The Cowboys situation
Dallas has two quarterbacks out of action at the moment. Dak Prescott is gone at least for this season as a result of a horrific injury to his ankle and lower leg. His backup, Andy Dalton is now in the COVID-19 protocol and expected to miss another week. This comes after Dalton had already missed last week’s game after being knocked of the Week 7 contest against Washington by a brutal illegal hit to the head from linebacker Jon Bostic as Dalton was sliding to give himself up on a short scramble.
That leaves the Cowboys coaches looking at Ben DiNucci, who started and led the Cowboys to 9 points against the Eagles this past Sunday night, or Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert. Reports out of Dallas indicate that the decision has already been made that DiNucci won’t be the one who is sent out as the sacrifice when the Cowboys host the undefeated Steelers this week, though, in truth, it probably doesn’t matter who lines up behind center against the Pittsburgh defense.
This will be interesting: Sounds like the #Cowboys are leaning towards Garrett Gilbert as their starter after considering all options. But they want to see how Coooper Rush and GIlbert handle practice reps https://t.co/HeJTHlsjQL— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 3, 2020
Here’s what Blogging the Boys had to say about the QB “battle” this week:
Shortly after Dak Prescott went down after Week 4 the Dallas Cowboys poached a quarterback off of the Cleveland Browns practice squad in Garrett Gilbert. They chose to roll with DiNucci over Gilbert last week in Philadelphia, but given the status of Dalton they will have to choose between them yet again and it seems like they have a preference. Dallas is reportedly leaning in Gilbert’s direction.
The Cowboys do have a third option at quarterback in Cooper Rush who they recently signed to the practice squad. Rush has familiarity, certainly more than anyone else, in Kellen Moore’s offense, but it’s not like that is going to be some massive tiebreaker at this point.
Garrett Gilbert was a big-time player in the briefly-lived Alliance of American Football so he has done it at a level that is at least relatively close to the NFL before.
It’s going to be quite the week.
You get the feeling that these are difficult and unprecedented times in Dallas as they look to an AAF star to help them run a battered and injured offense. They put me in mind of the scramble that took place in Washington in 2018 when the team went from Alex Smith to Colt McCoy to Mark Sanchez to Josh Johnson. I mean, when you’re on your fourth quarterback in 9 games in the same season, you know things have gone off the rails.
The Giants situation
In theory, the Giants should be okay. After all, they are starting the guy that they picked at #6 overall in the draft last year — the guy who pushed Eli Manning into retirement — Danny Dimes.
But questions are being asked in New York about Daniel Jones.
Has Joe Judge considered benching Daniel Jones?— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) November 3, 2020
I mean, it’s wonderful that Joe Judge backed his quarterback with his monosyllabic response, but the fact that the question of benching Daniel Jones is being asked is a huge red flag about his performance.
Jones took over as the starting quarterback for his team in Week 3 last year against, coincidentally, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who were then quarterbacked by Jameis Winston. In 14 starts last year, Jones’ team was 4-10, with three victories coming against the Dolphins and Redskins — two of the worst teams in the league. This season, his team is 1-7 in his 8 starts, with the sole win being a 1-point victory against a struggling Washington team.
But it’s not just the 5-17 record that is troubling. Let’s see what Big Blue View is saying about their franchise quarterback at the moment:
Giants’ second-year quarterback Daniel Jones had two crushing, and inexcusable, second-half interceptions on Monday night. Both were on balls that either should never have been thrown or, if they were, should have been thrown far out of harm’s way rather than to a spot where they could turn disastrous. Which is exactly what they did.
If you want to say this loss falls squarely on Jones’ shoulders, I’m not going to argue with you.
The first interception wasted a 45-yard Dion Lewis kickoff return on the opening play of the second half. The second came when the Giants, clinging to a two-point lead, had driven into Tampa Bay territory looking for a score that would make it a two point game.
The two interceptions wrecked Giants’ scoring opportunities, and led directly to 10 Tampa Bay points.
Sadly, we have seen this mistake — not being able to quit on a play, throw a ball away or just take a sack and live for the next play — over and over from Jones this season.
Jones does so many good things. Monday, he often delivered the ball quickly and accurately on short throws. He threw a beautiful pass to Dion Lewis for a 7-yard touchdown. His 19-yard scoring pass to Golden Tate with :28 left could not have been thrown better.
Yet, the unforced interceptions continue. Jones now has 21 interceptions in 20 career starts.
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said this about Jones:
“You know the young QB, he’s still trying to do too much ... It cost them basically the ball game throwing those two picks. But God bless him, he is hard to handle, and he’s a kid that thinks he can make a play.”
The Giants faithful are openly discussing the possibility of going back to the quarterback tree in the 2021 draft if Jones can’t demonstrate some professional growth in the coming weeks.
Jones said “the communication’s clear, the coaching’s clear” that he has to be better at “preventing the big mistake.”
“I’ve gotta do a better job applying it,” he said.
If he can’t — soon — it’s fair to wonder if the Giants will be back in the quarterback market this offseason. I am far from ready to say they need to be, but the repetitive nature of the mistakes from Jones is alarming and makes the question of whether or not he will ultimately become the long-term answer at quarterback one that needs to be asked.
Clearly the bloom has come off the rose a bit since that initial heady victory over Tampa Bay in Week 3 last year when the Giants rookie quarterback was christened with the worst nickname in professional sports. While Joe Judge’s job isn’t in jeopardy, Dave Gettleman’s very well could be, and it’s fair to wonder if Jones could get the RG3/Dwayne Haskins treatment in New York. If he were to be benched, the “next man up” on the Giants roster would be our old friend, Colt McCoy, which is a strong argument for Judge to keep playing Jones for the balance of the season, win or lose.
