Despite their best efforts to fall out of contention, the Dallas Cowboys are still alive in the NFC East race. But really…who cares?
Well, the Cowboys certainly do, as they are going back to Andy Dalton as their starting quarterback this week as they look to string together some wins. It'll be a tall task, but the return to Dalton over Garrett Gilbert is a last gasp at salvaging this year.
Andy Dalton himself, though, could have an added motivation to performing. The longtime starter in Cincinnati, Dalton accepted the backup role in Dallas as a bit of a gap year. He was returning home, knowing he could take a year to recover and would be in a great situation if asked to play.
Things have changed drastically of course, with Andy Dalton leading a banged up 2-7 team that appears to be drowning. But this is a big time opportunity for Dalton, looking to rehabilitate his career and prove he can be a starter in 2021.
The 2021 offseason will be a quarterback carousel of sorts, with even Dak Prescott potentially entering unrestricted free agency. The league obviously soured on Andy Dalton as a potential starter after falling off with the Bengals, but a strong performance down the stretch in Dallas could revitalize his market.
He hasn't gotten off to a hot start. In his first two starts in Prescott's absence, Dalton only led one touchdown drive, and was the victim of blowout losses to both Arizona and Washington. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket, threw three interceptions, and failed to break 5 yards per attempt.
Dalton signed with the Cowboys in large part because of their weapons. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup. An opportunity to showcase his skills while relying on dynamic receivers and a steady running game.
Instead, Dalton will have to play above his head behind this injured offensive line. But if he can play well and win some games, there may be another pay day out there for the Cowboys current starting quarterback.