The Dallas Cowboys turned heads by releasing Cooper Rush and Will Grier, but the team was able to re-sign both players just one day later. The quarterbacks are now on the team’s practice squad, but Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy revealed that Rush won the backup competition.
“Cooper will be our No. 2, and I think when you get out of here you’ll see how that all lines up, so,” McCarthy noted during an August 31, 2022 press conference. “You guys have been off Twitter for a couple of minutes.”
Dallas released Rush but his veteran status did not make him subject to waivers. Grier went onto waivers but passed through unclaimed allowing the Cowboys to re-sign the promising quarterback.
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Grier Was Unable to Close the Gap in QB2 Battle
There had been a tight battle between Rush and Grier throughout training camp, but the former West Virginia standout was unable to overtake the veteran. Rush’s experience leading the Cowboys to victory while Dak Prescott was sidelined for a game last season likely played a key factor in the quarterback holding onto the QB2 role. Throughout training camp, McCarthy praised Grier for the progress he made since Dallas claimed the quarterback last September following his release by Carolina.
“I think Will’s made a step [forward] clearly,” McCarthy explained during an August 9 press conference. “I think Will’s done a really nice job with his reps. You could feel the command. I think coming in at the time that he came in [last season], the language barrier [of the offense] is always a challenge when you go into a new system like ours.
“[Grier] was there every day in the offseason, and I think you’re seeing it’s paid off. But I think it’s clear that he’s playing much quicker and he’s making plays. I do think he definitely has the type of playmaking ability, not only to make plays in a pocket, but definitely out of the pocket.”
The Cowboys Are Expected to Move Rush to the Active Roster Prior to Week 1
It remains to be seen how the Cowboys will continue to juggle the quarterbacks using the practice squad. Dallas could keep Rush on the practice squad and move him up each week until the team reaches the limit of call ups for the quarterback.
“The Cowboys displaying Super Bowl level roster management/manipulation with just one QB and no kicker on active roster,” Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr. tweeted on August 31. “The Cowboys could essentially alternate bringing up Cooper Rush and Will Grier for the first six weeks before having to sign one as QB2.”
It does not appear that the Cowboys will utilize this approach much longer as Rush is expected to be moved up to the active roster by Week 1. This will leave Grier open to potentially being poached by another team given his practice squad status.
“Mike McCarthy said Cooper Rush will be the No. 2 QB,” The Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins detailed on Twitter. “At some point he’ll get promoted to the active roster. Most likely the week of the Tampa game.”