Steelers set to eat Garrett Gilbert’s grapes as Cowboys starter

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert #3 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Quarterback Garrett Gilbert #3 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys will reportedly start Garrett Gilbert against the Steelers

After a week of speculation coinciding with the U.S. Presidential elections, the Dallas Cowboys have cast their vote for who will be their starting quarterback this Sunday against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. And the so-called winner is … Garrett Gilbert.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the Cowboys have awarded the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Gilbert the starting nod over longtime Cowboys’ backup, Cooper Rush. The former Texas and SMU passer reportedly got the majority of first-team snaps this week, making him the preferred choice by the coaching staff.

The 29-year old Gilbert was a sixth-round selection by the St. Louis Rams back in 2014. The journeyman backup quarterback has only played a total of six games, throwing just six passes, and completing two for 40 yards. This will be Gilbert’s first NFL start in his six-year professional career.

But the Cowboys aren’t doing the inexperienced Gilbert any favors by starting him against a 7-0 Steelers team who possesses one of the top defenses in the NFL. The Steelers have the fifth-highest ranked defense in the league, allowing only an average of 310.7 yards per game to opposing offenses. They rank in the top-six in both pass and run defense.

The makeshift offensive line in Dallas has allowed 24 total sacks so far this season, the fifth-most in the league. Against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, Cowboys’ rookie passer Ben DiNucci was sacked four times, fumbling twice. Pittsburgh’s defense leads the NFL in sacks with 30 through seven games.

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All signs point to this contest being a blowout by the Pittsburgh Steelers and the fate of the game could be decided very early. If so, a quarterback change for the Dallas Cowboys at some point is conceivable.

If that’s the case, it would likely be Cooper Rush taking the reins. But much like Garrett Gilbert, the 26-year old Rush has little regular-season experience, having played in only five games and thrown a total of three passes over his four-year NFL career.