Backup quarterback Cooper Rush's unexpectedly strong performance won't alter the Dallas Cowboys' plan for Dak Prescott's recovery.
"At the end of the day, this is all about when he thinks he can go and when he thinks he can throw the football at a level that we need him to throw it at to have success and win football games," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan's The K&C Masterpiece. "Certainly, you feel better about it when he's not ready yet that we’ve been able to have these wins, you don't want to be naive like that."
Jones added that the team's overall success may lead Prescott to be even more cautious.
"Cooper Rush and this team have all stepped up, all his teammates have stepped up and done their part to win three football games, and I’m sure it helps everybody," he said. "It helps Dak … to not do something [when] he knows he may not be quite ready yet to go."
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio posited the opposite could prove true, arguing that Rush's production and the praise it has garnered "won’t make Prescott any less anxious." Along that line of thinking, the two-time Pro Bowler could push to get back on the field before he should.
RJ Ochoa @rjochoa
There are two types of people who legitimately believe that Cooper Rush (who deserves all credit in the world) should start ahead of a healthy Dak Prescott:<br><br>1. Prisoners of the moment<br><br>2. Those still upset about the way that Dak supplanted Tony Romo looking for an eye for an eye
For the Cowboys, this is the best possible outcome.
Rush hasn't been prolific in place of Prescott, but he has already engineered two game-winning drives while avoiding the kind of costly mistakes you'd expect from a backup quarterback. He has completed 60.8 percent of his passes while throwing for 737 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. His 74.0 QBR is the fourth-highest in the league, per ESPN.com.
Even though Prescott's window to return (four to six weeks) was better than first thought, nobody could blame fans for panicking at the time. Dallas slumped to a 6-10 finish in 2020 when Prescott was limited to five games, and the offensive personnel on this squad might be worse than it was two seasons ago.
However, the Cowboys are only one game back of the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. That's not down solely to Rush, but he's certainly a reason why the franchise is on track to reach the postseason.