Thursday, October 6, 2022

Cowboys to release Ben DiNucci, choose between Cooper Rush and Will Grier for backup QB spot, per report

The Dallas Cowboys have quite a few matters to figure out on their offense heading into the Sept. 11 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Backup quarterback is one of them. 

Dallas added some clarity to the picture prior to final cuts, as Ben DiNucci will be released by the team prior to the 53-man roster deadline Tuesday, per ESPN. DiNucci, who played three games for the Cowboys as a rookie in 2020, completed 23 of 43 passes for 219 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The 2020 seventh-round pick spent the 2021 season on the practice squad and signed a reserve/futures contract with the team this offseason. DiNucci completed 16 of 27 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions this preseason.

Candidates for the Cowboys’ backup quarterback job will come down to Cooper Rush and Will Grier. Rush, the No. 2 quarterback last season, completed 17 of 31 passes for 136 yards with an interception (52.6 rating). He started all three preseason games for Dallas, while Grier relieved him and finished 18 of 32 for 186 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions (94.0 rating). 

Grier is making a push for the Cowboys’ backup quarterback job with a solid preseason. The Cowboys could risk losing him on waivers, which is why they’ll have to make a decision on the No. 2 quarterback this coming week. 

Rush has been the No. 2 quarterback in two separate stints in Dallas, the first in 2017 when he was promoted to the backup role in Week 6 of his rookie season (as an undrafted free agent). He had that role for three years before being released in 2020 when Dallas signed Andy Dalton, only to return in October of that year after the Giants released him from their practice squad. Rush won the No. 2 job again in 2021, but his seat is hot with competition from Grier. 

A third-round pick in 2019 by the Carolina Panthers, Grier made two starts in his rookie year and completed 28 of 52 passes for 228 yards with zero touchdowns and four interceptions (33.2 rating). He hasn’t played a regular season game since December of 2019 and spent two years with Carolina before being waived in 2021. 

Unless a prominent quarterback who had a strong preseason goes on the waiver wire this week, Rush or Grier are the Cowboys’ options at backup quarterback. Grier is convinced he did enough to be on the roster thanks to his strong preseason, which may be his last crack at an NFL roster. 

“I think with a greater sample size you’d be able to see more, but at the end of the day I put it all out there and that’s all I can do,” Grier said, via the Cowboys website. “A lot of it is just being present and focusing on what you control. And it sounds really simple. It sounds cliche, but really diving into that and being good at that makes a difference.”

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