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Cowboys news: Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush added to QB turmoil

The news you might have missed on Tuesday

NFL: NOV 04 Cowboys at Giants Photo by Rich Graes fourthsle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Report: Cowboys picking between Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush to start vs. Steelers - Jack Baer, Yahoo Sports

After the Ben DiNucci experiment didn’t exactly work out on Sunday night, the Cowboys are likely going to have a different starting quarterback next week against the undefeated Steelers. But who that is will be a mystery for at least a couple of days, as the Cowboys will pick between former AAF star Garrett Gilbert and former Jason Garrett guy Cooper Rush.

Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Cowboys plan to give both Garrett Gilbert and practice-squader Cooper Rush a shot at the starting job this week against the Steelers. DiNucci, who completed 21-of-40 yards for 180 yards and no touchdowns Sunday, reportedly won’t be part of the competition.

Combined, Gilbert and Rush have nine career NFL pass attempts.

Both players have spent most of their NFL careers as third-stringers or practice-squaders, though Gilbert is coming off a performance in the AAF in which he led the league in passing yards and passer rating for the Orlando Apollos.

Whoever wins out, this one is still probably going to get ugly.

Dallas Cowboys place Andy Dalton on reserve/COVID-19 list - Todd Archer, ESPN

The Cowboys understandably don’t want to put Ben DiNucci back out on the field, but they also can’t turn back to Andy Dalton just yet. That’s because the quarterback, who missed last week with a concussion, is on the COVID-19 reserve list now.

The Dallas Cowboys will be without quarterback Andy Dalton for a second straight game but not because of the concussion he sustained two weeks ago.

Dalton was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, which will knock him out of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to multiple sources.

Dalton did not practice last week as he worked through the concussion protocol, but he was in some team and quarterback meetings later in the week. He did not fly with the team to Philadelphia because he was officially ruled out the day before kickoff.

Dalton has started the self-quarantine process, and the Cowboys have begun contact tracing, but no players on the trip tested positive before the Philadelphia game, and Monday’s tests were negative as well.

Donovan Wilson Prompted Cowboys’ Improved Defensive Performance at Philly - Brianna Dix, D210 Sports

The Cowboys defense looked better than they have all year on Sunday night, which isn’t saying a whole lot. But the strong performance from the defense was kicked off by an impact play from Donovan Wilson, the second-year safety who’s finally cracked the starting lineup.

The unit had four takeaways, topping the defense’s grand total of three through the first seven games combined. The improved performance by the embattled Dallas defense began with strong safety, Donovan Wilson.

On the team’s first defensive series, Wilson sacked Carson Wentz on the move for a loss of ten yards, knocked the ball out, and recovered the fumble to put the Cowboys’ offense back on the field. The Texas A&M product was relentless in the fight for the football. He showcased effort and physicality that the Cowboys’ defense has been lacking.

On Wilson’s performance, head coach Mike McCarthy told D210Sports “ I thought he graded out well. He obviously had the impact sack/fumble return there that really, really got everything started for us. He’s doing an excellent job taking advantage of this opportunity. So I thought probably yesterday might have been his best performance, best he graded out all season.”

Dallas Cowboys double-digit home underdog for just second time in Super Bowl era - David Purdum, ESPN

The Cowboys have enjoyed a lot of highs during the Super Bowl era, including 20 consecutive winning seasons and five different championships, but the 2020 Cowboys - decimated by injuries - are hitting a low that has only happened once before in the franchise’s long, proud history.

Dallas Cowboys, already a historic 0-8 against the spread this season, are now listed as double-digit home underdogs for just the second time in the franchise’s storied history in the Super Bowl era.

The Cowboys have been installed as 13.5-point home underdogs to the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The only time they have been less favored to win a game at home was in 1989, when they were listed as 14.5-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers. They lost that game 31-14.

Dallas is off to a 2-6 start this season and is the only team yet to cover the spread in any game. At 0-8 against the spread, the Cowboys are tied with the 1991 Cincinnati Bengals and 2003 Oakland Raiders for the worst ATS start in a single season in the Super Bowl era.

Big Picture: 5 Storylines for Cowboys & Steelers - Kyle Youmans, DallasCowboys.com

The Cowboys are losers of three in a row now, and that will probably extend to four in a row with the Steelers - the only undefeated team left this year - next on the schedule. So what should fans be looking for leading up to this game, aside from impending doom?

When asked this week about the play-calling duties, Mike McCarthy said that it is a “non-topic” about Kellen Moore losing that responsibility. McCarthy who was known for his offensive genius during his time in Green Bay was excited about the prospect of Moore calling plays when he joined the organization. He continued to back up his coordinator this week after multiple questionable calls in the 23-9 loss to Philadelphia. McCarthy also went on to state the obvious that they are a different offense than they were two months ago but mentioned he will stay firm in the belief of Terrence Steele at the right tackle spot and not transition into a ‘best five’ mentality on the offensive line.

Sean Lee made his much-anticipated debut and played a total of four snaps in Sunday night’s loss. Regardless of the workload, the return was a welcome sight to have him suited up and available to play, much like they hope Chidobe Awuzie should be this week. Awuzie was expected to return last week prior to the Eagles game but was a late scratch from the lineup. This would mark the third week of the 21-day acclimation period following his stint on IR for a hamstring injury. With weapons like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool coming to Arlington… the healthier the Cowboys secondary is, the better.

Cowboys notebook: Dallas makes no more moves ahead of NFL trade deadline; Tyler Biadasz remains at center - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

Joe Looney earned the starting center job heading into the 2020 season, which wasn’t surprising given his experience. But when Looney returned to the field this past week, he didn’t retain his starting job, and that speaks to how well rookie Tyler Biadasz has played in his absence.

Tyler Biadasz remaining at center: When center Joe Looney was cleared to play against the Eagles last week following minor knee surgery he didn’t regain his starting spot. Rookie Tyler Biadasz remained with the first-team and it appears he will make his fifth consecutive start Sunday against the Steelers.

“He has played very well,” McCarthy said. “He has done a lot of really good things, picking up scheme adjustments in the middle of a game. Handling the declarations and so forth. Biggest challenge is, he’s on his third quarterback.”

NFL trade deadline: Why the Cowboys chose not to be ‘aggressive,’ despite faltering 2020 season - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

The Cowboys have more or less accepted that this season is over for them, and their decision to jettison three of their free agent signings last week signaled that. However, they didn’t participate in any sort of fire sale right before the trade deadline, which caught some fans by surprise.

“We got to continue to improve and I think we will.”

So while a last-minute trade wasn’t impossible, it was highly unlikely.

“I think we’re basically in a mode that if something came to us that made a lot of sense, then we’d certainly look at it,” said Jones. “I don’t know that we’re aggressively out here right now either trying to get somebody or move somebody. What we want to do right now is play some of these young guys that we have, give them the reps that they need, see what we have as we move through the season here. I only think we’re only going to get better as a football team, and see some of these young guys step up and play is important.

“You look at a guy like Randy Gregory last night, who finally gets his reps, and certainly you could see what we’ve always liked about Randy Gregory. I just think we got to get in here and let some of our young players play, and I think we’ll continue to get better.”

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