Before Dak Prescott taking a precautionary seat for the next few weeks, the questions about the backup quarterback job were prevalent. Though he had a nice showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020, Garrett Gilbert is still being met with skepticism as the Dallas Cowboys' backup quarterback.
He doesn't have a lot of experience playing the NFL. In fact, that game against the Steelers was his only start, and he's attempted just 44 passes in his NFL career. While his experience in the American Alliance of Football isn't comparable to NFL experience, he showed growth in that league that looks to have transitioned well to the NFL.
He got plenty of experience during his time in the AAF navigating messy pockets, avoiding pressure, and making plays. The level of play of the offensive lines in the AAF wasn't great, and it's not likely you'll see many of those players making starts at the NFL level.
Against the Steelers in 2020, he showed poise and an ability to navigate a pocket playing behind a group of backup offensive linemen, save for Zack Martin.
Now, with an opportunity to get plenty of snaps with the first-team offense, Gilbert has a chance to develop into a nice backup quarterback option for the Dallas Cowboys.
If you'll remember, Gilbert wasn't signed to the team until October 12th. He made his start against the Steelers less than a month later.
Not only is he getting the benefit of a full offseason with one team and a training camp as the team's number two quarterback, but he's also getting the benefit of all of the first-team quarterback repetitions for the first time in his career. Now, nobody's going to mistake him for a starter in the NFL anytime soon. Still, those reps now are incredibly valuable to what he could develop into as a backup quarterback.
And so far, at Cowboys training camp, he's making the most of those reps. On Saturday, his throw to CeeDee Lamb was a veteran-savvy throw, putting it in the air to Lamb's shoulder away from the cornerback. Only Lamb was going to be able to come up with that catch. The back-shoulder fade takes a lot of trust in timing and awareness of the receiver the quarterback is throwing to. Gilbert displayed all of that in this rep.
He won't challenge Dak Prescott for the quarterback one job, and he probably isn't someone you'd think of as a potential starter in the future. However, he's developing into a solid backup quarterback who can make plays for your team if needed.
The right trajectory 🏈#CowboysBackTogether#CowboysCamp @_CeeDeeThree pic.twitter.com/4UOXs7aE8l
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) July 31, 2021