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Dallas Cowboys 2020 Training Camp Preview: Quarterback

The Dallas Cowboys are starting to put together their final roster for the 2020 season. As training camp practices begin soon, Inside The Star begins a position-by-position breakdown of who is in camp and how the competitions look for various roles throughout the team. Naturally, we’re going to kick things off with the quarterbacks.

Summary

Last season, Dak Prescott had career highs in passing yards and touchdowns while also posting his second-best passer rating. He blossomed as a franchise QB with Kellen Moore running the offense and hopes to progress further with Mike McCarthy taking over as head coach.

Prescott’s big year brought on the franchise tag in 2020 and all of the drama that came with it. The Cowboys were unable to sign Dak to a long-term deal by the deadline and now both parties will have to wait until the 2021 offseason to get that done.

Obviously, that makes this a critical year for Prescott. But he’s been given every opportunity to succeed with a loaded offense, continuity at Offensive Coordinator, and the switch from Jason Garrett to McCarthy. It’ll be hard to find excuses if Dak doesn’t perform in 2020.

Also joining the mix this year is veteran Andy Dalton, one of several longtime starting QBs left scrounging for work in 2020. The Texas native gets is here to backup Prescott and give the Cowboys security as they push to get back to the Super Bowl.

With both starter and backup clearly established, the only question mark at QB for Dallas is between developmental prospects Ben DiNucci and Clayton Thorson. Which of them will make it as the team’s third quarterback, and will that player be on the 53-man roster or the practice squad?

Ben DiNucci, Clayton Thorson
Cowboys QB prospects Ben DiNucci & Clayton Thorson

Quarterback Pre-Camp Rankings

  1. Dak Prescott
  2. Andy Dalton
  3. Ben DiNucci vs Clayton Thorson

QB Competitions

Again, the only real debate here is at the bottom of the depth chart. While a few so-called “fans” have clamored for Dallas to dump Dak and go with Dalton, most know that Prescott is the superior player at this point and the QB of the future for the Cowboys. At the very least, Dak is the franchise-tagged starter in 2020.

As for DiNucci and Thorson, one of the biggest losses in not having a preseason is missing out on watching these guys play. While the exhibition games can be deceiving, they also are the only glimpse we usually get of these developmental quarterbacks.

Despite being a 7th-round rookie, Ben DiNucci is already developing a following based on his college tapes and the general hype around Dallas’ 2020 draft class. Given that he’s also a fresh pick by the Cowboys’ new coaching staff, and particularly our new QB-minded head coach, it’s not unreasonable to consider him the current front-runner.

That said, Clayton Thorson was a 5th-round pick a year ago and spent 2019 on Dallas’ practice squad. That experience, especially since Kellen Moore is still the offensive coordinator, is invaluable for him in this competition.

Keep in mind that Thorson was drafted by the Eagles, whose head coach Doug Pederson is a disciple of the West Coast offense much like Mike McCarthy is. So while McCarthy did have a say in drafting DiNucci, he could also find favorable qualities in Thorson’s game as well.

Only time and performance will tell who emerges between DiNucci and Thorson and even then a spot on the official roster is far from guaranteed. Dallas may elect to keep just Prescott and Dalton and let the developmental player fall to the practice squad, saving a roster spot for some other position.

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!

Comments

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  1. Love it, taking a shot at “so-called fans” that were just fed up with Prescott not agreeing to more than fair multiple contract offers from the Cowboys. As I predicted, now we see how his greediness is hurting the team with the HORRIBLE CAP situation. Maybe we lose our great LT Smith as collateral damage.

    “It will be hard to find excuses if Dak doesn’t perform in 2020.” Somehow, that sounds very familiar.

  2. Be careful about using franchise QB and Dak in the same sentence Jess! Makes the haters come out of the woodwork. Wait and Dak is a superior QB to Andy Dalton ? Well Now you’ve really gone and done it. I will agree though that the pressure is all on Dak. He has everything in place to be successful. I hope he has a great yr because if he does that means success for the “boys” and that’s what we all want isn’t it?