The Eagles situation
On pure physical talent, the Eagles should be sitting pretty with former 2nd overall pick, Carson Wentz, leading the offense.
But Wentz has been suffering from some of the same issues that have plagued Daniel Jones; that is, he’s been trying to play “hero ball” in an effort to extend plays well beyond the point at which he should be giving them up. The result has been sacks, turnovers and penalties that have led to losses for this Eagles team.
The two guys in the NFC East that have started every game for their respective teams in 2020 are ranked #1 and #3 in interceptions — the bad way. Carson Wentz leads the league with 12, while Danny Dimes has 9 (our old friend, Kirk Cousins is 2nd overall with 10).
The same two guys are both in the top-5 in fumbles (Wentz has 7, tied for 2nd; Jones has 5; tied for 5th). Wentz and Jones are also tied for worst in the league in fumbles lost, with 4 each.
Here’s the NBC Sports Philadelphia take on Carson Wentz and his 2020 struggles:
Anybody who watched this game is going to come away with one conclusion: Something is terribly wrong with Carson Wentz, something he and his coaches can’t seem to fix.
Just when you think he’s turned the corner … this happens.
And against this pathetic Cowboys defense, it can’t happen.
[I]f they can’t solve the Carson problem, nothing else really matters.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Carson Wentz goes out and does this. Two interceptions, two fumbles, countless brutal decisions.
Think about this: The Cowboys had forced three turnovers ALL YEAR. Wentz committed four before the third quarter was three minutes old. He became the first QB since Jameis Winston in 2016 with four turnovers against the Cowboys and only the fourth since 2000.
Yeah, he made some throws on that game-winning drive, good for him. But I’m tired of writing about how Wentz overcame a brutal start to rally the Eagles to a win. Do that against the Ravens or Steelers and I’ll be impressed. Against the Giants? Against the Cowboys??? Please. He’s ranged from brutal to mediocre this year, and this one was squarely in the brutal category. This was as bad as he’s ever played for a full game, and that last TD drive doesn’t change that.
Carson Wentz up to 55 career fumbles in 64 games. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 2, 2020
Wentz isn’t even paying attention to his protection assignment. He has plenty of time to see “his” guy pressured and throw the ball to multiple open guys pic.twitter.com/azY5Dpm3W1— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 2, 2020
Consider this from Bleeding Green Nation:
Wentz really struggled with accuracy issues in training camp. I wasn’t sure if that would actually carry over to the regular season but sure enough it did. Wentz was truly horrendous through his first few games. At the time that Dwayne Haskins got benched, Wentz ranked worse than Washington’s quarterback in a number of key stats.... He’s still falling short of where he ideally needs to be to justify the contract that makes him the 8th highest paid quarterback on an annual basis.
The worst QB of week 8, statistically, was Carson Wentz.— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) November 5, 2020
Good for him that the Eagles faced the 2nd worst QB of week 8. https://t.co/nIfkq8ejYj
The Washington Football Team situation
Having benched starter Dwayne Haskins after an inconsistent September start to the 2020 season, Ron Rivera and Scott Turner are now reliant on Kyle Allen. The third-year player had a rocky beginning in his first start for Washington, turning the ball over twice against the Giants, but had a good drive to end the game.
Allen threw a beautiful pass into the left corner of the end zone that Cam Sims caught for six points, giving Washington the chance to tie and possibly go into overtime, or win with a successful 2-point conversion. This was the kind of touchdown pass the team had been looking for all season.
Cam Sims touchdown, but the 2-point conversion is no good. Giants still up 20-19. #WASvsNYG #WashingtonFootball pic.twitter.com/eiMe1YL9Fw— 106.7 The Fan (@1067theFan) October 18, 2020
Allen built on that final drive a week later against Dallas. throwing two touchdowns with no turnovers against the Dallas Cowboys.
The first score showed the deep-ball touch that Dwayne Haskins had struggled with and which the previous week’s TD throw to Cam Sims had hinted at. It was a Terry McLaurin special:
Terry McLaurin 52-yard touchdown! #WashingtonFootball up 15-3. #DALvsWAS pic.twitter.com/wKLYA5BG7x— 106.7 The Fan (@1067theFan) October 25, 2020
In back-to-back games then, Allen provided a certain amount of calm leadership and demonstrated some of the passing accuracy that had been missing prior to these two touchdowns.
People have noticed. Here’s the Washington Post talking about Kyle Allen a week ago:
Allen took more shots and had more success throwing the ball downfield than in his previous two [games]. In the second quarter, he connected with McLaurin on a 52-yard touchdown after the second-year wideout burned Dallas rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs. Allen, who also had a 26-yard completion to tight end Logan Thomas and a 22-yard completion to wide receiver Cam Sims, finished 15 of 25 for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
Most importantly, Allen took care of the ball after he committed two costly turnovers in last week’s loss to the New York Giants. McLaurin was his favorite target Sunday, with a team-high seven catches for 90 yards.
This Sunday, Kyle Allen will have a rematch against Daniel Jones and the New York Giants - this time at home, with Washington showing up rested after a bye week and the G-men coming in on a short week after a disheartening loss to Tampa Bay at home on Monday night.
Both the Washington Football Team and its quarterback are riding high after a good showing against Dallas and are looking for a third home win inside the division — this time with some paying fans in the stands. The opportunity is there for Kyle Allen and his teammates to build credibility and establish themselves as a relevant NFL team this season.
Current NFC East standings
Which NFC starting quarterback is playing the best at the moment?
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the guy in Dallas