The Dallas Cowboys have placed current starting quarterback Andy Dalton on the reserve/COVID-19 list, according to a report from Sports Illustrated. By doing so, he may have to miss his second straight game in the upcoming Week 9 competition against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. If Dalton is forced to sit out, Dallas' countless offensive struggles they have experienced throughout the year will most likely continue.
Dalton was promoted from backup to starter after Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the matchup against the New York Giants, and he required immediate surgery. After losing Prescott, head coach Mike McCarthy was still optimistic about the offense's ability to score under the direction of Dalton.
However, the TCU alum endured an aggressive hit to the head in the club's game against the Washington Football Team that left him with a concussion. Now, he is currently placed on the COVID-19 list, which does not necessarily mean that he has coronavirus. He may have been put on the list due to experiencing symptoms regarding his concussion. The Cowboys have not officially stated why he is on reserve.
After Dalton was injured, third-string quarterback Ben DiNucci was forced to be the leader of the offense, according to a report from CBS Sports. The rookie only threw for 180 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass in his first start as a Cowboy, causing the club to fall 23-9 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The squad's owner, Jerry Jones, understood DiNucci's poor performance and drew attention to the fact that the young NFL player was put in a rather difficult position.
"I think that it was a lot for him. I think we certainly, as a team, paid the price to have him come in and under those circumstances. And that's almost trite. It was frankly more than he could handle," Jones admitted in a radio interview after the loss.
Due to Dallas struggling to score without Prescott at quarterback, fans have begun to speculate whether or not McCarthy would take over calling the plays. The club has only averaged 7.3 points per game without the 27-year-old star, compared to the 32-point average they experienced with him on the field.
However, the veteran coach denied any possibility that he would take over for offensive coordinator Kellen Moore when asked by reporters.
"Absolutely not. That's a non-topic," he stated regarding the hypothetical situation.
The Cowboys are now considering starting Cooper Rush in the matchup against the Steelers in hopes of sparking some energy into the offense, according to a tweet from NFL analyst Ian Rapoport.