Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush is finally getting a real opportunity on the big stage. How long he’ll be there this time is the question.
Rush is playing in place of the injured Dak Prescott, who fractured his thumb in the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rush is Cowboys’ backup quarterback who has been on and off their roster since 2017. He started last week at home against Cincinnati, his second NFL start, leading Dallas to a 20-17 win. He is now 2-0 as a starter (he won his only other start last year in Week 8 against Minnesota).
Rush’s Cowboys tenure was interrupted by the New York Giants in 2020, when Dallas waived him after signing Andy Dalton and the Giants scooped him up off the waiver wire.
Rush had played under former Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett for years in Dallas and the Giants were trying to upgrade their quarterback room. He never made it onto the 53-man roster, getting waived after camp and signed back to the practice squad.
Dallas didn’t let Rush sit long. They poached him off the Giants’ practice squad a few weeks later. He’s been with them ever since.
Garrett and former Giants head coach Joe Judge were locked into Daniel Jones, who was entering his second season, and had signed veteran backup Colt McCoy. COVID-19 restrictions didn’t allow Rush much of a chance to make the roster.
“Other guys can be more impressive in a workout environment — he’s got decent size, decent athletic ability, a decent arm, all of that,” Garrett told the New York Post, “but what we saw in Dallas right from the start with him was that whenever he went into an 11-on-11 situation, good things happened. He completed passes, moved the team, scored points.”
Judge and Garrett were in Rush’s corner but the rest of the organization was not in accord.
Other Giants coaches at the time, including Joe Judge, liked Rush’s makeup, too, sources said.
“The decision-makers with the Giants felt like they weren’t overly impressed with how he played or what his potential was,” said Garrett. “To me, Coop is not someone who wows you physically. Sometimes you get caught up in that. Sometimes those decisions happen.”
That is all moot now. The Giants are hoping to 3-0 for the first time since 2009 and Rush is standing in their way.
“I see a guy that’s a starting quarterback in this league,” current Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said last week. “Just watching him and the decisions that he makes, I think he’ll have a long career as a quarterback in this league.”
He already has had a long career in the NFL. The 28 year-old Rush has been waiting for his chance for years now. He’ll get it while Prescott recovers. If he can keep winning, the Cowboys won’t be in such a hurry to rush Prescott back.
Owner Jerry Jones stated tis week he wouldn’t mind if Rush played well enough to create a quarterback ‘controversy.’
“Of course I would. Of course. That means we’d have won,” Jones said. “If he comes in there and plays as well as Prescott played, Rush? Played that well over these next games ahead? I’d walk to New York to get that.
“Well, of course we want Dak to be here next week. That’s the thing. You do. But Dak and I want Rush to lead the team to a victory here and get another win and get another win. That’s the only way to look at it.”
The Giants aren’t caring much who is under center for their opponents these days. They are simply putting their heads down and forging ahead.