If this were a normal offseason, with Dak Prescott temporarily out of the picture, Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Andy Dalton would be assuming first-string practice reps. But it’s not a normal offseason, so, like everyone else, he’s limited to socially-distanced, Zoom-held classroom work.
Dalton, though, is already paying the sort of dividends Dallas envisioned after signing him to an incentivized one-year, $7 million pact. The former longtime Cincinnati Bengals starter is aiding a Prescott-less room that includes rookie seventh-rounder Ben DiNucci and 2019 practice-squadder Clayton Thorson.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“He’s part of the quarterback group,” McCarthy said Wednesday of Dalton, per the Dallas Morning News. “It’s been good. He brings a ton of experience, very impressed with his knowledge base and understanding.”
Dalton brings with him a decade-long resume punctuated by more than 31,500 career passing yards and 70 regular-season victories. There’s a reason McCarthy lauded his experience, and that’s because it’s central to installing the 2020 offense.
No Organized Team Activities (OTAs) or minicamps, typically staggered throughout May and June, means no hands-on assimilation of the system. No assimilation puts the club behind the figurative eight ball. This is a nightmare scenario for a brand new coaching staff, compounded by Prescott’s pseudo-holdout in protest of his contract (or lack thereof).
Dalton has proven in short order to be a pillar for McCarthy, who’s counting on his ilk to make the Jason Garrett-era transition as seamless as reasonably possible.
“I’m excited because this is probably going to be the most experienced team I’ve coached, so we’ll definitely rely on that,” he said, per The Athletic.
Dalton knew what he was getting into upon touching pen to paper. He immediately resigned himself to a No. 2 role, hoping to mentor Dak and his disciples while rehabbing his own value to re-test on the open market next March.
And as some paint in somber tones regarding starter Prescott’s status with the organization, his coach sees the proverbial canvas as half-full.
“He’s involved in a business situation and I have full confidence he will be ready to go,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday, via the Dallas Morning News. “There’s been communication. This is the way these business situations go sometimes and you respect that and have all the confidence it will work out.”
McCarthy has been all-in on Prescott from the day he arrived at Jerry Jones’ lair. The former Super Bowl-winning Packers head man declared that Dallas’ offense will revolve around the two-time Pro Bowler, whom he “definitely” considers a franchise QB.
With a franchise failsafe — if such a thing exists — allowing his superiors to sleep a little easier.
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Cowboys Fans Call for Andy Dalton Amid Dak Squabble
Amid his ongoing fight for a long-term contract, many in Cowboys Nation are turning on the franchise-tagged quarterback and gravitating toward Dalton.
If Prescott won’t accept what Dallas wants to pay him, the masses collectively concluded, then his clipboard-holder is the right man for the job. Below is a smattering of comments from the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page:
I’ve been a cowboy fan since I was a little did quarterback ain’t worth the money you want to give him you just got a quarterback that can do just as well as he can set Prescott down don’t play himif he’s turning down that much money he don’t want to be on the team give Andy Dalton a chance
I’m a diehard cowboy fan but no one is worth that kind of $$$$ what ever happened to just making a comfortable living,greed almost always cost u at the end.bring on Andy Dalton!
Dak wouldn’t get that much in the open market. Take what is being offered. You had some good stats but ended with no championship or ring. Kick rocks! Send him to the Jets and keep Dalton. Something Dak will regret for the rest of his life, greedy SOB. Cowboys have a lot of talent and want to be able to keep them next year.
Dak is as good as he is because of the weapons he has. Cowboys just gifted him Super Bowl capable team and this is what he is doing. Go ahead Dak, go find yourself another team. Let Andy have a shot.
Cowboys, tell Dak Prescott to get lost! He is not a top tier QB and Andy Dalton can fill QB slot easily. I believe Andy can take the Cowboys to the playoffs and possibly SB.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL