Any idea that Cooper Rush should not be the backup quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys went out the window against the Oakland Raiders.
Last week, I recall Dallas Cowboys radio play-by-play analyst Babe Laufenberg stating that we could put to bed the idea that Cooper Rush could unseat Kellen Moore as the backup quarterback for budding superstar Dak Prescott. I guess it made a little sense given the fact that Moore had that decorated career at Boise State and Rush was undrafted.
Laufenberg played quarterback in the NFL as mainly a backup, so he knows a thing or two about throwing a football in the professional ranks.
Having said that, I was thinking to myself, ”Babe, are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
Mind you that this was all happening during last Saturday’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Then came Saturday night’s dress rehearsal against the Oakland Raiders.
Rush shook off a shaky start in the third quarter that really had little to do with his play. After a meaningless first possession in the second half, Rush was hit as he threw on his second possession, which was caught in mid air by Raiders linebacker LaTroy Lewis and returned 65 yards for what looked like a game-clinching touchdown.
But Rush was just getting started.
Down 20-10 following the turnover, Rush went on a tear for basically the remainder of the second half and further strengthened his case to not only make the 53-man roster, but claim that most unexpected backup quarterback spot that most assumed would go to Moore.
But Rush has been so good this preseason that the presence of veteran Luke McCown has been a complete afterthought.
Rush completed 12 of 13 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Cowboys to a come-from-behind 24-20 win at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium. His passer rating of 143.1 in this game is impossible to ignore.
Shocking is the fact that Rush posted a passer rating of 148.8 last week against the Indianapolis Colts in Arlington. He was 8 of 9 passing with two more touchdown passes in that game.
The week before that, Rush completed 9 of 11 passes in Dallas’ only loss this preseason. Throw in his second touchdown pass of the summer and that quarterback rating was still 136.4.
Rush wasn’t quite as good in that Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio to kick off the preseason, but he still threw a touchdown pass.
As impressive as Rush’s remarkable completion percentage and weekly improvement while playing with mainly third-string players is the fact that he’s yet to throw an interception.
Does this sound kind of familiar?
Shattering the idea that Rush is too young or unproven to reside on the Dallas Cowboys roster is none other than Prescott himself. Did we not have these discussions a year ago right now? I seem to recall that we did and the results were nothing short of outstanding. Prescott took his own sweet time before tossing his first career pick against the Green Bay Packers in Week 6 last year.
In this case, Rush doesn’t have to start, as Prescott did once Tony Romo lost his job due to injury last summer. The former Central Michigan passer simply needs to be prepared to play just in case disaster strikes.
Is there anything about Rush that tells you that he can’t backup Prescott?
It’s true that the preseason is exactly that – the preseason. The regular season is a different environment entirely and we all remember that despite Prescott’s remarkable preseason performances in 2016 he still lost his first regular-season game almost one year ago.
If Rush was to find himself under center for any reason beyond Thursday’s preseason finale against the Houston Texans, the results might be quite different for the undrafted rookie.
Then again, history shows that youth might just be the solution for a Dallas Cowboys roster that’s built to win on the offensive side of the ball.