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Cowboys news: COVID strikes as the team goes virtual

Start your Tuesday off right with some Cowboys news.

Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys go virtual as COVID-19 list expands by three players - Todd Archer, ESPN.com

Never something you want to hear. Hopefully, everyone will be okay.

In addition to Lamb, safeties Malik Hooker and Israel Mukuamu were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.

Upon announcing Quinn and Watkins were placed in the COVID protocols, the Cowboys announced that 93% of their players are fully vaccinated, which would account for 80 of 86 players on the roster. The entire coaching staff and support staff needed to be fully vaccinated before the start of training camp in order to continue working in proximity to players.

If a fully vaccinated player or coach fails a test and is completely asymptomatic, he can return to the club facility and interact with players after two negative PCR tests taken at least 24 hours apart, plus a negative Mesa test before entry.

If a fully vaccinated player or coach tests positive and has symptoms, then he must remain in isolation until he has two negative PCR tests separated by 24 hours and be symptom-free for 48 hours.

It might be time for the Cowboys to look elsewhere for a backup quarterback - Matt Holleran, BloggingTheBoys

There will be plenty of quarterbacks on the open market soon.

Gilbert had by far his worst performance of the preseason, completing just three passes for a mere 30 yards. Gilbert’s PFF offensive grade of 38.0 was the worst of any quarterback in the game. The 30-year-old signal-caller also once again failed to get the Cowboys in the end zone, giving him seven preseason drives with no touchdowns on the board.

As if things didn’t go poorly enough for Gilbert, Cooper Rush, his direct competition, had the best game by any Cowboys quarterback this preseason. Rush completed 10 of 12 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite Rush’s outstanding performance, when Mike McCarthy spoke after the game he made one thing fairly clear. The Cowboys still have not found their backup quarterback.

So, where do the Cowboys go from here? Do they hope that Gilbert’s poor performance was just a bump in the road that he can rebound from? Do they trust in Cooper Rush and believe his great outing showed he’s cable of being the backup? The answer to both of these questions might be no.

Sure, Rush looked great last night. The 27-year-old looked like a capable backup quarterback, but there’s a reason Rush has been in the league since 2017 and has not made a single start. Can the Cowboys really rely upon a guy who has taken 26 snaps in his NFL career to win a regular-season game?

Cooper Rush will start final preseason game for Cowboys - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk

Cooper earned the right after his performance last week against Houston.

Mike McCarthy announced Monday that Rush will take the first-team snaps in practice this week and start the final preseason game Sunday against the Jaguars.

“He’s earned this opportunity,” McCarthy said.

Rush went 10-of-12 for 97 yards with two touchdowns and a 139.9 passer rating against the Texans on Saturday, while Gilbert was 3-of-5 for 30 yards and a 77.1 rating. DiNucci, a seventh-round choice in 2020, threw three interceptions against Houston in his ongoing struggles to grasp the position.

McCarthy called Rush “very steady, very consistent.”

“Cooper lives here year round,” McCarthy said, via Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press. “He has been here every day throughout the offseason. He is super intelligent. He has a great understanding. He knows the ropes around here. He has a history in the offense. That is the point I am making. And he was always prepared for his opportunity. He fought through two injuries — both the shoulder and the back. I thought he played well against Houston.”

Are both sides right regarding the Cowboys linebacker debate? - Angel Torres , The Landry Hat

They can’t play favorites, just put the best pairings on the field to win games.

When Micah Parsons was drafted in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys, some people were elated while others felt deflated, to say the least. There are some in the community, including me, that think it is not wise to spend such high capital on a linebacker.

There are exceptions to the rule as generational players make any position a moot point.

I am in the belief that certain positions have a higher risk for injury or shorter lifespans. Some of us remember that narrative that runningbacks die off after the age of 30. Linebackers are in the same category for me.

Parsons has shown most of the linebacker critics that he isn’t just an off-the-ball linebacker. So far, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has kept the offense guessing by lining Parsons all over the field. This is exactly how you gain value from the position.

