Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed confidence quarterback Cooper Rush can keep the team's offense afloat while Dak Prescott recovers from a thumb injury.
"First of all, I think Rush is up to the task of winning ball games for us, and I think he certainly has had a lot of experience in this offense," Jones said. "He and [offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore have been joined at the hip for a long time. So, I like who we're lining up out there to give us a start right there."
ESPN's Todd Archer reported the initial return timetable for Prescott, who underwent surgery Monday, was six to eight weeks, but Dallas hasn't placed him on injured reserve with hope he could return at some point within the next four games.
Jones reiterated Friday the Cowboys are focused on internal improvement while their franchise quarterback is sidelined. He explained that stance was solidified during a conversation with an unnamed NFL coach, who told him the "answer is from within."
"You got to do a little bit better," Jones said. "Everybody steps up and is a little bit better, and you realize at the end of the day that this was a team game and that everybody, all 40 of them, had to go out there and step their game up."
Rush has made 11 NFL appearances (one start) since the Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He spent his first three years in Dallas (2017-19) before getting claimed off waivers by the New York Giants in May 2020. He returned to America's Team in October 2020.
The 28-year-old Michigan native has completed 38 of his 63 throws (60.3 percent) for 488 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the NFL.
His only start came in Week 8 last season, when he threw for 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 20-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Rush said Thursday he thinks the unit is prepared for Sunday's home game against the reigning AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.
"I think it's more about the teammates. All you do every day is want to earn their respect," Rush told reporters. "To go out there on Sunday, that's the best way to do it. Go play well. They have my respect. I think they respect me. I think we've got a good group. I think we're ready to roll."
The Cowboys and Bengals each lost in Week 1, so there's pressure on both sides to get back on the right track before digging too much of an early-season hole.
Dallas' hopes will rest heavily on Rush building off his strong performance last season, especially if Prescott ends up missing around two months.