NFL Week 9: Dallas Cowboys to start QB Garrett Gilbert

Garrett Gilbert
Garrett Gilbert
Suryaraj Jain

Head coach Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys have made another change at the quarterback position.

When the Dallas Cowboys (2-6) face the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0) on Sunday in a Week 9 matchup, journeyman QB Garrett Gilbert will be starting in place of rookie Ben DiNucci, who got the start last week in a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was unclear in the beginning of the week whether DiNucci or Cooper Rush would be the backup for Gilbert, but DiNucci has been demoted to third-string as Rush moves to second-string on the Dallas Cowboys' depth chart.

To explain the change, McCarthy cited the need for someone with more experience to be under center, which makes sense considering the Pittsburgh Steelers have a tough defense and they are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFL this season.

In other words, DiNucci was so bad in last week's loss to the Eagles that it seemed inevitable the Dallas Cowboys would lose horribly to the Steelers if he kept the job. But considering the state of the Dallas Cowboys' injury-plagued offensive line and with their defense being unable to stop anyone all season, not much can be expected from DiNucci or from Gilbert, no matter who plays quarterback.

NFL Week 9: Gilbert's experience prior to the Dallas Cowboys

Nonetheless, Gilbert certainly has more experience in the NFL. He was drafted in the sixth round in 2014 out of SMU, beginning his pro career with the Los Angeles Rams (the St. Louis Rams at the time). Gilbert was on the Rams' practice squad, got cut, and landed on the New England Patriots' practice squad that season seaason.

Gilbert signed with the Detroit Lions for the 2015 season, but he got cut in training camp. He spent time with the Raiders, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns, mostly as a practice squad player. Gilbert did appear in six actual NFL games along the way. He's thrown three passes and completed two of them for 40 yards. He has yet to appear in a game for the Dallas Cowboys.

But Gilbert's best experience came playing in Alliance of American Football (AAF) in 2019, when he was the starting quarterback for the Orlando Apollos. Gilbert was a star quarterback in that league before the AAF suspended operations after Week 8 of their inaugural season. At the time, Gilbert was leading the league in passing yards, completions and total QB rating.

This will be Gilbert's first start in the NFL and with a lackluster Dallas Cowboys' offensive line to play behind, as well as with the possibility of star running back Ezekiel Elliot unavailable due to a hamstring injury, it will be interesting to see what he can get done.

Edited by Amaar Burton
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