Cooper Rush: Is the Cowboys primary backup QB role his to lose?

Quarterback Cooper Rush #10 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Quarterback Cooper Rush #10 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Coming off a terrific performance in the Dallas Cowboys‘ third preseason game against the Houston Texans, is Cooper Rush now the favorite to assume the primary backup quarterback role behind Dak Prescott? His performance this Sunday could clinch it.

Rush, who is on his second stint with the Cowboys, put together a stellar stat line against the Texans last Saturday night. Completing 10 of his 12 pass attempts for 97 yards and two touchdowns, Rush outperformed fellow passers Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci in the team’s third exhibition game.

Gilbert, who has started every preseason game so far and has yet to throw a single touchdown, had his worst outing so far against the Texans. Completing three of his five pass attempts for 30 yards, the veteran passer fumbled the ball away during a sack which resulted in an early turnover.

DiNucci played the entire second half against the Texans, but the former seventh-rounder threw three interceptions. That poor performance has likely sealed his fate as a cut casualty at the end of the month and, at best, made him a candidate for the practice squad.

Entering the Cowboys’ final preseason game this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rush has already been named the starter. He has also been given first-team snaps in practice this week and garnered the praise of head coach Mike McCarthy. According to Pro Football Talk, McCarthy believes Rush has earned this opportunity and called him very steady and consistent.

Rush originally joined the Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Central Michigan in 2017. He’d spend his first three seasons in the NFL backing up Prescott in Dallas, but would only play a total of 26 snaps over five career games and complete a single reception on three pass attempts.

The Cowboys waived Rush last year when they signed three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Andy Dalton as the team’s primary backup to Prescott. Rush would be claimed by the New York Giants but released last September. He rejoined the Cowboys in October, spending most of his time on the practice squad.

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It appears that Cooper Rush could now win the Dallas Cowboys’ primary backup role with a solid performance this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. What this means for the future of Garrett Gilbert in Dallas or the possibility of the team adding a more experienced quarterback to the depth chart during final cuts is to be determined. At the very least, it’s a big reason to watch the team’s final preseason contest this Sunday.