The Rush for the Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback job
By Riley Donald
The Dallas Cowboys may have surprised themselves with how the backup quarterback situation has played out so far this preseason. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert has been seemingly backing up Dak Prescott all preseason until recently. Cooper Rush is getting the first-team reps this week.
All preseason it seemed that Gilbert was settling into the number two spot after his surprisingly effective performance in his sole start in 2020 and his performances up to this point. Following Rush’s performance against Texans where he threw for two touchdowns and commanded the offense very effectively, it suddenly seems backing up Prescott is his spot to lose.
Rush first joined the Cowboys organization in 2017 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan. Rush only has five regular-season passing attempts in his career. A small number, yes, but a familiarity with the Cowboys’ wide receivers and success this preseason have shown his ability to step up in-game situations.
Head coach Mike McCarthy and owner/general manager Jerry Jones have both been vocal about Rush’s performance. McCarthy believes Rush has earned the right to in regards to taking the first-team reps and being named the starter for the final preseason game. Strong words from the head coach going into the final week to determine the Cowboys’ backup quarterback battle.
Unfortunately, this development likely means that one of the fan favorites, Ben DiNucci, is the quarterback on the outside looking in. Throwing three interceptions against the Texans likely sealed his fate as either a roster cut or, the more probable destination, as a member of the practice squad. The former James Madison quarterback has shown flashes of excitement, but the inconsistency and turnovers seem too much to overcome.
If the Dallas Cowboys want to see success in 2021, Dak Prescott needs to be healthy the majority of the season. There is no doubt his quarterback play is the key to this offense after what fans saw happen last year.
Luckily, the Cowboys’ backup quarterback position is being decided by Cooper Rush going and taking it for himself while separating himself from the pack. Even though Rush’s most recent performance inspired some confidence, let’s hope we only see Rush if things become a blowout.