Another one bites the dust.
What's with these Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks, their prized possessions, and they can't quite seem to keep them healthy.
Think about it, now losing QB1 Dak Prescott for the rest of the season with a compound fracture of the right ankle, along with a severe ankle dislocation, all immediately surgically repaired by Dr. Gene Curry Sunday evening after Dak was taken from AT&T Stadium straight into surgery?
Since the start of the 2015 season, the Cowboys have lost their starting quarterback to injury for ostensibly the season three times, and probably can say four times since Tony Romo was knocked out twice during that 2015 campaign.
Actually this string of misfortune began in Game 15 of the 2013 season with the Cowboys in the hunt for the NFC East title even at 7-7. But in that game at Washington, Romo led a gallant comeback for a 24-23 victory, but in doing so ruptured a disk in his lower back that required surgery later in the week. He would miss the winner-take-East Game 16 against Philadelphia, handing over to backup Kyle Orton in a showdown the Cowboys would lose at AT&T Stadium to Philadelphia, 24-22.
Then in 2015, in Game 2, Romo suffered a fractured collarbone. Romo would return for Games 10 and 11, but against Carolina on Thanksgiving, he broke his left collarbone again, turning the team over to an assortment of QBs, starting with Brandon Weeden, then a washed-up Matt Cassell and finally Kellen Moore that 4-12 season.
And we remember all too well in 2016, the Cowboys first losing the presumptive backup Moore in training camp, then Romo in preseason Game 3 for basically the season with a compression fracture of the vertebrae, with rookie Dak taking over to lead the Cowboys to a 13-3 record.
Now this: Dak gone four to six months with that gruesome injury in the third quarter against the Giants, with 10th-year veteran Andy Dalton now in charge for, the Cowboys hope, the final 11 games.
So, if we count Romo going down twice in 2015, again in 2016 and now Dak in 2020, that's four times in six seasons, plus Romo not able to finish that final game in 2013, and oh, let's not forget Romo first breaking that left collarbone in Game 6 against the Giants in 2010, Jon Kitna going 5-5 to the finish that year Wade Phillips was fired after the 1-7 start.
That now means five times over the last 11 seasons the Cowboys will have failed to finish the year with their starting quarterback standing, the Cowboys going 6-17 in those Romo-less years starting in 2010 until Dak went 13-3 for 2016.
Your shot now, Andy Dalton.
- Healthy Incentives: Two main reasons Dalton decided to almost immediately sign with the Cowboys this offseason on May 4, just a few days after being release the end of April: First, during the unknown of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a home in the Dallas area, Dalton figured the safest bet for his family would be to sign a one-year deal with the Cowboys, not having to move. Plus, after having earned $83.5 million in Cincinnati over his nine-year career, money at this point wasn't an option. He was just looking for a potential chance to jumpstart his career if getting an opportunity. So Dalton was willing to sign an incentive laced, one-year, $3 million guaranteed contract. But the first incentive, for an extra $1 million, he would need to start 50 percent of the offensive snaps for a playoff-bound Cowboys team. Check, he will have that opportunity. Then next incentive, play 35 percent of the regular-season snaps and 50 percent of the playoff snaps (which he would achieve if … ); then $500,00 for a first-round win; $500,000 for a second-round win; $750,000 for winning the NFC title; and finally a $1.25 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl. Knowing what we know about Dalton, he would have been equally committed, no matter the extra money at stake. Just a, uh, healthy bonus.
- One Less Headache: The Cowboys have a hard enough challenge trying to protect their quarterbacks with two undrafted offensive tackles now starting. But they won't have to worry about the Cardinals' Chandler Jones Monday night. Jones tore his right biceps in Sunday's game against the Jets and will undergo season-ending surgery. While Jones only had one sack and 11 tackles through four-plus games this year, his 19 sacks in 2019 was but a half-sack behind the NFL leader, Shaquil Barrett. Not having to worry about the Cards outside linebacker/defensive end will be one less headache for the Cowboys in trying to protect Dalton. The Cardinals currently have five players tied for the team's sack lead with two each, including Devon Kennard, former Cowboys offensive lineman Derek Kennard's son. Kennard is expected to return this week from a calf injury that caused him to miss the past two games.
- Duh-Law: Now that was the DeMarcus Lawrence the Cowboys have come to know and love, the top paid defensive player on the team not only registering his first sack of the season but piling up six QB pressures, moving his total to a team-high 17. Lawrence previously has played well against the run, but finally got his rush on against the Giants. Bothered previously by a balky knee, "D-Law" was able to play a season-high 47 snaps on Sunday, making his presence felt.
- Healthy Shots: Since the Cowboys finished the Giants game with just 49 guys on the 53-man roster, once they place Dak and Trysten Hill on injured reserve, they will have three open spots after adding depth with quarterback Garrett Gilbert on Tuesday… The Cowboys defense is moving on up, coming in at 30th last week in total defense, but now 27th after the Giants game, and since holding the Giants to just 89 yards rushing, moved from 31st to 27th in rushing defense … Naturally, since Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury is a native Texan, born in San Antonio, having gone to high school in New Braunfels and college at Texas Tech while spending 11 years coaching at Texas-based colleges, says he grew up a huge Cowboys fan, and claims his late mom Sally "was the biggest Cowboys fan ever," pointing out she used to call Troy Aikman "Troy Boy." … And just so you know what the Cowboys are up against Monday night, Allen's own Kyler Murray, the Arizona quarterback who has played multiple times at AT&T Stadium during his high school and college career, has just been named Week 5's NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
And the last word goes to the birthday boy, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turning 78 on Tuesday. And with that, here is some insight into Jerry's way of thinking when asked about what some folks consider his overly-optimistic, never-give-up nature during his radio segment on 105.3 The Fan: "I don't want to live on the other side of the track, the skeptic. And it's smart to be skeptical at times. I don't want to live over there. I'll stick my head, like an ostrich, I'll stick my head in the ground sometimes and avoid spending some time over on that ol' negative side or addressing things that by their very nature cause you to be negative. I don't like it over there, I run from it. I've had a lot of people who would say, I guess when I left the room so to speak, 'He's naïve.' I love the world of naivety. I want to be naïve. I've gotten to do some things that if I hadn't been naïve, if I hadn't been optimistic, I would have never been in that territory. And getting to be in that territory has caused me to be some things and do some things that I would have never done as more of a skeptic or more pragmatic."
There you go, a 78-year-old's words he lives by. Cut the cake.
The Cowboys are back at AT&T Stadium next Monday night, October 19th , to take on the Arizona Cardinals. A limited number of tickets starting at $89 are on sale now. Get yours now before they sell out!
Details on all of the health and safety procedures you can expect at AT&T Stadium this season can be viewed at www.DallasCowboys.com/safestadium.