All signs are pointing towards Cooper Rush starting for the Dallas Cowboys in their Sunday night showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles. With Dak Prescott mostly likely out, it will fall on Rush to step up and win a critical divisional matchup.
When speaking with the media on Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that they are preparing for Cooper Rush to be the starting quarterback. Dak Prescott was at practice Wednesday throwing to wide receivers.
The news comes as a surprise as Prescott’s timeline to return was aimed to be the Eagles game, but that appears to not be the case. Now it looks like the earliest he will be able to return is week seven’s matchup against the Detroit Lions. Prescott has been out of the starting lineup since injuring his thumb in week one’s loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Cooper Rush has stepped in the last four weeks and has won all four starts so far this season. Rush has succeeded in having zero turnovers in all four games as well. He’s currently fifth in the NFL in QBR with 66.9. Rush is also the NFL leader among quarterbacks with four or more starts in interceptions as noted before at zero.
Despite Rush leading the offense and the team is undefeated with him at quarterback, the offense is near the bottom of the league in passing yards per game and total offense. It has not been the best look for the offense as it has been the defense leading the way for Dallas. There are weapons on the offense and different ways that Rush can carry the unit to be successful for their biggest game of the season.
What Cooper Rush Can Do To Win
The biggest strength of Cooper Rush’s game is his ability to protect the football and make sound decisions. Rush is able to release the ball quickly from his hands and let his receivers make the extra yards needed to get the first down. He needs to continue to utilize it and hit on all his quick passes and screens to let his playmakers get the job done.
While Rush is more of a pocket passer, he should trust his legs more and be on the move. The Philadelphia Eagles have one of the deepest defensive lines in the league so the pressure will be brought to Rush. If he is able to steal a long run on the ground, that could force the Eagles to respect him and bring more defenders into the box.
Philadelphia will have more defenders in the box to defend the run since Dallas has been more successful with Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard running the ball. This presents Rush with the opportunity to audible into-play action passes and catches some big plays through the air for touchdowns.
Most of this can be helped by how Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore calls the offense. He tends to play a little more conservatively with his passes to keep them short and have a more balanced offensive attack with the run mixed in. Moore should get Rush to throw more deep balls to call the defense off guard.
Sunday’s game is going to be a challenge for the Cowboys as the Eagles’ defense is playing at just as high of a level as the Cowboys’ defense. The biggest weakness of the defense is their linebacker position so this could be an opportunity for Rush to find Dalton Schultz on some big plays down the middle to take advantage of that. It won’t be easy for Dallas, but Rush has been able to beat big-time opponents like the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, and the Los Angeles Rams. Rush shines on primetime and there shouldn’t be any exception to that against the Eagles.