It does help that Parsons is instinctive and one of the fastest players on the field. Some fans are waiting to hear critics eat crow but we weren’t wrong either.

What people have to understand is we were not criticizing Micah Parsons the player, we were criticizing the position. His off-the-field concerns are another matter.

Jabril Cox is the exact thing we were talking about. He is rated slightly lower than Parsons according to PFF yet the Cowboys used a fifth-round pick on him. Having him rated lower than Parsons with a bigger sample size makes our point for us also.

3 Dallas Cowboys quarterback options to back up Dak Prescott - Vincent Frank, Sportsnaut

Backup QB will continue to be a hot subject.

Even with Prescott set to go Week 1 against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there’s some pressure in Texas. That includes the Dallas Cowboys’ brass likely looking outside of the organization to find a legit No. 2. Below, we look at three options.

Dallas Cowboys trade for Nick Foles

With Dallas up against the cap, getting a cheap backup for Prescott has to be the focus here. That’s where the 32-year-old Foles come into play. Any team acquiring the Chicago Bears current No. 3 quarterback would be taking on a mere $4 million cap hit for the 2021 season. That’s more than doable for the Cowboys.

Despite some regression on the part of the Super Bowl MVP, Foles would be a major upgrade over what Dallas has behind Prescott. He’d likely cost a conditional late-round pick in a trade with Chicago, too. Of all the options, this might make the most sense for Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys Breakout: Why this year is different for Dorance Armstrong - Reid Hanson, Sports DFW

Is this finally the year for Armstrong?

Normally this kind of development would send shockwaves through Cowboys Nation, but fans have been fairly reserved. You see, Cowboys fans have been here before. Last year Dorance Armstrong also had a strong showing in training camp (if we can call 2020 training camp), but it didn’t translate to the regular season.

Armstrong’s pedestrian performance in 2020 is tempering the expectations for many this season. No matter how unstoppable he looks in preseason, fans seem to be slotting themselves in “I’ll believe it when I see it” territory. But there’s reason to believe this year is different and the Dallas Cowboys have reason to believe his strong summer is a sign of things to come and not another tease.

There’s reason to believe this time Dorance Armstrong really is going to breakout for the Dallas Cowboys.

With DeMarcus Lawrence recovering from offseason surgery, Dorance Armstrong has recovered an abnormal amount of first team snaps throughout training camp. Going against the 1s has been instrumental in his development and overall assessment.

Dallas drafted Armstrong at age 20. So it’s understandable he didn’t get his first full sack until age 22. Neither D-Law nor D-Ware got their first sack until age 23.

Armstrong has routinely won snaps in Oxnard, Frisco, and preseason games. He’s played well against rotational players and starters alike and has done so a variety of ways, displaying good handwork, strength, and counter moves on any given snap.

Projecting Cowboys Next 5 Roster Moves for Aug 24th Deadline - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Looking into the Cowboys future.

3. OT Eric Smith released

The battle for roster spots at OT seems to be down to veteran Ty Nsekhe and younger prospects like Isaac Alarcon, Brandon Knight, and Terence Steele. In between them is Eric Smith, an undrafted player in 2017 who spent last year on Dallas’ practice squad.

Smith’s been around the NFL for a while and turns 26 next month. He’s been nothing more than a camp body to this point and Dallas has enough of those already to get through practices and the preseason finale. Seems like an easy cut.

4 & 5. Two receivers released.

The Cowboys have 13 receivers on the roster right now. Even if they sit the Big 3 against Jacksonville and limit reps for Cedrick Wilson and Noah Brown, that still leaves eight guys for the game. They could definitely afford to lose two of them.

Based on the limited evidence we have to go by I’d guess Johnnie Dixon and T.J. Vasher for the two cuts. They’ve been the least productive receivers in games, though by a very slim margin.

As I freely admitted last week, the coaches know way more about these guys than I do. If they end up cutting Brendon Smith and Osirus Mitchell I could only shrug and assume it’s because of things we don’t get to see on the practice field.

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