The Cowboys will be without top gunslinger Dak Prescott for a number of weeks, and it might just sink the rest of their season. We examine what backup quarterback Cooper Rush brings to the table, and what he doesn’t.
Can the Cowboys Season Survive Cooper Rush?
Cooper Rush is of course just the current band aid that the Cowboys are using. The real question, or more complete question, is can the Cowboys survive the injury to Dak Prescott knowing that Cooper Rush will now start at least a quarter of the season?
There are of course other options available, most specifically the player in San Francisco who has led his team to a Super Bowl appearance. The Cowboys haven’t been to the Super Bowl since Jimmy Garoppolo was four years old. He’s now almost 31.
But Jimmy G comes with a price, and is it worth paying to squeak in as a bottom level playoff seed only to get whacked in the first round once again? That is another question the Cowboys asked themselves, and allegedly answered by choosing to stick with Rush – a quarterback that they actually cut at the end of training camp to get down to 53, knowing that no one else in the league would pick him up.
Rush Was Great in 2021
Last season the Cowboys were without Dak Prescott for their Week 8 trip to Minnesota because of a calf injury, so they were forced to turn to Cooper Rush and his three career NFL passes. That day in Minnesota he threw an additional 40 passes, recorded 325 yards passing, and led Dallas to the 20-15 win.
Prior to that game, using the complete statistical quarterback metrics from Cold, Hard Football Facts, the Cowboys ranked second in Offensive Passer Rating, third in Real Passing Yds/Attempt, and seventh in Real Quarterback Rating.
After a game of Cooper Rush, the only change was the slight dip in Offensive Passer Rating from second to third, as Kyler Murray and the Cardinals moved up a spot. Otherwise the Rush experience held serve for the Cowboys.
In the first six games of the season Prescott was averaging 302 yards and 2.5 TDs a game. Rush threw for 325 yards and 2 TDs, and had a long of 73 yards.
Rush Will Not be Great in 2022
On Sunday after Prescott went down Rush threw 13 passes and was actually more effective than Prescott had been. But that was after the game was no longer in doubt and the Buccaneers had stopped caring. The upcoming opponents will care very much.
It starts this weekend with the Bengals, who ranked 10th in Cold, Hard Football Facts Defensive Passer Rating. Rush then gets a break the following week against the Giants, as they only ranked 25th in Defensive Passer Rating. But the Commanders are next and they rank eighth in the NFL.
After that he gets the Rams, at 27th, and then another divisional game against the Eagles, who ranked 15th.
That’s three games against divisional rivals and games against both Super Bowl teams from last season. So can the Cowboys season survive? Can Cooper Rush survive? Can Mike McCarthy survive another season as head coach that ends before Jerry Jones believes it should?
The most likely answer to all of those questions is no.