Cooper Rush

Cowboys Preparing To Start Cooper Rush In Week 6

Another week of Cooper Rush will be on tap for the Cowboys, who are preparing for one of their highest-profile matchups in recent years. Mike McCarthy said his backup will make another start Sunday night against the Eagles.

Out since suffering a thumb injury in Week 1, Dak Prescott is scheduled to throw for the first time since the injury Wednesday, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. But the seventh-year Dallas starter’s timetable remains up in the air. Prescott had wanted to come back in Week 5, but he is on track to miss a fifth game as a result of this injury.

Jerry Jones said last week Prescott was still having trouble gripping a football. The Cowboys have understandably wanted their Pro Bowl starter to go through at least a week of throwing in practice before returning. With Prescott’s Wednesday session to be on the side, that stage of his return timetable has not yet begun. It opens the door for Rush to attempt to push his starter record to 6-0.

Rush’s unexpected run of success began in a Sunday Night Football cameo, when he quarterbacked the Cowboys to a road win over the Vikings last season. Rush, 28, began his Cowboys career in 2017, when he joined the team as a UDFA. He impressed Jason Garrett‘s coaching staff enough to become Prescott’s primary backup. The Central Michigan alum, however, did not make any starts during his first go-round with the team. Prescott began his career with 70 consecutive starts, taking over after a Tony Romo preseason injury in 2016, and Rush was with the Giants when Dallas’ starter went down with an ankle injury.

The Cowboys circled back to Rush in 2020, after the Giants waived him, and have seen that reinvestment pay off. Rush has completed 61% of his passes (7.1 yards per attempt) and has thrown four TD passes compared to zero INTs. Jones and McCarthy have stressed no quarterback competition exists here, but the Cowboys have seen Rush guide a 4-1 start — one that sets up one of the bigger Cowboys-Eagles matchups this century. Philadelphia enters Sunday’s game as the NFL’s last remaining unbeaten.

Dak Prescott Unlikely To Play In Week 6?

As Cooper Rush prepares to make a fourth consecutive start for the Cowboys, the recovery of Dak Prescott continues to receive plenty of attention. The Cowboys’ No. 1 quarterback is facing an uphill battle to play next week, as things currently stand. 

[RELATED: No QB Controversy Between Rush, Prescott]

Prescott would need to make “significant strides” to be available for Dallas’ Week 6 game against the Eagles, per Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The 29-year-old has been out since the season opener with a thumb injury which required surgery but not an IR stint. A four-to-six week recovery timetable is considered the schedule by which Prescott will be able to return.

That made it surprising when it became known the two-time Pro Bowler was eyeing today’s game against the Rams as the one in which he could suit up. As his ability to grip a football becomes the central issue, the thumb’s level of swelling will go a long way in determining the level of involvement Prescott can have during practice this week.

Pelissero and Rapoport add that Prescott will meet with doctors again on Tuesday to evaluate his progress. If he is able to make it onto the field in time, he could enter a very tight situation with respect to the standings in the NFC East. The Eagles head into today’s action as the league’s only remaining unbeaten team, and the Giants’ come-from-behind win over the Packers in London moved them to 4-1 on the year.

Rush will look to help the Cowboys keep pace today against the defending Super Bowl champions. His perfect record as a starter has led to some calls for a QB change even when Prescott is healthy, though the team has insisted that will not take place. Especially is the former UDFA can register another win, Dallas would be well-positioned to remain cautious with the return of their highest-paid player, something which may not take place until deeper into October.

Latest On Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush

Jerry Jones stirred the pot recently when he said he’d welcome a quarterback controversy between Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. However, the Cowboys owner and GM quickly walked back his comments, stating definitively that Rush won’t supplant Prescott as the starter going forward.

[RELATED: Dak Prescott Targeting Week 5 Return]

“No. No,” Jones replied when asked if there was a scenario where the team would opt for Rush over Prescott (per Clarence Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star-Telegram). “As I see it right today.”

