Low expectations for, high confidence from Ben DiNucci

Mike Florio
·2 min read

Like Dak Prescott in 2016, a rookie quarterback will start for the Cowboys on Sunday. Unlike Prescott, not much is known about Ben DiNucci as he takes over the offense, if only for one game.

A seventh-rounder from James Madison who presumably is unrelated to former pro wrestler Dominic DeNucci (especially since it’s not spelled the same), DiNucci becomes the starter for Sunday Night Football against the Eagles due to the season-ending ankle fracture suffered by Prescott and the Week Seven concussion sustained by Andy Dalton.

His former head coach at JMU, Curt Cignetti, shared some insights with Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

“A guy with a lot of confidence, borderline cocky, a lot of energy,” Cignetti said. “He’s unflappable, he’s got an edge. He’s also got a lot of different releases like Philip Rivers. He’s smart, man, and he’s going to go in there with confidence. The biggest thing is, he’s not going to go in there with big eyes. He’s going to be jacked and ready to go.”

If DiNucci can play well, he’d be the most unlikely find at the position since Tony Romo arrived in 2003 as an undrafted free agent and quietly developed before suddenly becoming the starter in place of an ineffective late-career Drew Bledsoe.

“He’s been slinging that thing,” receiver Michael Gallup told reporters this week, via Rapoport.

Added linebacker Jaylon Smith, via James Palmer of NFL Media: “Slinger. Full of confidence. And that’s what I love. You see a fire in his eyes.”

Before DiNucci can sling it, he’ll need five guys in front of him who’ll fend off defenders long enough for DiNucci to find an open man. It also would be helpful if the line can help kick-start the running game, so that play-action will become a possibility for DiNucci.

Regardless, there’s a reason for optimism in the unknown that DiNucci brings to the table. Given the way things have been going for the Cowboys, the season can’t get much worse. Maybe there’s for hope that, starting tonight, things will start to get better.

Low expectations for, high confidence from Ben DiNucci originally appeared on Pro Football Talk