Another Cowboys season, another quarterback controversy.
A year after Dak Prescott replaced an injured Tony Romo then held the veteran off with strong play, the Cowboys are figuring out who will play behind Prescott. Undrafted Central Michigan rookie Cooper Rush has wowed teammates in the preseason and is threatening to take the backup job away from Kellen Moore.
“Certainly,” Jason Witten told the Dallas Morning News when asked if Rush reminds him of Romo.
“The guy just has that play-making ability. He’s a quiet, smart kid. He’s played a lot of football in his career, being a four-year starter. Just think how far he’s come from OTAs to now. There’s just something about a quarterback who can come in and make plays, much like we experienced when I was young with Tony.”
Rush has seemingly improved with each preseason game: 9-for-18, 87 yards, one touchdown vs. the Cardinals; 9-for-11, 104 yards, one touchdown vs. the Rams; and 8-for-9, 92 yards, two touchdowns vs. the Colts. While Rush has grown, Moore has been inconsistent. Though owner and general manager Jerry Jones has continued to back Moore publicly, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported that his performance has become a topic of conversation among the team’s decision-makers.
“I’m just glad to see Rush taking advantage of his opportunities out there,” Jones told the Telegram of Moore, who has completed 30-of-55 passes for 382 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“Wouldn’t want to get ahead of ourselves in any way here. And the other thing is that we still have a lot of confidence in 17 [Moore], his ability to be able to get in there when we would call on him with the personnel around him and get the ball in the right places. Make no mistake about it, that Rush, it just gets slow when he gets out there. That’s a compliment. I think Dak’s got it really slowed down. So to say that it’s slow and looks like he’s getting them open.”
It could be the second year in a row that the Cowboys struck gold in an unheralded rookie quarterback. Prescott, a fourth-round selection out of Mississippi State, was not supposed to even challenge for the spot behind Romo last season. But then Moore fractured his ankle early in the preseason, giving Prescott an opening he would use to shine. Now, Prescott is among Rush’s top supporters.
“I’ve been one of Cooper’s biggest fans since the moment he got here,” Prescott told the Dallas Morning News after Rush’s lights-out performance against Indianapolis on Saturday. “You can ask Orlando Scandrick. He told Coop I was handing out applications for his fan club.
“He’s a guy who does everything right in the film room. He is asking questions, and he takes it and does it on the practice field. You can see that focus pregame. He’s itching to play. Me and him are talking on the sideline [Saturday], and he’s like, ‘I’m just ready to go in,’ and the moment he goes in he shows what he’s been preparing to do.”