Dallas Cowboys: How high can Cooper Rush climb?
Although Dak Prescott is the Dallas Cowboys unquestioned starter, could another spectacular preseason outing by Cooper Rush spark doubt?
Prior to the 2016 season, if I had told you that Dallas Cowboys longtime starting quarterback, Tony Romo, would be replaced under center by a rookie passer selected late in the fourth round of that year’s NFL draft, you’d likely have called me crazy. And when I told you that same rookie would led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and essentially force Romo to retire, you’d probably have called the authorities to find me some professional help.
So, is it really so crazy to think that Dak Prescott, the very rookie who supplanted Romo in Dallas two years ago, could someday soon be replaced himself? As of today, that seems like a ridiculous notion. And if it wasn’t for a back injury suffered by Romo in his first preseason game back in 2016, Prescott wouldn’t have even been given his chance to shine in the regular season. But strange things happen in the NFL.
Consider this. Prescott is coming off a down season in Dallas. Not only did the Cowboys not make it back to the playoffs, but they certainly played worse than their 9-7 record indicates. And much of the blame falls on Prescott, as this season proved he isn’t ready to shoulder the bulk of the offensive load in Dallas. The hope is Dak develops to the point where he can carry this team. But for now, he needs help.
Now, let’s talk about Cooper Rush. Undrafted out of Central Michigan last year, no one was talking about this kid in the offseason. In fact, the Cowboys were actively trying to find a veteran backup to shore-up the depth chart behind a young Prescott.
But Rush dominated in the preseason, completing 38 of his 51 passes for 398 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. The rookie had a completion percentage of 74.5 and a quarterback rating of 135.9. His excellent preseason play allowed the Cowboys to release veteran backup Kellen Moore early on into the season as Rush became Prescott’s primary backup for the entire season.
Now imagine this scenario: In his second year, Rush once again rolls through the preseason, emerging as one of the top young quarterback prospects in the league. And due to either injury or poor play, the backup is forced into regular season action. If Rush performs well, what happen next?
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I get it, this seems unbelievable. And you’ll likely call me crazy for even thinking it. But you would have said the same thing two years ago about Tony Romo being replaced by a rookie fourth rounder. The question is: How high can Cooper Rush climb in Dallas? If Rush shines once again this preseason, and Prescott struggles to meet expectations, how long will it be before fans start clamoring for a quarterback change?