Rush has guided the Cowboys to three consecutive victories, and he’ll likely earn another start this weekend as Dak continues to recover from his hand injury. Jones noted that Prescott still can’t grip a football despite having his stitches removed more than a week ago. Considering the team’s public stance that their starter would need a week of practice before returning to the field, Hill opines that Prescott won’t be ready for this weekend’s showdown against the Rams.

The Cowboys never placed the QB on the injured reserve, leading some to believe he’d be able to make a return to the lineup before Week 6. Prescott himself stated that he was eyeing a Week 5 return date. It sounds like that won’t be the case, but that doesn’t bother Jones or the organization. Instead, the team sounds content with Dak making his return on October 16 against the Eagles.

“Well, I know that it’s better, and I know that he’s going to go out there every day and make progress toward being able to grip the ball,” Jones said. “I don’t know that you could ask for better news technically, physically in how it’s responding, how it’s healing so to speak. And, so, all of those things are on go, and I don’t know that you could make any more progress. There’s some things here about healing that I often say only the man upstairs knows how that works. But he’ll have a big week and he’ll be hard on himself getting ready to go.”

Cowboys Notes: Dak, Rush, Washington

We heard earlier this week that Dak Prescott was eyeing a Week 5 return, but Week 6 may end up being a more realistic target. Clarence Hill Jr. of the Dallas Star-Telegram tweets that Prescott won’t start throwing until the end of this week. Assuming the QB wants more than a week to ramp up, the Cowboys’ October 16 game against the Eagles may be a more realistic return date.

Prescott has been soft tossing but has yet to progress to “real throwing.” The fact that he’s throwing at all has led some to wonder if the quarterback could even return in Week 4 against Washington. Hill completely rules out that notion, and he suggests Prescott won’t even be ready for the Week 5 contest against the Rams.

Dallas can operate with a bit more caution after backup Cooper Rush has helped guide the Cowboys to wins over the Bengals and Giants. The team can continue to operate with some flexibility after not placing Dak on injured reserve, a move that would have kept him off the field through Week 5.

More notes out of Dallas…

  • Speaking of Rush, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post explores the Giants’ reasoning for moving on from the QB. After spending the first three seasons of his career in Dallas, Rush was claimed off waivers by the Giants in 2020. He had a brief stint on their practice squad before getting released, and that led to his return to the Cowboys. While Rush had fans in New York (including former head coach Joe Judge and former OC Jason Garrett), he also had some detractors, leading to the organization replacing him with Clayton Thorson. “The decision-makers with the Giants felt like they weren’t overly impressed with how he played or what his potential was,” Garrett told Dunleavy. “To me, Coop is not someone who wows you physically. Sometimes you get caught up in that. Sometimes those decisions happen.”
  • Meanwhile, wideout James Washington is still a few weeks away from returning, per Hill on Twitter. The veteran receiver signed with Dallas this offseason but landed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury. He’ll be eligible to return in Week 5, but it sounds like he’ll need a bit more time to recover. Washington spent the first four years of his career with the Steelers, including a 2021 campaign where he hauled in 24 receptions for 285 yards.
  • Former Cowboys second-round pick Gavin Escobar was among two rock climbers who were found dead in a remote area near Idyllwild, CA, per the AP. The 31-year-old spent the first four seasons of his career in Dallas, appearing in 62 games. He bounced around the NFL a bit before ending his playing career in the Alliance of American Football.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/17/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Promoted from practice squad: CB Daryl WorleyWR Raleigh Webb

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Cowboys Sign QB Cooper Rush, K Brett Maher To Active Roster

In anticipation of only his second career start, Cooper Rush is set to officially join the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. He is being signed from the practice squad, along with kicker Brett Maher, per a team announcement. 

Both players suited up last week, of course, but in that instance they were designated as the two taxi squad elevations each team is permitted every week. For Rush, the move confirms the fact that he will take over for Dak Prescott as the team’s starting signal-caller. The duration of Prescott’s absence could be shorter than initially expected, but for the time being, Rush is tasked with keeping the Cowboys afloat and improving on the team’s underwhelming offensive performance in Week 1.

The 28-year-old’s only other start resulted in a victory last season, but with just 63 career pass attempts, little will be known or expected of him. Dallas also has a weakened offensive line in front of him, and a less accomplished assortment of pass-catchers compared to 2021, so the challenge facing him will be significant. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys are elevating Will Grier from the practice squad to operate as Rush’s backup. With Prescott expected to be back relatively soon, that pair will be leaned on, instead of a stop-gap veteran addition.

Maher wasn’t initially in the Cowboys’ kicking plans this offseason. Not long after the team began looking for outside options, however, the 32-year-old returned to Dallas. The Cowboys’ kicker in 2018 and 2019, Maher was responsible for the team’s only points in Week 1, making his only attempt. For his career, he has converted 77.6% of his field goals, a figure which, coupled with his familiarity with the organization, allowed him to make a late push to operate as Greg Zuerlein‘s successor.

Rush, Maher and the Cowboys will look to get into the win column on Sunday against the defending AFC champion Bengals.

Dak Prescott Undergoes Thumb Surgery

5:27pm: Prescott has undergone the thumb surgery, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). The operation was successful, but the wait begins. Rather than acquire another quarterback, the Cowboys are sticking with Rush. The former UDFA has been Dallas’ primary backup since Tony Romo‘s 2017 retirement. Prescott is expected to attend the now-Rush-centered position meetings as he rehabs.

8:51am: The Cowboys suffered a significant loss on the scoreboard and the depth chart last night, as quarterback Dak Prescott left the game with a thumb injury. He will undergo surgery to address the issue, which ESPN’s Todd Archer reports is expected to keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks. As a result, Archer adds, Prescott will likely be placed on IR. 

During postgame availability, head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that the injury is “significant.” Prescott, meanwhile, offered a somewhat encouraging update by saying that the fracture in his throwing hand “was much cleaner than it could have been.”

Nevertheless, the injury is a crushing blow for the Cowboys, whose offense already faced plenty of questions heading into last night. Left tackle Tyron Smith will be sidelined until at least December due to a torn hamstring, and the injuries to wideouts Michael Gallup and James Washington leave the team with few established pass-catchers. Overcoming those absences will be significantly more difficult without Prescott, who will be on the shelf for the second time in the past three seasons after an injury-free start to his career.

The two-time Pro Bowler was limited to five games by an ankle injury in 2020, but still landed a $40MM-per-year deal the following offseason. He played in 16 games last year, posting an 11-5 record while throwing for 4,449 yards and 37 touchdowns. Expectations were high for he and the team again in 2022, but things have changed dramatically in the span of one night.

“It’s very disappointing,” Prescott said, via Bobby Kownack of NFL.com“But injuries happen. You can’t necessarily control it. It’s just unfortunate… but I’ll do what I’ve always done any time adversity comes. Take it on headfirst, give it my best, and I’m sure I’ll come out of this thing better.”

Cooper Rush will now take over as Dallas’ starting QB; the former UDFA had made 11 appearances with the Cowboys before filling in for Prescott last night (but only one start). He, along with Will Grier, were temporarily let go of during roster cutdowns, but the team fully intended to keep both of them in the fold. Grier will likely be signed to the active roster from the practice squad, unless the Cowboys search for outside options to replace their signal-caller for the intermediate future.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/10/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, as teams prepare for the first Sunday slate of regular season games:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

The Cardinals’ moves come as a reaction to yesterday’s injury news. Baccellia’s roster spot was opened up in the short-term by the injury to Rondale Moore, but he won’t simply be a stop-gap. Arizona signed the 25-year-old to a two-year deal to remain on the main roster, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). A UDFA out of Washington, Baccellia has yet to make a regular season NFL appearance.

