Going into the season, one of the biggest questions for the Cowboys has been the role of the backup quarterback.
Last season, the Cowboys had seemingly one of the better backups in the league in Andy Dalton. After seeing Dalton in action, the Cowboys appear to have changed their minds, though.
With Dalton now plying his trade in Chicago, here's a look at why the Dallas Cowboys need to shore up their QB room heading into the 2021 NFL season.
Dallas Cowboys need a philosophy shift
Last season, the Cowboys had one of the best backup QBs in the league in Andy Dalton.
Dalton had playoff experience, and has had breakout seasons in the past. The Cowboys figured they should spare no expense constructing the team. However, Dalton was not as impressive when he was called upon in 2020 after the injury to Dak Prescott.
In 2020, Dalton went 4-5 as the starter, throwing for 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In a vacuum, those numbers aren't bad for a backup quarterback. However, the Cowboys finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs. They essentially ended up with inferior draft stock with the half-in, half-out approach.
That could have made the Cowboys think that getting a backup quarterback is pointless, as he is unlikely to drag a roster to the playoffs. In the event of a long-term injury to the starting quarterback, the season is basically over anyway. So they could be thinking they might as well focus on getting the best rookie possible next season.
Following that philosophy, the Cowboys decided to roll into 2021 with three third-string level quarterbacks in Garrett Gilbert, Cooper Rush and Ben DiNucci. However, the Cowboys may be failing to realize that a quality backup could win more critical games than a practice-squad level quarterback.
While a better backup quarterback may run the risk of winning extra pointless games, leading to worse draft position later, the chances of missing the playoffs due to losing games with low-quality backups are too high as well.
Gilbert, Rush and DiNiucci are coming off a preseason game in which they combined for three points. In combination with last year's struggles with DiNucci and Gilbert's brief appearances, it is clear the trio is not the solution to their woes. Put simply, if they need to hop into any game, the Cowboys will likely be in trouble.
Whether it's through a trade or snagging someone through waivers, the Cowboys will need to pick up a new backup quarterback by the start of 2021. If not, even a two-week absence for Dak Prescott could result in missing the playoffs.