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Jerry Jones: Ben DiNucci's first NFL start as Cowboys QB was 'more than he could handle'

Liz Roscher
·2-min read

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took an optimistic tone about his team’s 23-9 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. During his weekly interview on Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan, he said his team played better in general despite the final result of the game.

It wouldn’t be a Jerry interview without some brutal honesty, though, and he saved some of it for rookie quarterback Ben DiNucci. The 2020 seventh-round draft pick, who was pressed into service following Dak Prescott’s injury and Andy Dalton’s concussion, made his NFL debut against the Eagles on Sunday. Jones didn’t mince words when he was asked for his thoughts on DiNucci’s first game.

“Well, I think it was a lot for him,” Jones said. “I think we certainly, as a team, paid the price to have him come in under those circumstances, and that’s almost trite. It was, frankly, more than he could handle. I don’t know what you could have expected for somebody to come in under those circumstances.”

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci (7) is hit by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (55) and fumbles the football during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci fumbled twice and was sacked four times in his first career start in the NFL. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

DiNucci’s first start was rough; next up for him: Steelers

Jones’ words might not be the most encouraging, but they’re true. DiNucci’s first career start did not go well. He completed 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards on Sunday night, and didn’t throw a touchdown. He managed to avoid throwing an interception, a miracle considering how close he came several times, but he fumbled twice and got sacked four times.

As far as the circumstances surrounding DiNucci’s first start, it’s not like the expectations for the Cowboys are high. Prescott is out, running back Ezekiel Elliott is struggling, and the defense leaks like a sieve. Even against the hapless, struggling Eagles, the Cowboys were merely expected to not embarrass themselves.

DiNucci is slated to make another unexpected start on Sunday as Dalton was placed on the COVID-reserve list on Tuesday which will keep him sidelined.

It’s not going to get any easier in Week 9 for DiNucci when he faces an actually competent team, the 7-0 Pittsburgh Steelers.

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