Jan 8, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones answers questions during a press conference at Ford Center at the Star. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jones: Broncos’ QB situation not worse than what Cowboys faced

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones likely raised a few eyebrows when comparing his team’s quarterback situation to that of the Denver Broncos.

The Broncos lost 31-3 on Sunday to the New Orleans Saints with practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback. Starter Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien and practice squad member Blake Bortles were forced to quarantine after they were ruled to have had close contact with quarterback Jeff Driskel, who tested positive for the virus last Thursday.

Hinton completed 1 of 9 passes for 13 yards and two interceptions against the Saints.

“I don’t know that Denver had any more of a challenge than we’ve had with (Ben) DiNucci or with the young quarterbacks that we’ve had,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 FM the Fan in Dallas. “And, by the way, two or three of those (Broncos) quarterbacks will be back from the (reserve/COVID-19 list).”

The Cowboys have been forced to use a quarterback carousel after Dak Prescott sustained a season-ending ankle injury in a 37-34 victory against the New York Giants on Oct. 11. When backup Andy Dalton was forced out of two games because of a concussion and COVID-19, Dallas put Garrett Gilbert under center, as well as rookie seventh-round pick DiNucci, who completed 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards in a 23-9 loss to Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

Jones also took issue with the Broncos quarterbacks reportedly not wearing masks as required when they were together. Lock has since apologized for letting his guard down.

“Boy, we have been schooled in the NFL — the teams have been schooled (by COVID-19),” Jones said. “You had really better pay attention to your protocols. You better manage. Don’t just give it lip service.

“Don’t just roll your eyes back and say, ‘That happens to them. That doesn’t happen to me.’ … And I don’t mean to be trite about it, but that happens in football. Better be ready to have somebody come in there. All teams are advised that do logical things relative to separation, relative to having your players available when you got COVID challenge and do those things — because it could make a difference in scoring points or make a difference in how you defend somebody.

“That’s part of coaching. That’s part of managing the game.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 25, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the ball as Washington Football Team nose tackle Daron Payne (94) defends in the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dalton still in concussion protocol

The Dallas Cowboys were hoping they would only have to rely on rookie Ben DiNucci for one spot start, but Andy Dalton is not yet ready to return to practice, coach Mike McCarthy said Monday.

Dalton missed the Cowboys’ 23-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday after he sustained a head injury on an illegal hit from Washington linebacker Jon Bostic in Week 7.

“Andy hasn’t officially cleared the protocol,” McCarthy said. “Once we make it through that, we’ll announce it to you.”

Dallas owner Jerry Jones previously stated that he hoped to have Dalton back in the lineup in time for the Cowboys’ visit from the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday.

Dallas (2-6) averaged 32.6 points per game with Dak Prescott at the helm before Prescott sustained a season-ending leg injury during a Week 5 win against the New York Giants.

In the three games since Prescott’s injury, the Cowboys have netted a combined 22 points.

Dalton, 33, struggled after taking over for Prescott. On the season, he has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 452 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in four games, two starts, this season.

DiNucci, who finished his college career at James Madison, hit on 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards in his first NFL start against the Eagles. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass or an interception but lost a pair of fumbles and was sacked four times.

Dallas remains in the hunt in the lackluster NFC East, where it trails Philadelphia by 1 1/2 games for the division lead. But fixing the stagnant offense won’t be easy without the regular QB, McCarthy said.

“No. 1, it starts with Dak,” McCarthy said. “Anytime an offense loses its starting quarterback … I mean, he was playing at a high level.”

–Field Level Media