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Cowboys Seem to be Putting Surprising Faith in QB Garrett Gilbert

The have historically liked having an experienced veteran as the backup to a franchise . But while is every bit the latter, Dallas seems to be going with a relative unknown in as the current QB2. Why are the Cowboys putting so much faith in a guy who's proven so little?

Whether it's been , , , , , or , we've generally seen a veteran behind either Dak Prescott or during the modern era. You can even go back to the 90s to guys like Steve Beuerlein, Rodney Peete, or even Randall Cunningham for some quality depth that support since became owner and .

Of course this hasn't been every season. In 2016 it was a rookie Dak Prescott who was set to be Romo's backup and of wound up playing the entire season. That worked out surprisingly well.

For the next three years it was , with a brief period of , who served as QB2 behind Prescott. Rush had no regular-season and Moore only had a few games from 2015.

But even in those cases, Rush had wowed the coaches enough to supplant a known commodity in Moore. Remember, Kellen had come over to Dallas largely due to his relationship with from Detroit.

Given this , Dallas' willingness to rely on the likes of Gilbert, Rush, and to produce a capable backup QB for 2021 is surprising. After Dalton last year to backup Dak and before we were ever worried about Prescott's return from a major , the Cowboys' attitude toward the position now feels cavalier and perhaps even negligent.

It must mean that they really see something in Garrett Gilbert after just a one game and a little over half of 2020 on the roster.

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Cowboys QB Garrett Gilbert

Remember, Gilbert wasn't even with the team until after Prescott's Week 5 injury. He was signed the following week off of Cleveland's for additional depth with only Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci on the active roster at the time.

Despite being a 6th-round pick in the 2014 draft, Gilbert had only appeared in six games and attempted six passes in the years before joining the Cowboys. The best tape on him was either from college, games, or his eight games with the Orlando Apollos in the failed Alliance of American Football.

To be fair, Garrett was one of the top performers in that short-lived league and even named the unofficial Most Valuable Player by one source.

Much of Gilbert's credibility seems to come from one regular-season start for the Cowboys against the . Undefeated at the time, but also probably beginning their massive implosion last year, Pittsburgh was nearly upset as the Gilbert-led Cowboys with all of their missing pieces pushed them to the very end.

It was a great day for the team and for Garrett, but still just one game. And while he looked great compared to Ben DiNucci's atrocious performance the previous week against the Eagles, Gilbert didn't exactly light it up with 243 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception on just 55% passing.

It's hard as fans and even semi-informed analysts to know what the coaches have seen in the film rooms and practices. We have that one game to go by, which right now only serves to make Gilbert shine a little brighter than DiNucci or Rush going into 2021.

The hope here is that Garrett Gilbert has done a lot that we haven't seen, be it on the practice field or in other private settings. and Kellen Moore saw enough to even bring Gilbert to Dallas and hopefully have even more evidence now for the faith they're showing in him.

And hopefully, the upcoming preseason will give the rest of us more reason for confidence as well. While we never want to see Gilbert in a real game, unless it's on the tail end of a blowout, we have ample reason to be concerned about the position after what the Cowboys have been through in 2015, 2016, and 2020.

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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