In a Monday radio interview, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones reaffirmed his commitment to Dalton as the starting quarterback, which remains contingent on the 31-year-old clearing COVID-list protocols following the team’s Week 10 bye.
“Obviously, Andy’s our quarterback now that Dak is out for the year,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “Certainly, if he gets back, which hopefully he’ll pass his (concussion) protocol, and be ready to go as far as the coronavirus is concerned. It’s our bye week and that gives him a chance to get up to speed. We’ll just have to see what the next two weeks bring.”
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The pronouncement was necessary after Gilbert nearly sprung an upset of the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. The former AAF star completed 21-of-38 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, adding 28 yards on three scrambles amid the 24-19 defeat. He was (considering the circumstances) confident, accurate and decisive, a major departure from rookie Ben DiNucci’s poor Week 8 showing.
“Gilbert came out there and had a hell of a day and moved the ball well,” Jones said. “I thought he had a hell of a day and gave us every opportunity to win.”
Through the air, rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb topped 70 yards for the first time since Week 5. WR1 Amari Cooper (six catches, 67 yards) rebounded from his Washington stinker. The playcalling also more in tune, eight different players recorded at least one catch as the Cowboys bested Pittsburgh in total offense (364-355) and time of possession (33:24-26:36).
For a guy plucked off the Browns’ practice squad less than a month ago, Gilbert pieced together respectable film that Dallas must take into consideration. McCarthy and the offensive coaches should pause as to whether entrust a previously-concussed and potentially coronavirus-infected signal-caller over the only thing resembling a spark since Dak Prescott went down.
“Garrett is definitely a warrior. …Just how he responded, he had a pretty decent game and can’t thank him enough for his contribution to this offense and this team,” Lamb said after the game, via USA Today.
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More of the Same on Andy
The brain trust purportedly decided that Dalton would regain his starting job well before the Pittsburgh affair. Before they held a pseudo-competition between Gilbert and Cooper Rush ahead of Week 9.
Pining for experience at the sport’s most important position, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy revealed last Tuesday the ex-longtime Bengals QB’s anticipated return to the lineup.
“He’s doing fine. We’ll see how he goes throughout the time he’s on this COVID list, but I think by the end of next week we’ll be able to see him again,” McCarthy said.
Dalton started one full game this season, Week 6 against the Cardinals, in which he went 34-of-54 for 266 yards, one TD, and two INTs. He completed 9-of-19 passes for 75 yards and an INT before suffering a brain injury the following week.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL