The Dallas Cowboys are getting ready for their second preseason game on Friday against the Arizona Cardinals. With quarterback Dak Prescott out once again with a shoulder strain, this gives Dallas’ other quarterbacks an opportunity to prove themselves.
There are currently four Cowboys quarterbacks on the roster: Garrett Gilbert, Garrett Rush, Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci. They won’t all make it to the roster so at most one of them will not.
Prescott is the obvious choice to make it on the roster. Rush, Gilbert and DiNucci are all possible candidates for being cut. All three quarterbacks did get action in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gilbert was the Dallas Cowboys’ starter and played the entire first quarter. Gilbert, a former star at SMU, completed 9/13 passes for an impressive 104 yard total. He led the Cowboys downfield in both of his drives.
Rush then took over the game in the second quarter, and he played the rest of the half. Rush, a 27-year old quarterback, also completed two drives and completed 8/13 passes for 70 yard. His drives ended with miscues in Dallas, including a fumble and a missed field goal.
Ben DiNucci was the seventh round pick and finished the game. He then played the third quarter and the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-2 quarterback completed seven passes for 89 yards and one interception in six drives.
It was interesting to see how the Cowboys reacted to this situation with all three of these quarterbacks participating in Dallas’ preseason game. Gilbert has a good chance of being the backup. He started their first preseason game on Thursday and has been working with the first unit in training camp while Prescott is recovering from his injury.
Last season, the 6-foot-4 quarterback played in one game and nearly helped Dallas win against the Steelers. Gilbert was able to complete 21/38 passes, 243 yards passing, one touchdown and 28 yards on the ground in that game. He would be shocked if he did not make the final roster.
Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci could now be competing for the third-string position. The Dallas Cowboys may decide to remove both quarterbacks from their initial 53-man roster. It is unlikely that Dallas would do this, but it is possible.
After training camp, the 53-man roster included Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Dak Prescott, all quarterbacks. The Cowboys will likely keep three more quarterbacks for the upcoming season.
According to ESPN, they list Cooper Rush as the fourth-string quarterback meaning that he would be the odd man out. But, it could be that DiNucci will start the season on the practice team.
DiNucci looked a little sluggish in his first start last season, and his preseason debut last Thursday. The former James Madison star finished just 52.5 percent (180 yards) of his passes against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 8. He also lost two fumbles.
Rush’s extensive experience could mean that the young quarterback, who is still just starting his career, may be dropped from the roster. Before joining Dallas in 2017, he was with the team from 2017 to 2019, and then a brief time on the New York Giants practice group. The former Central Michigan University alumnus is now back with the Dallas Cowboys.
From 2017 to 2019, Rush was Prescott’s backup and he could be in the same position in 2021. He hasn’t had any opportunity to show his skills, even though he only completed one pass over the course of his four-year career.