Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones: Andy Dalton to resume starting role when cleared

Garrett Gilbert surprised more than a few people with his performance Sunday, but it won’t earn him the starting job in Dallas as long as Andy Dalton is available.

Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones said as much Monday during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan, describing Gilbert’s performance as “a hell of a day,” in which he “moved the ball well.” Gilbert completed 21 of 38 passes for 243 yards and one touchdown but threw a late interception that killed Dallas’ chances of regaining the lead. On the final possession, Gilbert came up short, with his final attempt falling incomplete and preserving the Steelers’ comeback win.

It was good enough to nearly earn Dallas its third win of 2020, though not enough to usurp Dalton as the starter when all things are equal.

“When he’s cleared, we fully expect him to step in as our starter,” Jones said of Dalton, via the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken.

Dalton has missed time due to a concussion suffered in a loss to Washington and a positive COVID-19 test that kept him out of Sunday’s affair. Once he is activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list following adequate negative test results, he’ll be the man to take the field for the Cowboys.

As for the man leading them from the sideline, Jones was firm in his response when asked about Mike McCarthy’s future.

“Absolutely,” Jones said when asked if McCarthy would be the team’s coach in 2021. “Unequivocal.”

McCarthy was brought in to get the Cowboys over an increasingly steep hump that has seen talented Dallas teams fall short of the postseason in recent years. Instead, his Cowboys have regressed, winning just one game before losing Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury in a contest the Cowboys managed to pull out, and failing to record another victory since.

It’s not the performance anyone likely envisioned for the former Super Bowl-winning coach, but as Jones said Monday and as his father, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, has stated on multiple occasions, McCarthy’s job is not in danger. Neither is Dalton’s in 2020, provided he’s available to play.

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