Kellen Moore has largely underwhelmed in the preseason thus far. Should the undrafted Cooper Rush be the backup quarterback in Dallas?
Going into the preseason, the Dallas Cowboys planned to have veteran left-handed signal caller Kellen Moore as their primary backup quarterback. So far in said preseason, Moore has struggled mightily against fringe first-teamers, undrafted players, and backups. He looked particular dreadful this past Saturday, completing eight of 17 passes for a meager 69 yards.
Cooper Rush, an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, has looked poised and polished in the pocket, and played exceptionally well for the Cowboys in their first two preseason games. This past Saturday, he vastly outplayed Moore, and completed 9/11 passes for 104 yards and a beautiful touchdown to tight end Rico Gathers.
Rush has now outplayed both Kellen Moore and journeyman quarterback Luke McCown in the first two preseason contests, and should make a case to be the primary backup to Dak Prescott despite his inexperience.
At this point, you know what you’re getting out of Moore. He doesn’t have a big arm, he’s not all that mobile, and he’s undersized at 6″0. Rush on the other hand, is listed at 6″3, 216 lbs., and seems to have the physical skills to play in the NFL. He flashed his athleticism in the Hall of Fame game, rushing for 23 yards on two attempts. While he doesn’t have the strongest arm himself, he’s been able to make all the throws so far in preseason, and he certainly throws it at a higher velocity than Moore.
However, it hasn’t been Rush’s physical traits that have been the most impressive out of the gate. The undrafted quarterback’s decision making and intelligence seem to separate Rush from the pack. Rush boasted a 3.9 GPA in college, so it’s not surprising he’s able to pickup an NFL playbook so quickly. And while most of his throws have been short to intermediate tosses, he seems to always make the right choice and hit the open man.
McCown, who was acquired as an insurance policy for Dallas, is in the same boat as Kellen Moore. He’s not going to surprise anyone in his 12th NFL season. He is what he is. McCown was similarly dreadful for Dallas in their last preseason game, completing 2/6 passes for six yards.
Moore has the luxury of playing in Scott Linehan’s offense since his time with the Detroit Lions, but experience can only go so far. Besides, if the Cowboys decide to keep three quarterbacks, Moore could serve as a tutor for both Rush and to a lesser degree, Prescott, in understanding all the intricacies as Linehan’s offense.
But as a primary backup, neither Moore, nor McCown should not be counted on. It’s only been two games, but Rush clearly has been the best player of the bunch. Besides, the Cowboys have struck gold with a couple of under the radar quarterbacks thus far in the undrafted Tony Romo and the fourth round pick Dak Prescott. What’s to say Rush can’t duplicate similar success in a quarterback-friendly offense?
If Cooper Rush continues his solid play throughout the preseason, there’s no doubt he should overtake Kellen Moore as the Dallas Cowboys’ backup quarterback. Only time will tell.