Likewise, the fact that Ford will miss at least the first four weeks of the season makes the re-acquisition of Garcia a logical one. The former fourth-rounder has plenty of guard experience, including his three seasons spent in Arizona. It was only in 2021 that he logged any starts, but he could provide veteran depth behind Justin Pugh at least until Ford is able to return.

Addison, 35, was one of several veteran signings the Texans made this offseason to add depth to their front seven. He had a productive season with the Bills last season, notching seven sacks despite not starting any games. In his absence, Harris and Pierre-Louis will provide depth in the edge rush department on Sunday, and likely the short-term future as well.

Quick reminder that standard game day practice squad promotions are a recent development from the new CBA and COVID-19 seasons. Essentially, each team is able to promote two players from the practice squad to the active roster for game days. The players will automatically revert back to the practice squad after the game, not needing to clear waivers before rejoining the developmental roster. A player can only be promoted three times per season. If a team would like to promote a player for a fourth game, they’ll need to go through the normal method of creating space on the 53-man roster to promote them and have them clear waivers before placing them back on the practice squad. That is the difference between “Signed to 53-man roster” from the practice squad and “Promoted from practice squad.”

NFC East Rumors: Rush, Smith, Golladay, Giants

The Cowboys were extremely relieved to see quarterback Dak Prescott return for a full season last year after only playing five games in 2020. Still, the 29-year-old’s prolonged absence two years ago instilled a sense of importance in the backup quarterback job for Dallas. This year, the No. 2 passer for the Cowboys will be Cooper Rush, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Dallas made a puzzling move by only leaving one quarterback on the team’s initial 53-man roster last Tuesday. When the Cowboys’ practice squad was announced the next day, it was seen that the other quarterbacks from the roster, Rush and Will Grier, were signed to the practice squad. As of the writing of this post, Rush remains a member of the practice squad.

Head coach Mike McCarthy is the person who broke the news to the media, so the Cowboys must have some intention of using Rush from the practice squad. Due to COVID-19, a rule was established allowing teams to promote practice squad players to the active roster for gamedays. Unless McCarthy and the Cowboys plan on elevating Rush to the active roster sometime before the season starts, they may just intend on fully dedicating one of the those weekly promotion spots to Rush or Grier to serve as a gameday backup.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC East, starting with another rumor from the Lone Star state:

  • We wrote recently about the recently extended timeline for the recovery of Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith. With Smith sidelined, Dallas will turn to rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith to start at left tackle. Dallas drafted the younger Smith to start alongside the older Smith on the offensive line, but owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones seems content with the current situation, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “Do I wish we had Tyron?” Jones posed to the media. “Yes. Will we get Tyron back? Likely. But, in the meantime, (Tyler is) going to come in and get a Harvard Doctor’s degree in playing left tackle between now and then. Will we pay some price with it? Yes. Can we win with him paying the price? I think so, yes.”
  • While talking to the media on Friday, Giants general manager Joe Schoen revealed a tidbit about wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay apparently missed most of the spring after undergoing a “procedure,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Golladay didn’t ever provide any specifics about a procedure and was a full participant through camp, so, whatever the procedure was, it must’ve been minor.
  • New York was looking to bring back a former player in their scouting department this offseason in Chris Snee, but it appears that he will be working elsewhere this season, according to Duggan. When Snee was with New York, he served as an All-Pro guard and won a Super Bowl. Instead of joining the staff in New York, Snee accepted a role at his alma mater as an analyst for Boston College.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC East

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These CommandersCowboys, Eagles and Giants moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC East transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Dallas Cowboys

Signed to practice squad:

New York Giants

Signed:

Released:

Claimed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Philadelphia Eagles

Claimed: 

Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Washington Commanders

Released:

Claimed:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad: