Longhorns and throwing for 2,744 yards, he finished the campaign with 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. As a junior, he lost the starting job before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.

Faced with being the third-string quarterback, Gilbert transferred to SMU, where he spent two unremarkable seasons. The St. Louis Rams selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL draft, but he failed to make the roster.

After that, Gilbert bounced between teams, landing on practice squads and occasionally dressing as a backup. His most significant action came in the Alliance of American Football, where he played eight games for the Orlando Apollos during the 2019 season.

Garrett Gilbert’s stats won’t exactly get any Dallas Cowboys fan excited

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Occasionally, NFL teams will find a diamond buried in the rough of the practice squad. While anything is possible, it doesn’t look like the Dallas Cowboys have found one of those in Garrett Gilbert.

As mentioned above, Gilbert entered the NFL in the 2014 draft; since then, he’s appeared in a grand total of six games, completing two of six passes for 40 yards. Although every general manager and scout makes mistakes, it’s unlikely that everyone completely overlooked a capable NFL quarterback.

When Sunday’s game begins, though, Garrett Gilbert will have a chance to change all of that; given what they’ve seen thus far in 2020, though, Dallas Cowboys fans probably won’t be holding their breath.

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference and Pro-Football-Reference