14) Where No. 2 QB Ranks Among Position Battles?


(Editor's Note: Over the next month, the staff of DallasCowboys.com is looking to answer the 20 biggest questions facing the team heading into the 2022 season. Today, the staff writers discuss the backup quarterback spot.)

FRISCO, Texas – When Dak Prescott strained a muscle in his throwing shoulder in Oxnard last year, the backup quarterback competition between Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert jumped a few spots in the training camp storyline rankings.

This summer, there's been much less hype and discussion about backup QB. Gilbert is no longer on the roster. Rush won the No. 2 job and won his first and only career start last November filling in for Prescott. And most importantly, Prescott is enjoying a fully healthy offseason heading into this year's camp.

As we count down the days to Oxnard, the staff writers debate where the Cowboys stand at backup QB this time around.

14) Where No. 2 QB Ranks Among Position Battles?

Kyle Youmans: In terms of looking for outside help, it seems very low on the priority list. But as far as camp battles go, things will get very interesting. Cooper Rush showed last season he can win certain games in a backup capacity. He'll enter as the favorite. However, the talent level and intrigue of having a recent top-100 pick in Will Grier could present a challenge. Those two should be the key battle during camp, and don't be surprised if Grier looks more impressive in the preseason.

Mickey Spagnola: Not very high. Cooper Rush did a nice job stepping in for Dak Prescott last season after QB1 strained a calf muscle throwing the winning TD pass in overtime against the Patriots. Rush went to Minnesota the next week to lead the Cowboys to a 20-16 victory. And nothing seems to have changed with the QB rotation in the offseason, Rush taking the No. 2 snaps, Will Grier up next, followed by Ben DiNucci. Unless something dramatically changes in training camp or preseason games, don't see either Grier or DiNiucci overtaking Rush, who is in the final year of his contract.

Rob Phillips: Backup quarterback is always worth monitoring daily in practice because the No. 2 guy is literally one bad play away from temporarily taking the keys to the franchise. But the competition itself isn't as high on the list for me as left guard, wide receiver, swing tackle and the defensive line rotation. Cooper Rush is the incumbent backup and probably the favorite to retain the job. Unforeseen circumstances can change that thinking, of course – an injury, struggles in camp and preseason games – but Rush has multiple advantages over Will Grier and Ben DiNucci. He's been in some form of this offense seemingly forever (since 2017) and most importantly, he built more equity with coaches and teammates by winning that start in Minnesota on Halloween night. Grier is a talented guy – former third-round pick – and probably benefited from a full year in this offense. But I'll go with Coop again.

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