FRISCO, Texas – Let’s stop talking about the starting quarterback for a minute.
Whatever your opinion might be about Dak Prescott, he is a proven and experienced NFL quarterback. The same can’t be said for the guys behind him.
For a second-straight year, the Cowboys are heading into training camp with Cooper Rush and Mike White behind Prescott on the depth chart. Over the course of two seasons, Rush has thrown three passes in the regular season. White was not active for a regular season game during his rookie season last year.
The point being: it’s hard to say exactly what the Cowboys have in their backup quarterbacks. Hopefully training camp will shed some light on that. Will Rush and White be good enough heading into 2019, or does this front office need to consider bolstering the backup position?
Nick Eatman: The offseason practices weren’t that encouraging for the backups. And you can’t really blame it on a new system or anything, considering Dak was so good this summer. Neither backup stood out in a positive way, but that can change in training camp and the preseason. I can remember Tony Romo being pretty bad in 2004 to the point it felt like he would be replaced. And we know how that ended. So things can change for both Rush and White. Right now, I think the Cowboys need to be looking around the league for possible replacements. The funny thing about that is if the Cowboys signed a quality veteran, he would probably be making more than Dak, for now. But as of right now, these backups have some work to do.
David Helman: I’d be lying if I said I felt super comfortable about the backup situation – but I’m not sure what the Cowboys can do about it right now. The list of available free agents is not inspiring. Obviously, some quarterbacks will become available between now and September, but will any of them be true upgrades over what’s already on the roster? Cooper Rush is entering his third year, and the front office just drafted Mike White a year ago. We still don’t know for sure how good either guy is. My goal would be to give them as many reps as humanly possible in the coming weeks. Hopefully one of them stands out. If not, my plan is to cross my fingers that Dak Prescott can continue his trend of good health this year. When we get to 2020, you can sign or draft a better replacement.
Bryan Broaddus: I feel completely different about these backup quarterbacks than I did at this time last year. I went to last season believing that Mike White had a good chance of beating out Cooper Rush for the backup spot but that didn’t materialize. Rush wasn’t good but neither was White. The staff will be more patient with these guys than I will but something has to give here. Rush was outstanding his first season but it’s as if the selection of White messed him up mentally. He didn’t play like a confident quarterback. White looked nothing like he did at Western Kentucky moving the team and to this day he is still lacking that. This roster is deep and both will have ample opportunities to shine but if they don’t if I were in the front office I’d be very concerned and look to make a move.
Mickey Spagnola: I’m not ready to give up immediately, but I sure am putting together a contingency list of more veteran quarterbacks still available out there in free agency, while also projecting a few who might be cut along the way before the season begins. And that list likely won’t get anyone all that excited, especially since perennial veteran backup Josh McCown has decided to retire after 16 years and head into TV analyst work. The Cowboys claim they have wanted all along to develop a backup quarterback, well, now they must devote undivided energy during camp continuing the development of Cooper Rush and Mike White. While neither impressed during OTAs and the beginning of minicamp, their performances the final two days of minicamp improved greatly. We must remember while serving as backups last year, neither got in much actual work with the Cowboys’ offense the entire season. A snap here and a snap there. That’s it. And that doesn’t cut it if you want to stay sharp while playing the hardest position in sports. Let’s tap the panic brakes just a little and see how they perform during training camp and at least the first two-to-three preseason games. But rest assured, the Cowboys will have that list in their back pocket, as unimpressive as it might be.