Cowboys placing Andy Dalton on COVID list; Cooper Rush set to start?

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

Without Andy Dalton, who will the Dallas Cowboys start against the Steelers?

On Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys suffered their third-straight loss without their franchise quarterback, Dak Prescott, under center. This time the defeat came at the hands of their divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Prescott was lost for the season following a severe ankle injury he suffered back in Week Five. Against the Eagles, Dallas didn’t have the services of Dak’s primary backup either as Andy Dalton was still recovering from a concussion he suffered in Week Seven.

Now, the spiraling 2-6 Cowboys are set to face the 7-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. And they’ll do so without Dalton as the veteran passer is being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. That according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Without Prescott or Dalton, the Cowboys turned to seventh-round rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci as their starter in Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football. And the 23-year old DiNucci turned in predictable inconsistent performance, completing just 21 of his 40 passes (52.5%) for 180 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions.

DiNucci was also sacked four times and fumbled the ball twice, losing both. The rookie’s shaky performance undermined the Cowboys’ best defensive effort of the season. The defense forced four turnovers and kept the game close until midway through the fourth quarter. Dallas would go on to lose in Philly, 23-9.

Will the Dallas Cowboys once again start Ben DiNucci?

Because of his poor showing, it’s unclear if the Cowboys will once again turn to DiNucci as their starter against the formidable Steelers at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. Dallas has two other options at quarterbacks they could turn to in Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush. But both they are wildly inexperienced.

Originally a sixth-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams back in 2014, Gilbert has played only six games over his seven-year career in the NFL and has never been a starter. He’s thrown six total pass attempts, completing two for 40 yards. The Cowboys signed Gilbert off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad last month.

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Rush was the primary backup behind Prescott for three seasons in Dallas before being waived to make room for Dalton in May. The undrafted rookie free agent quarterback out of Central Michigan back in 2017 has played in a total of five NFL games, throwing three passes, and completing one for two yards.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Cooper Rush to their practice squad just last week. Yet, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Dallas is seriously considering giving him the starting nod against the Steelers.