Report: Cowboys place Andy Dalton on Reserve/COVID-19 list originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Dallas Cowboys placed quarterback Andy Dalton on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, ESPN's Todd Archer first reported.
The Dallas Cowboys will be without quarterback Andy Dalton for a second straight game but not because of the concussion he sustained two weeks ago. Dalton will be placed on the reserve/COVID 19 list on Tuesday, which will knock him out of Sunday’s game... https://t.co/126lxlBS2k
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) November 3, 2020
The designation will make Dalton unavailable for Dallas' Week 9 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The veteran quarterback had missed Week 8 as he was in concussion protocol after he took a dangerous hit from Washington linebacker Jon Bostic in Week 7.
Dalton, however, was progressing on the right track and could have been available for Sunday's game if he cleared all concussion tests. Yet now he will be absent from another contest due to his placement on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
It is unclear at this time whether Dalton tested positive for the coronavirus or was in close contact with someone who tested positive. Both scenarios require a team to place a player on the reserve list.
With Dalton out once again, the Cowboys could turn to rookie Ben DiNucci to make his second consecutive start. The 2020 seventh-round pick out of James Madison University threw for 180 yards in his first career start against the Eagles in Week 8.
Yet, Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken noted that DiNucci may not automatically become the starter. Dallas moved up fourth-year pro Cooper Rush to the practice squad last week, and his experience in the system could lead the Cowboys to consider him as an alternative.
It's not a forgone conclusion that QB Ben DiNucci, a Pittsburgh native, will start vs. Steelers, given the rookie seventh-round pick's struggles in first start. Cooper Rush just joined practice squad, but he's spent more time with OC Kellen Moore. At very least, decision to make. https://t.co/LLiBuQjaoP
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 3, 2020
Garrett Gilbert is the other quarterback on the depth chart.
The Cowboys enter Week 9 at 2-6 and third in the NFC East. Though poor play throughout the division has kept them in the race for the title, the window of opportunity to climb in the standings is shrinking. After losing Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury earlier in the campaign, not having Dalton for another week will only make the task more challenging.