Lesson Learned From Dallas Cowboys: Invest In Reliable Backup QBs

Oct 16, 2020, 10:05 AM
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Andy Dalton #14 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up prior to the gam...
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 27: Andy Dalton #14 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up prior to the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 27, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas –The Dallas Cowboys are out with their star quarterback Dan Prescott who suffered a gruesome-looking right ankle injury against the New York Giants and is out for the year.

The Cowboys are in the worst division in the NFL. The NFC East has just three total wins among the four, not including games against each other.

The Cowboys are in a position of strength. They have a quality backup in Andy Dalton, now compare that to the New England Patriots who struggled mightily when Cam Newton could not play because of COVID-19 and Brian Hoyer played poorly. The Cowboys made a great investment in Dalton during the offseason for a mere $3 million this season even though Prescott has never missed a game as a starter during his time in Dallas.

Dalton has had a solid career and has two playoff games with the Cincinnati Bengals. He is in his 10th year in the NFL. He came in and led the Cowboys to a victory over the Giants with a few great throws, including a deep one to Michael Gallup to set up the game-winning field goal.

One game is nice but the big question is what is next going forward. Was Dalton playing well due to the momentum of the moment on Sunday, or is he a steady hand to possibly lead Dallas to an NFC East title?

There are plenty of weapons with Ezekiel Elliot running the ball and a trio of really good wide receivers in Gallup, rookie CeeDee Lamb, and Amari Cooper. Dalton has the experience and ability to keep the offense going close to what Prescott was doing. Even by being close means, this Cowboys offense will be well above average as Prescott was having a career year before going down.

Teams Need To Pay For A Quality Backup

There are just certain positions that teams can not skimp on or it will come back to bite them and one of those positions is the backup quarterback. Paying a backup quarterback a few million bucks may seem like a waste but having the comfort of knowing that behind that expensive starter is a player who can step in and play well.

KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell spent over a decade in the NFL as a starter and backup so is familiar with how important that second quarterback is important to a team’s success or failures. The one problem that Mitchell sees from Dalton is his lack of familiarity with this team.

“Here’s what’s hard for the Cowboys, because Andy Dalton’s a proven veteran player. He’s had some good years in Cincinnati,” Mitchell said. “He did a good job under some really difficult circumstances. The challenge he has is he hasn’t had a lot of time to really grasp a new system. If Andy Dalton’s been in his system for a while and then he’s asked to go in there, it’s a much easier transition. All he’s relying on now is my knowledge and experience as a professional football player. I’m not I don’t have that grasp and that comfort level.”

Dalton coming in and beating the Giants based on just his talent is a good start, but a bigger issue could be how well he knows the playbook. With this being his first year in Dallas, Dalton has not had the luxury to master this Cowboys offense. His skill set will help offset any uncertainties with knowing the plays but it will take some time for Dalton to nail these down and that is the next step in his progression with this team.

“There was no preseason. There weren’t any organized team activities in the offseason. So, he didn’t have the opportunity to really hone in on what’s going on,” Mitchell added. “So, that’s a process that’s going to take place over time. Fortunately for Andy Dalton and the Cowboys, they are in a really poor division, so he doesn’t have to be a superstar out of the gate or even probably at any point and the Cowboys probably win that division.”

Being in the league for a decade, Dalton should be able to pick up the offense. He has an extra day this week to prepare for the Monday night game at home against a decent Arizona Cardinals team. After that, it is back-to-back games against NFC East teams Washington and Philadelphia and those games should allow for ample opportunities to learn the playbook to perfection and also rack up some wins in their division.

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Lesson Learned From Dallas Cowboys: Invest In Reliable Backup QBs