Ben DiNucci

Ben DiNucci

Quarterback #7
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Ht / Wt:6'3" / 210 lb.
College:James Madison
Born:November 24, 1996
Drafted:2020 / Rd. 7 (231)
Draft Team:DAL

Ben DiNucci: Makes start as rookie

DiNucci completed 23 of 43 passes for 219 yards without a touchdown or interception over three appearances for the Cowboys in 2020.

Analysis: A seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft, DiNucci was the third of four Dallas quarterbacks to get a start in the disappointing campaign, getting his chance after Dak Prescott (ankle) and Andy Dalton (concussion) both went down. Predictably the rookie looked completely overmatched in his Week 8 start against the Eagles, and he was replaced under center the following week by Garrett Gilbert and subsequently lost the No. 2 job after Dalton recovered. Assuming Prescott is back in 2021, DiNucci could need a big showing in training camp to even win the backup job with the Cowboys next season.

January 16, 2021 8:43 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Healthy scratch Sunday

DiNucci (coach's decision) is officially inactive for Sunday's game versus Pittsburgh, Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News reports.

Analysis: The rookie seventh-round pick received the start last week but wasn't even in the conversation to start again Week 9 with Andy Dalton (concussion) testing positive for COVID-19. DiNucci completed 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards with zero touchdowns and two interception. Garrett Gilbert will start at quarterback Sunday, while Cooper Rush was elevated from the practice squad to serve as the backup.

November 8, 2020 12:22 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Not in discussion for Week 9 start

DiNucci won't start Sunday's game against the Steelers, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Andy Dalton (concussion) tested positive for COVID-19 earlier Tuesday, paving the way for DiNucci to get another start. Instead, first practice squad member Cooper Rush and then reserve Garrett Gilbert have been tossed out as the competitors to lead the Cowboys offense this weekend. Assuming one of those two gets the nod, DiNucci's one-game sample as a starter will read 21-for-40 passing for 180 yards, two lost fumbles and five carries for 22 yards.

November 3, 2020 2:04 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Expected to start again Sunday

DiNucci is expected to start Sunday's game versus the Steelers following news that Andy Dalton (concussion) was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Dalton won't be able to return by Sunday, so DiNucci is in line for a second straight start. His start against the Eagles this past Sunday was ugly, as he completed 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards (4.5 yards per attempt) and no touchdowns. He didn't throw an interception, but he was sacked four times and lost two fumbles. The rookie's matchup this week will be even tougher, as the Steelers lead the league with 30 sacks and rank second with 13 turnovers through seven games.

November 3, 2020 11:03 AM EST

Ben DiNucci: Fails to seize opportunity

DiNucci completed 21 of 40 pass attempts for 180 yards, no touchdowns and two lost fumbles in Sunday's 23-9 loss to the Eagles.

Analysis: DiNucci received the first start of his career, but was given a rude awakening by the Eagles' defensive unit. The 2020 seventh-round pick did not get any help from his battered and bruised offensive line, as it appeared he was under duress just moments after receiving the snap. The handful of times DiNucci received a clean pocket, he proved to be indecisive and held on to the ball too long (four sacks). The rookie was blunt during the post-game presser, stating that "this NFL thing; it's hard." Nothing appeared to come easy for anybody on Dallas' offense, so a potential Week 9 return for veteran backup Andy Dalton (concussion) would be a welcome one. Fantasy managers probably saw enough from DiNucci to steer clear if he is forced to make another start Sunday, especially considering one of the league's top defensive units waits on deck in the form of a home matchup against the Steelers.

November 2, 2020 1:05 AM EST

Ben DiNucci: Confirmed starter for Sunday night

DiNucci has officially been named the starting quarterback for Sunday's game versus the Eagles following news that Andy Dalton (concussion) has been ruled out, Todd Archer of ESPN reports.

Analysis: DiNucci likely wasn't expecting to get much playing time behind Dalton and Dak Prescott (ankle) this year, but he'll be counted on Sunday night in a crucial divisional tilt. The Cowboys' offensive line should see some improvement from last week's loss against Washington, as starters Zach Martin (concussion) and Joe Looney (knee) will both be active. The tackle positions will still be filled by backups, though, which is a major concern after DiNucci was sacked on three of six dropbacks last week. Perhaps a full week of first-team reps can warrant a better outing for DiNucci, and having a stacked set of wide receivers doesn't hurt either.

October 31, 2020 6:54 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Expected to start Sunday night

With Andy Dalton (concussion) listed as doubtful, DiNucci is expected to get the start Sunday night in Philadelphia, Jon Machota of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: The rookie seventh-round pick won't lack for receiving weapons, but he will be playing behind a shaky O-line against an above-average Eagles pass rush. DiNucci looked overwhelmed when he replaced Dalton in last week's 25-3 loss to Washington, taking sacks on three of his six dropbacks.

October 30, 2020 12:43 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Early frontrunner for Week 8 start

DiNucci took all the Cowboys' first-team reps at quarterback during practices Wednesday and Thursday, Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News reports.

Analysis: While Dallas hasn't ruled out Andy Dalton (concussion) from starting this weekend in Philadelphia, the signal-caller has been a non-participant in the first two practices of Week 8. According to Gehlken, Dalton's involvement in Dallas' quarterback meeting Thursday morning marks a step forward for the veteran as he navigates the concussion protocol, but he'll almost certainly need to get some on-field reps in Friday to have a shot at playing against the Eagles. Barring a major turnaround in Dalton's condition in the next day, DiNucci looks poised to make his first career start Sunday after he played 12 snaps in relief of the concussed Dalton in last week's loss to Washington. At this time, little buzz has emerged suggesting that the Cowboys plan to a more experienced option at the position beyond journeyman Garrett Gilbert, who was recently poached from Cleveland's practice squad and would serve as the clear No. 2 behind DiNucci.

October 29, 2020 11:14 AM EST

Ben DiNucci: Struggles as injury replacement

DiNucci completed 2 of 3 pass attempts for 39 yards during Sunday's 25-3 loss to Washington.

Analysis: DiNucci entered the game after Andy Dalton (concussion) took a shot to the head in the second half and struggled against a ferocious defensive front. He managed a 32-yard completion to Amari Cooper and another short gain but also took three sacks and was fortunate to not fumble the ball away on two occasions. The rookie hardly seems ready to lead an NFL offense at this point, so it's likely the team looks outside the organization for a starter if Dalton is unable to play next Sunday night against the Eagles.

October 25, 2020 1:51 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Locked in as No. 2 option

Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Thursday that DiNucci is the top backup to Andy Dalton, Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News reports.

Analysis: McCarthy said that he's "concerned" about DiNucci's preparation, now that the rookie seventh-round pick is a mere injury to Dalton away from being thrust into the starting lineup. The James Madison product threw for 3,441 yards and 29 scores in 2019 while adding 569 yards and seven scores on the ground.

October 15, 2020 2:40 PM EST

Ben DiNucci: Could be thrust into backup role

DiNucci could find himself as the Cowboys' No. 2 quarterback following the season-ending ankle injury to Dak Prescott.

Analysis: Andy Dalton will take over as the starting QB for Dallas, but that leaves a vacancy in the backup spot. DiNucci, a seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft, has yet to be active on game day, and if the coaching staff feels he's not yet ready to handle NFL action, the Cowboys could look to sign a veteran free agent to fill the No. 2 job. Until another quarterback joins the roster and gets up to speed on the playbook, however, DiNucci figures to be the backup, even if only by default.

October 12, 2020 7:42 AM EST

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