Dallas Cowboys need to be looking beyond in Week 17
The Dallas Cowboys need to look forward during a meaningless Week 17 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
When the Dallas Cowboys‘ schedule gets released every year, most people look to see what the December slate of games look like due to the Cowboys history of late season collapses. This year was no different especially when looking at a Week 17 season finale game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Early on in the season, and looking ahead, this was looking like a game that could have huge ramifications in deciding the NFC East division winner. That thought could not have been more wrong as we head into Week 17 with absolutely nothing at stake for either team. The Eagles have clinched the number one seed throughout the NFC playoffs and the Cowboys have been officially eliminated from playoff contention.
For the Cowboys, they need to look ahead to next year and see what they may have in some of their younger players. First and foremost they should give extended playing time to quarterback Cooper Rush.
The Cowboys front office and coaching staff have all the confidence in the world in quarterback Dak Prescott. I do not believe anyone with the Cowboys feel that Prescott’s job or long term development are in jeopardy, but this year was hard to watch after seeing the year Prescott had last year. The regression in his second year was undeniable.
Undrafted free agent quarterback Cooper Rush was very quick to turn heads this preseason. He appeared to have a firm understanding of the offense and did not seem overwhelmed by the NFL game; even though his success did come against mostly second and third string players in the preseason. Even with that being said the Cowboys coaching staff saw enough in him to keep three quarterbacks on the roster and eventually release former backup Kellen Moore, giving the backup job to Rush.
There is zero downside to giving Rush extensive playing time against the Eagles. Along with Rush there should be other young players seeing extended time such as rookie wide receivers Ryan Switzer and Noah Brown, running back Rod Smith, linebacker Jaylon Smith, and defensive end Taco Charlton.
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Most of these players could play major roles going forward for the Cowboys. Even though coach Jason Garrett and company want to spin this week as “every game matters,” the reality is that this game is meaningless and should be treated like an exhibition.