    • Agreed Gary b, that’s what we all want! My being critical of Prescott (for the aforementioned reason) has absolutely nothing to do with wanting my team to win every single game. Been that way since 1966!

  3. Personally rooting for Dak, but sure there those if u that would rather see him fail than for the cowboys to have success. Pretty sad !

  4. If u have a crappy QB under center, does it really matter who is blocking for him? Besides the need to restructure contracts or cut players only applies IF Dak signs the tag next yr again. (Not this year). Why don’t we concentrate on supporting our team (including Dak) this season and next season will take care of it’s self. Or is it more important for you to be a hater.

  5. Be honest which would make you happier… for Dak to bomb? Or the cowboys to do well? I wonder sometimes. U seem to devote practically all of ur energy trying to disparage Dak. U would think he had personally done something to u. Funny have never ever heard u criticize another cowboy player only Dak. Why is that? 53 players on the roster but Dak is the only one that’s not perfect I guess. Dak is our QB as he goes we go.

    • Yes, I want the Cowboys to do well. But what you DO NOT SEEM TO COMPREHEND IS PRESCOTT IS HURTING THE TEAM WITH HIS OUTRAGEOUS CONTRACT DEMANDS. HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO POST THAT FOR IT TO SINK INTO YOUR HEAD. HURTING THE TEAM, OBVIOUSLY, DOES NOT HELP US WIN GAMES. WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND. And I comment on many other subject here, but I guess you didn’t notice that. And I have been critical of other Cowboys, namely Hill, Zeke, Lawrence. So get off my back A$$HOLE. I can comment whatever I want, whenever I want.

      • Prescott hasn’t hurt this team as of this point in time. His 2020 contract is an easy pill to swallow this year … it doesn’t not impact the makeup of this roster as it stands for this season. You are projecting when you say he is hurting this team, yet you (nor anyone else) has any idea what kind of contract parameters will be rolling around next offseason. You projecting his contract is all well and good but it does not substantiate your claim(s) .. much like your CAPITALIZATION in your comments. He is not viewed as greedy by his teammates and/or coaches and his contract situation is not distracting this team. It’s only a big deal to his (wayward) agent, Cowboy brass, the media, and the fans whom have been put off for whatever reason by his goal to attain something that may never come again. You’ve made your feelings clear … perhaps its time to let it go for 2020 and let’s just get on the ride?

      • VAM – You do comment on other topics, and almost always bring up Prescott, even when it’s entirely unrelated. I appreciate you taking the time to comment as much as you do but chill out. I’m the only asshole around here. Stop flaming other commenters, stop hijacking every comment thread with copy/paste anti-Dak rhetoric, and chill the fuck out. This is a place for discussion and if your ego can’t handle a difference in opinion without resorting to aggression and name-calling, you’re welcome to not return. Only warning, sir.

  6. Oh u want the gloves off do VAM ? Have it ur way. Aren’t you the one always calling out people for name calling ? Yea think u are. Unlike you I’ve never personally attacked anyone else in here (till now) u racist pig. It’s obvious ur heart is full of hate and ur various posts illustrate that very clearly. I try to compliment people and disagree respectfully, but for u I’ll make an exception. Tough titty u can’t handle someone calling you out on ur hate or questioning ur cowboy opinions. I’ll go toe to toe with u on cowboy football anytime u want. Post all u want and I’ll disagree with u and call u out on ur hate posts anytime I want. Too bad u got that hate thing going on cuz u obviously know football and the cowboys.
    .

    • Nah, we see all of them, and we have talks about some. We just try to stay out of the way as much as possible. Some people take that too far, as you’ve seen (I’m the guy who got your emails). VAM is pushing even very restrained moderation at this point.

    • Gary b, I apologize for the name calling. I don’t normally do that, but I made a stupid mistake and I take responsibility for it.

  7. I very much appreciate you saying that VAM ! And I look forward to reading ur posts in the future. It’s cool to hear from people who know their stuff.

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