Cowboys Address Handling of QBs After Broncos’ COVID Disaster

Cowboys QB Andy Dalton

Getty Cowboys QB Andy Dalton

Like anybody else, Mike McCarthy witnessed the NFL stripping the Denver Broncos of their quarterbacks in Week 12 following apparent violations of the COVID-19 protocol.

And it’s not to say McCarthy learned from the Broncos’ mistakes, but they did seem to remind him of the Cowboys’ own in-house policies, of which he’s assured.

“Stay the course,” he told reporters Wednesday as Dallas returned to practice ahead of Week 13. “Our facility accommodates the need for space. There’s plenty of space.”

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There’s plenty of space in the Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters, as well. But starting quarterback Drew Lock, his backup Brett Rypien, and practice-squadder Blake Bortles made the fatal mistake of holding a film session that included COVID-positive QB Jeff Driskel.

The league determined upon viewing security footage from the team facility that neither of the players wore masks around or socially-distanced from Driskel. Consequently, all of Lock, Rypien, and Bortles were moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list, ineligible to play last Sunday. The Broncos — forced to trot out practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at QB — were predictably thrashed, 31-3, by the New Orleans Saints.

To their credit, meanwhile, the Cowboys have done an admirable job mitigating the coronavirus. Only two players, QB Andy Dalton and defensive lineman Walter Palmore, have been sent to the COVID list since training camp opened in August. The recent NFL-wide outbreak did impact their Week 13 game at Baltimore, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 3 before being moved to Monday, Dec. 7, and finally Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Which may explain owner Jerry Jones’ lack of sympathy and possible frustration about the Broncos’ situation — a situation no worse, he feels, than what Dallas was put through this season, reduced from Dak Prescott to Dalton to, worst of all, seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci.

“I don’t know that Denver had any more challenge than we’ve had with (Ben) DiNucci or any of the young quarterbacks we’ve had,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan.

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Cowboys Projected to Draft QB with No. 4 Pick

Should its current draft position hold, Dallas Cowboys will (mostly) have the pick of the litter of the 2021 NFL class. They could go cornerback and take Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II. Or perhaps linebacker with Penn State’s Micah Parsons. Maybe even an offensive tackle like Penei Sewell, assuming he falls that far.

But there’s a Door No. 4 for the would-be No. 4 overall selection: Prescott’s replacement under center. Such as BYU’s Zach Wilson, whom Pro Football Network believes is a legitimate candidate to don the star next season.

Via PFN’s Matthew Valdovinos:

The first surprise of this 2021 3 round NFL mock draft, Zach Wilson makes his way to Jerry World. Despite the Cowboys already possessing an elite quarterback, it’s hard to ignore the combination of Dak Prescott’s injury, how far the two parties were in contract talks last season, and the Cowboys sitting in a position to take one of the top quarterbacks in college football this season. I believe paying Dak Prescott is the only correct choice, but I wouldn’t put it past the Cowboys to make a business decision like this.

Wilson possesses an above-average arm with impressive ball placement down the field. He uses his natural athletic ability to create plays out of structure and push the ball down the field. This selection would also help Jerry Jones save face by not forcing him to give Prescott a mega-extension that he avoided last year. Considering how poorly Dallas’ needs match the 2021 NFL Draft class’ positional strengths, this could become a real possibility.

READ NEXT: Jerry Jones Knocks Cowboys Rookie QB Ben DiNucci in Curious Statement

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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