One of the more intriguing position battles this training camp will be to see who steps up and wins the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback spot.
In recent years, the Dallas Cowboys have never been a team that has invested heavily in the backup quarterback position. Most teams follow this mantra, and if the starter goes down, the season in all likelihood would go down the tubes.
Even when longtime starter Tony Romo went down and missed almost all of the 2014 season, Dallas only invested a fourth-round pick to be their backup quarterback for the following season. Now as we all know that certain fourth round pick turned out to be now franchise quarterback Dak Prescott, but at the time even the Cowboys could not have predicted the Prescott pick would turn out that well.
Last season, Dallas had a training camp battle between Cooper Rush and Mike White for the backup quarterback role. Both guys had never started a game in the NFL, and Dallas lacked experience as a whole at the quarterback position. They faced scrutiny for having two backups with no experience, and a quarterback coach in Kellen Moore who also only started two games in his entire career.
This year Moore has moved into the offensive coordinator role, and his replacement Jon Kitna brings with him about as much experience as you could want. Despite the change in coaches, the Cowboys bring in the same two quarterbacks to compete for the backup role.
Rush, who won the job and backed up Prescott all of last season, had a very disappointing preseason in 2018. Coming off a year where he was one of the best overall quarterbacks in all of football during the preseason, expectations were higher for Rush than they were for White. Rush failed to live up to these expectations at all, throwing for just 358 yards, one touchdown, and four interceptions in four games.
As a late-round draft pick, White was not expected to be all that impressive in the preseason, and he proved that narrative right. In four games White was 44-70 with a 62.9% completion percentage and one interception.
If both quarterbacks perform the same this preseason, Dallas could be in a spot where they need to take a look at an outside the organization veteran quarterback. Both Rush and White remain on the roster currently because the team feels they have upside, but if they fail to perform well once again in preseason, can the Cowboys afford to give them another chance?
Overall it seems like as a whole White may have more upside and chance to be an NFL starter one day, but Rush is the safer pick. As you know if you follow the Cowboys they are not a team that likes to take big chances. Dallas and especially head coach Jason Garret like to go with the sure thing, even if that product does not have as much potential as the other option.
Rush especially should be looked at as ready to take the next step this season. He has backed up Dak Prescott for two years now, and Dallas has to be looking for him to take at least a minor step forward. Backup quarterback is not always a glorious training camp battle to watch, but it will be interesting to see if the Cowboys once again believe Rush or White are capable of doing the job.