Quarterbacks tend to be at the forefront of position evaluation in preseason games. With Dak Prescott out last night, the Cowboys got a good look at the three signal-callers behind their star on the depth chart.
In Prescott’s absence, 30-year-old Garrett Gilbert, who has been practicing with the first team, got the start. In limited playing time, Gilbert completed 9 of his 13 passes for 104 yards. Despite stalling multiple times in the red zone, Gilbert had good command of the makeshift “first team” offense and was able to move the ball down the field.
Really nice throw here from Garrett Gilbert. He's at his best when he's using play-action and is in rhythm. pic.twitter.com/eWvxHCwvX9— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) August 6, 2021
For the most part, Gilbert was able to get rid of the ball quickly, as he did in the play shown below for a nice gain.
This is a really encouraging play for Sean McKeon.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) August 6, 2021
If he can bully smaller defenders, he might actually be a player. pic.twitter.com/g4uuKCHvTn
It’s also not like Gilbert was playing behind the true starting offensive line. There were a few plays where the signal-caller just had no chance, like the sack shown below.
Second-year breakout candidate Alex Highsmith already off to a HOT start— PFF (@PFF) August 6, 2021
Sure, it wasn’t all great. Gilbert wasn’t able to punch the ball in the end zone and could have had two turnovers. Occasionally he held the ball too long, helping the pressure on him. If Dak Prescott played a game like this people would be sounding the alarms, but Gilbert is never going to be Prescott. What the Cowboys need him to be is a reliable backup quarterback, which he showed signs of last night.
Garrett Gilbert looked like a backup quarterback to me. And if that sounds like a shot, it isn’t because that’s the exact position he’s trying to get. And to me, he looked like one. He wasn’t perfect by any means. In fact, Gilbert could’ve had two turnovers had one pass not been deflected by his own receiver who broke up a near interception and his own lineman didn’t jump on his fumble near the goal line. But he did have some nice moments, including a 21-yard pass from his own end zone to Cedrick Wilson for a big gain. He moved the offense rather well, but again, offense stalled in the red zone. The personnel around him is wash for me - sure the Steelers didn’t have their top guys on defense but many of the Cowboys’ starters were out, too. So overall, I think Gilbert looked solid, considering the situation.
Gilbert’s stock rose even more because of how bad the Cowboys other quarterbacks looked. Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci both had quarterback ratings below 76 and were unable to find any real rhythm in the offense.
Interception, Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci. He's talked about how much quicker game moves in NFL than at FCS James Madison. McCarthy has discussed offense's need to trim missed assignments (presnap) + mental errors (postsnap, decision making)pic.twitter.com/NnhJtqyDvf— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) August 6, 2021
If Garrett Gilbert has competition for QB2, it's not on this roster right now.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 6, 2021
Garrett Gilbert clearly proved he is on another level than the other quarterbacks on the roster last night. He clearly has separated himself from the pack and is the clear leader in the clubhouse to be the backup QB.
With Dak Prescott sidelined for a little while longer, Gilbert has a great chance to lock up the job and be the backup throughout the course of this season. His only competition will com from the outside if the Cowboys decide to add a veteran to challenge him. If he can perform in the preseason games competently, it’s unlikely the team will bring in any help.
Are you satisfied with Gilbert as the QB2?
Should Garrett Gilbert be the Cowboys backup QB?
This poll is closed
Yes, he looks capable.
No, bring in a vet challenger.
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