The Dallas Cowboys are in the midst of finding the new backup quarterback to start off the Dak Prescott era, and so far it appears the winner is none other than former Central Michigan quarterback Cooper Rush.
Cooper Rush is getting second team reps in practice. Is it happening?— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) August 21, 2017
Rush, brought in as an undrafted free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft, wasn’t expected to be much more than a camp arm, especially with proven backups Luke McCown and Kellen Moore competing for reps.
But Rush has brought the heat in three preseason appearances for the Cowboys, racking up some impressive numbers while looking poised against second-and-third team players. In last week’s game against Indianapolis, he led a 14-point comeback rally to seal the game in the waning moments for Dallas while going 8-of-9 passing with a 148.8 passer rating.
Rush has gone 26-of-38 for 283 passing yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions, avoiding a sack and sustaining a passer rating of 125.2 over three appearances.
Rush has looked calm and collected on the gridiron thus far, as shown in this rainbow to Noah Brown against the LA Rams that brought Rush to the national forefront.
Currently, he’s battling Moore and McCown for the backup quarterback spot, neither of whom have looked particularly good. Moore has gone 30-of-55 for 382 yards, one touchdown and one interception with primarily first half reps over three games, while McCown has only played in one game, going six-of-13 for 31 yards, two fumbles and being sacked once.
The Dallas News has recently brought the battle to the fore with a compare-and-contrast profile and there’s been a lot of chatter about whether or not Moore, who has been on the Dallas roster as a backup over the last two seasons, is up to the task.
Even despite Rush’s success, it could still be very hard to make it to the 53-man active roster. Moore already knows the playbook and is a favorite of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who has worked with Moore since their days in Detroit.
It’s rare for teams to take on three quarterbacks nowadays, even on an emergency basis, especially with rosters being as small as they currently stand.
It’s also a big risk to take on an undrafted free agent as a primary backup, especially for a team with the microscope that the Dallas Cowboys have over them. Granted, this is the same franchise that signed Tony Romo undrafted out of Eastern Illinois University, but it’s rare, if not near impossible to strike on a UDFA quarterback twice.
Even with that in mind, Rush has quickly developed a rapport amongst his teammates and those around Dallas, including the team’s starting quarterback Dak Prescott and its star tight end Jason Witten, who compared him to Romo.
The Cowboys have two games left in the preseason, which leaves plenty of time for Rush to make an impression on Jason Garrett and the rest of the coaching staff. Time will tell how he develops as an NFL prospect, but for now, things are looking good for the former four-year starter at CMU.
Dallas’ next scheduled game is on Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. CST at home against the Oakland Raiders.