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Cowboys Should Keep a Short Leash on Andy Dalton Sunday

The first extended opportunity Andy Dalton received to see the field went fairly well. Coming in for the injured Dak Prescott, Dalton was able to lead the Cowboys to a fourth quarter comeback and game winning drive against the New York Giants. Unfortunately, that’s the only positive thing that’s happened for the veteran quarterback in 2020.

This week as the Cowboys prepare to face the Minnesota Vikings, it’s time to have a short leash with Dalton as the starting quarterback. He hasn’t shown anything aside from that final quarter against the Giants.

Against the Arizona Cardinals, Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys laid an egg, never really finding a rhythm offensively. The defense held the Cardinals offense in check for the first quarter. However, Kyler Murray started hitting some big plays and the Cowboys couldn’t ever respond. Dalton was 34 of 54 for 266 a touchdown, two interceptions, and took a safety.

The following week when facing the Washington Football Team it was more of the same. The Andy Dalton led offense couldn’t do anything. Dalton was 9 of 19 for 75 yards and an interception. Then he was hit with a cheap shot to the head by Washington Linebacker Jon Bostic, forced into the concussion protocol, and at the same time spent time in the COVID-19 protocol as well.

It hasn’t been a good season for Andy Dalton. And sure, you could talk about the struggles that he’s had to deal with on the offensive line and the matchups the Cowboys faced, however, I don’t know if that holds much water.

Dak Prescott dealt with a very similar offensive line for much of his season before being injured. Garrett Gilbert had to face one of the top two or three defenses in the NFL in the Pittsburgh Steelers and looked competent.

I get that the Cowboys think Andy Dalton is the best option they have at quarterback right now and you may agree. But that depends on your goals for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys.

If you’re still riding with this team and hoping they’ll make a push to the NFC East title and the playoffs, then having a veteran presence in the lineup like Andy Dalton.  He has played a lot of snaps in the NFL and he potentially makes your team better than Gilbert. But if this week doesn’t show marked improvement from Dalton and the Cowboys offense, then it’s time to go back to Gilbert for better or worse.

The Cowboys could be looking to give Andy Dalton enough of a run this season that some team would want to make him their starter next season, which could net the Cowboys a compensatory pick. The reality is, Dalton hasn’t shown enough to give the Cowboys much confidence that he’s the best quarterback option for this team or that he’s going to have any suitors next offseason.

The Garrett Gilbert led Dallas Cowboys offense was the best this team has looked since Dak Prescott went down with his injury. He may not have the experience or the success that Andy Dalton has had in his career, but it was pretty clear against a top defense that Gilbert has something and could be an asset long-term. If Sunday looks similar to Dalton’s two previous starts, the Cowboys coaching staff needs to pull him and go with a player that gave the offense a spark against Pittsburgh.

This decision for the Cowboys coaching staff isn’t an easy one. The NFC East is still within in their grasp and yet they haven’t shown to be a team capable of stringing together quality performances. They should keep Dalton on a short leash this week and if necessary, feel comfortable about making a change.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. I completely agree, Gilbert did more with the same OL than Dalton and Dinucci could have against a really good Pittsburgh team. Gilbert moved the chains and put us in a position to win. Gilbert’s playing should have earned him a starting spot for a Dallas team that’s trying to salvage anything out of this season.

  2. No, they’re not mad because they think Dalton is the best option, it’s that WE don’t think this team should try to win anymore games!! This team is not good enough to go anywhere IF for some reason we make it to the playoffs, the only thing that’s gonna do is make us lose good to great draft positioning, right now we have a top 5 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, if we win games and even the division all that’s gonna do is drop us all the way down to at the very least 19th overall!! This team is NOT good enough to win the Super Bowl, so our best bet is to lose out and get the highest draft picks possible so we can get the best players possible in the draft, and then start over next season!! There’s no point in trying to win the division when we won’t make it out of the wild card round!! And we’re never gonna get another shut down corner or another great safety, or even another great OT if we have to keep drafting in the middle of the pack!! It’s just not gonna happen…. We got lucky with Ceedee Lamb, and in all honesty, if we would’ve won the division last season we wouldn’t have even got him!! So again, as bad as we are this year, our best bet is to just lose out so we can draft as high as possible so we can get the best players there are in the 2021 NFL draft!! Believe me, I hate to see us losing all the time, but we just don’t have a good team and no chance to win it all, that’s why I think our best bet is to draft high and build an elite team through the draft and try again next season!!

  3. BTW, the best option for the team to tank would be Ben DiNucci!! And then Andy Dalton!! But either way the best thing for this team is to tank and start over next season!! All you people that want us to win games are crazy!! Like I said in my last comment…. All winning is gonna do is take our high draft picks away!! And if you think this team is good enough to win the Super Bowl then your delusional, as bad as I hate to say it, but this team is bad and we are NOT good enough to win in the wild card round let alone the Super Bowl, so why go through that when we can just lose out and get a high draft pick and get a couple blue chip players in the first 2 or 3 rounds!! Look at the 2016 draft…. That was one of our best drafts ever and look at the position we drafted in!! Yes, 2020 was also a good draft for us but we only got lucky with that draft half of the players we drafted shouldn’t have even fell that far for us to get!! And like I said in my other comment, if we would’ve won the division we wouldn’t have even got Ceedee, and chances are most of the other players we drafted too!! So you guys can wanna win all you want, but to me, I think it’s pointless and it’s not doing anything for us but hurting us and the future of this team!!

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