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Cowboys Seem to be Putting Surprising Faith in QB Garrett Gilbert

The Dallas Cowboys have historically liked having an experienced veteran as the backup to a franchise quarterback. But while is every bit the latter, Dallas seems to be going with a relative unknown in Garrett Gilbert 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 experience 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.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by 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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7 Comments

  1. I think I’m good with Gilbert and Dinucci, i mean, why get a quality backup who you know his ceiling like Moore ?

    Sometimes, your QB getting injured could actually be a blessing in disguise, for example, when Romo got hurt, we got Zeke, (though we should’ve drafted Ramsey IMO, but that’s a different discussion) and , when your QB gets hurt early on and is out for the year, you’ll get a high quality player, which is what we got with Parsons at 10 with Dak out, the NFL has a way of balancing itself out in the end

  2. GG may be the best of the three, but that is not saying much, unfortunately. Let’s see him in the preseason, and maybe get a bit of a better grasp of what he can do.

    Like Ben M’s thoughts on Matt Moore. He at least has a track record in real games to look at, and it’s fairly decent. Rosen was rated high coming out of college, but his record, so far, hasn’t been good. There may be others out there that would assuage the somewhat risky position we have at QB2 right now.

  3. I cannot understand the fascination with Gilbert. He had one decent, not good, performance against a Pittsburgh team that was starting to tank. Prior to that he had as many NFL starts as Rush. None, and had been released or not resigned by 6 NFL clubs. Remember Rush in the preseason of his rookie year? He looked like a future HOFer. I’m hopeful they let DiNucci develop. He had no camp and no preseason. Let’s see if his college winning ways can translate to the NFL like Romo eventually did. Remember, Tony had 3 years of coaching before ever seeing the field. My bet is Josh Rosen is not making the 49ers. Dallas would be wise to watch the waiver wire for him. Matt Moore is also a guy to watch. Currently a FA and won games in place of Mahomes. Plus Andy Reid, a pretty darn good coach liked him enough to keep him around for years

  4. Gilbert is, in my opinion, a suitable 3rd stringer at best. Wasn’t impressed with Andy Dalton either. After the dirty hit by the Washington Linebacker, he seemed afraid from that point going forward.

  5. he seems alright to me for know, lets watch him in preseason, that di-noodle guy has NO SHOT , but 3rd string clipboard duty, sorry that’s reality with dakkie duck suckin us dry!!!

  6. He got one shot and looked great vs a pretty good D. I’m curious why anyone wouldn’t have faith. I’m disappointed he didn’t get another shot. Though Andy did his best to get us one of the Top 2 CBs

  7. Nobody likes thinking so much about Dak going down again. Nobody wants to even think about another disaster so they will save some money and just pretend it will not happen this year! So Gilbert will be fine given Dak a break every once in a while. Oh boy.

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