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Cowboys news: The backup QB competition remains undecided

The season is fast approaching. What you need to know from the Star:

Houston Texans v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy: Need another week to determine backup quarterback - Todd Archer, ESPN

Gilbert or Rush? The jury’s still out.

Gilbert has taken all of the first-team snaps in practice since Prescott has been out, but McCarthy said the coaches wanted to even out the snaps on Saturday. On his second snap, Gilbert was tripped as he backed away from the center. On his third snap, he was sacked and lost a fumble that the Texans turned into a touchdown.

“Obviously wasn’t his best night,” McCarthy said.

Rush, who served as Prescott’s backup from 2017 to 2019 but attempted only three passes, threw touchdown passes of eight yards to Tony Pollard and nine yards to Cedrick Wilson. He dealt with back and shoulder injuries in camp that limited some of his work while the Cowboys were in Oxnard, California.

He knew he would play in the first half against the Texans, but not exactly when.

Why Amari Cooper Felt The “Need” For Game Reps - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

Coop played his first game of 2021 on Saturday.

Cooper said he wasn’t worried about sitting out too long between meaningful games, but he said the actual playing time should prepare him the season opener against the world champs.

“I wouldn’t say I’m rusty, I would say I haven’t played in a long time. I haven’t ran routes against somebody in a long time,” Cooper said. “This was my third time to have the pads on since January. Not rust, I needed to get that feel of competing before it actually matters.”

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said he was more than pleased by the work Cooper got in the game, coupled by the practice snaps in the week leading up to Saturday.

Amari’s had a great week of practice. Just to really get him back in there was the point,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, we just played Amari, Michael, and CeeDee the first two series, just wanted to get them approximately 10 to 12 snaps.”

Cooper was able to run a few routes, but had no receptions and wasn’t even credited with an official target.

McCarthy is ‘Sick’ - And What That Reveals About Cowboys Coach - Mike Fisher, Fannation

Why McCarthy had feelings of disgust following the ‘Boys latest outing.

“I’m sick about the turnovers,’’ McCarthy said. “You can’t win that way. You got to take care of the damn football.”

In our media “fireside chat’’ at The Star with McCarthy a few days ago, I asked McCarthy about “image’’ and “perception being reality’’ and whether he feels the need to “perform,’’ whether its in front of his team or in front of the cameras.

He noted that as the Green Bay Packers head coach from 2006 to 2018, his personal style was borrowed from his dad, the Pittsburgh cop and bar owner. That meant scoffing at the notion that “perception is reality.’’

After a year “between jobs,’’ some admitted regrets about not figuring out the truth sooner while in Green Bay, and now in charge of the high-profile Cowboys?

He doesn’t scoff anymore.

The Dallas Cowboys got a taste of enacting emergency protocols with Dan Quinn out on Saturday - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys

Exit Dan Quinn. Enter Joe Whitt Jr.

We are all hoping the best for Dan Quinn and Carlos Watkins, but the fact that this news broke as the game had just begun was yet another stark reminder of the times. Things can literally change at a moment’s notice.

This was a common experience for NFL fans in 2020 as the league dealt with their first season of the pandemic. Remember how Dez Bryant was ruled ineligible for the Cowboys game on the road against the Baltimore Ravens last year just before kickoff (a game that was delayed six days as a result of Covid protocols at that)? We have advanced towards another season, but there are still challenges that can and likely will arise. Consider that Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel announced that he tested positive on Sunday.

These hypotheticals are all well within play as evidenced by Saturday night’s abundance of caution. The Cowboys, or any NFL team, could be preparing to play a game when all of a sudden they have a player or coach leave the building and suddenly have to deal with that occurrence’s impact on their football plan. Consider that Damontae Kazee (who obviously knows this defense very well) was calling for play calls early on as the team adjusted.

Cowboys vs. Texans preseason stock watch: 4 up, 3 down - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat

Who rose, and who faltered.

Stock Down: Garrett Gilbert, QB

The backup quarterback situation in Dallas is looking bleak with Garrett Gilbertseemingly set to be the primary sub for starter Dak Prescott. Admittedly, most NFL teams will struggle to win if they lose their starting passer.

But the Cowboys are especially at risk considering Prescott is coming off a devastating ankle injury that ended his season prematurely last year and he’s now dealing with a muscle strain that will sideline him for the entire preseason.

Despite being in the NFL for eight years, Gilbert has only one NFL start under his belt. And we are beginning to see why as he has a dangerous tendency to hold the ball too long in the pocket which resulted in a critical turnover on a strip-sack Saturday night. He’d end the game completing three of his five pass attempts for no scores or interceptions, and a lost fumble.

Don’t Forget These 5: Brown Defining His WR Role - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

Brown, plus four other things to pay attention to from Saturday.

Noah Brown solidifying his spot – If there was a doubt about Noah Brown making the team because he’s the fifth receiver and the Cowboys could possibly have cheaper options, he’s pretty much erasing those thoughts. Once again Saturday Brown made a couple of really nice plays in the second quarter. More impressive than a sideline catch where he showed concentration despite getting interfered with, Brown had another grab where he used his strength to drag a defender for a first down. It’s those types of plays the Cowboys will ask from Brown and he’s showing to be not only a special teams contributor but someone who can step right in on offense when needed.

Ralston have an outside shot? – Rookie fullback Nick Ralston is starting to slowly work his way into the conversation of getting a final roster spot. That was evident by the amount of early snaps he got Saturday night, including some fullback work in the first quarter. An undrafted rookie from University of Louisiana, who went to high school in nearby Argyle, Texas, Ralston has played a few playoff games at AT&T Stadium. While he got just two carries for three yards, he picked up two first downs on short-yardage situations. Last week, he made a big tackle on special teams. Ralston will likely get plenty of snaps in the final preseason game against Jacksonville to prove he needs to stick around.

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