Cooper Rush proved the Dallas Cowboys right, at least in Week 2, when the team’s backup quarterback led the offense to a game-winning scoring drive to upset the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite much speculation that the Cowboys might add another quarterback, the front office elected to stick with Rush and Will Grier while Dak Prescott recovers from thumb surgery.
After the Cowboys’ win, owner Jerry Jones made one thing clear: Rush’s play validated the team’s decision not to field an outside quarterback. More importantly, Jones stressed that Rush’s performance will not affect Prescott’s return schedule.
There’s no quarterback controversy in Dallas because the team’s $160 million signal caller will pull on as soon as he can grab the ball, according to Jones. The Cowboys have no plans to exonerate Prescott if Rush continues to play at a high level.
“Jerry Jones said that Cooper Rush’s efforts will not change Dak Prescott’s timeline.” Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News tweeted on September 18th. “Jones said if Prescott is able to grab a football that will start the process of his return.”
After Prescott’s injury, Jones repeatedly expressed his confidence in Rush when the team decided not to take another step. But Jones, in a moment of candidness, admitted that Rush had even exceeded his expectations.
“He exceeded my expectations” Jerry told USA Today’s Jory Epstein after the win in week 2. “Rush’s performance out here certainly takes a lot of the anxiety off of him.”
Before the matchup against the Bengals, Jones caused a stir by stressing the team had no plans to trade for another quarterback. Jones’ comments came a day after head coach Mike McCarthy noted the team was going through the list of available signal callers. Rush started the season on the team’s practice squad, but Dallas signed the quarterback to the 53-man roster on the eve of the Cowboys-Bengals showdown.
“The people who are willing to play quarterback for us are the ones who played all preseason: Cooper Rush and [Will] Grier,” Jones explained during an interview on 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan and RJ” on September 13, 2022, “They had real competition. Grier was slowed down there at the end with a hamstring problem but he should get through that now. So we took a lot of good snaps for these guys, both in our training sessions and for the most part in all preseason games.
“These guys know the offensive well, have had a lot of repetitions in it and consequently give us our best. It’s unlikely that since we don’t have a potential trade pending — not pending, but in the mill — it’s unlikely that you have a veteran quarterback who could come back here and be ready to play as well as these guys can play , even if you thought you might have a talent advantage.”
The Cowboys are laying out a potentially aggressive return schedule for Prescott, which is a key reason the quarterback was not placed on the injured reserve list. Dallas thinks Prescott could potentially return as early as Week 4 against the Eagles at “Sunday Night Football” on Pro Football Talk.