Cooper Rush proved the Dallas Cowboys right, at least for Week 2 as the team’s backup quarterback led the offense to a game-winning scoring drive to upset the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite plenty of speculation about the Cowboys potentially adding another quarterback, the front office opted to stick with Rush and Will Grier as Dak Prescott recovers from thumb surgery.
After the Cowboys’ win, owner Jerry Jones made one thing clear: Rush’s play validated the team’s decision not to add an outside quarterback. More importantly, Jones emphasized that Rush’s performance will not impact Prescott’s return timeline.
There is no quarterback controversy in Dallas as the team’s $160 million signal-caller will suit up as soon as he can grip the ball, per Jones. The Cowboys have no plans to ease Prescott back if Rush continues to perform at a high level.
“Jerry Jones said Cooper Rush’s efforts won’t change the timeline of Dak Prescott,” The Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins tweeted on September 18. “Jones said when Prescott is able to grip a football then it will start the process of him returning.”
Rush Exceeded the Cowboys Expectations
After Prescott’s injury, Jones expressed confidence in Rush on multiple occasions as the team opted not to make an additional move. Yet, Jones admitted in a moment of candor that Rush even exceeded his expectations.
“He exceeded my expectations,” Jerry told USA Today’s Jory Epstein after the Week 2 win. “The performance out here by Rush sure takes a lot of angst out of it.”
Jones Shot Down the QB Trade Rumors
Heading into the matchup against the Bengals, Jones turned heads by emphasizing the team had no plans to trade for another quarterback. Jones’ comments came one day after head coach Mike McCarthy remarked that the team was going down the list of available signal-callers. Rush began the season on the team’s practice squad, but Dallas signed the quarterback to the 53-man roster on the eve of the Cowboys-Bengals showdown.
“The people that are ready to play quarterback for us are the ones that played all preseason: Cooper Rush and [Will] Grier,” Jones explained during a September 13, 2022 interview on 105.3 The Fan’s “Shan and RJ,” “They had a real competition. Grier got slowed there right at the end with a hamstring issue, but he should be through that now. So, we’ve gotten a lot of good snaps for those guys, both in our practice sessions as well as all the preseason games for the most part.
“Those guys know the offense well, have had a lot of reps in it and consequently give us our best shot. It’s unlikely since we don’t have any potential trade pending — not pending, but in the mill — it’s unlikely that you’d have a veteran quarterback that could get back in here and be ready to play as well as those guys can play, even if you thought you might have a talent advantage.”
The Cowboys are setting a potentially aggressive return timeline for Prescott, which is a major reason why the quarterback was not placed on the injured reserve list. Dallas believes Prescott may be able to return as soon as Week 4 against the Eagles on “Sunday Night Football,” per Pro Football Talk.