The Dallas Cowboys still have plenty to figure out heading into their final preseason game. There are battles at cornerback and safety, the swing tackle role has been shaky, and with Neville Gallimore’s injury, the Cowboys need players to step up on the defensive interior.
Those issues need their proper attention, but the backup quarterback role should be at the top of the Cowboy’s priority list. If the disaster of the 2020 season taught the Cowboys anything it’s that whoever is behind Dak Prescott on the depth chart has to be serviceable, seeing as that wasn’t the case most of the time after his injury.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy says that the Cowboys need one more week to decide who will be Prescott’s primary backup.
“Well, we have one more week and we’re going to need it,” McCarthy said after the Cowboy’s 20-14 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday.
Once Prescott was sidelined with a shoulder strain it was Garrett Gilbert who took over the first-team reps in practice. He’s completed 19 of his 34 passes so far in the preseason. Gilbert hasn’t thrown an interception but he hasn’t thrown a touchdown or produced a touchdown drive either.
Gilbert completed three of his five passes for 30 yards on Saturday night but also lost a fumble that led to a Texans touchdown.
“Obviously wasn’t his best night,” McCarthy said of Gilbert.
2020 seventh-round pick Ben DiNucci had a night to forget as well. He completed 14 of his 19 passes. However, he threw three interceptions, and one was returned for a touchdown. DiNucci has the most to prove of all the backup quarterbacks so this performance came at a terrible time for him, and he’ll need to have a big showing in the Cowboy’s last preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars if he hopes to make the 53-man roster.
There was one bright spot at the quarterback spot against the Texans. Cooper Rush, who served as Prescott’s backup from 2017 to 2019 before signing back with the team last October, went 10 of 12 for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Rush has been down this road before and he is focused on landing a roster spot.
“It’s always an uphill battle,” Rush said. “You’re competing every game. You’re always hanging on. You’re always trying to get a roster spot, get the two spot. That’s kind of the mentality for every guy in here and me especially. Just try to get in there, get your reps and capitalize on those reps in games or practices and always out here just trying to make the team.”
With only one preseason game left it’s put up or shut up time for all three of the Cowboy’s backup quarterbacks.
“We’re getting down to crunch time here. It’s time to start making some decisions,” McCarthy said.
It’ll be interesting to see how will this backup quarterback battle shapes out.