(At long last, the NFL season is in sight. After a long offseason, the Cowboys are set to depart for training camp on July 24. During this final month before they begin practice in Oxnard, Calif., the staff of DallasCowboys.com is going to preview the 20 biggest questions facing the Cowboys heading into 2018.)
FRISCO, Texas – Quarterback controversies make headlines, but that's just not an issue in Dallas.
Dak Prescott enters Year 3 as the Cowboys' unquestioned starter, looking to build on a rare 33 starts over his first two seasons in the league. The only unknown on the depth chart is Prescott's backup.
Is it Cooper Rush, who moved to the No. 2 spot as an undrafted rookie last year? Or is it Mike White, the team's fifth-round draft pick out of Western Kentucky? That's the next item in our preseason preview:
19) Who will be this year's backup quarterback?
Lindsay Draper: Oh, what an offseason question. And as soon as I start to think, 'Is this really an important topic at the moment? C'mon, let's talk about the juicy stuff' – I think about the Super Bowl champions from a few months ago. (Sure wouldn't want to be in the middle of that training camp drama!) But back to the Cowboys – I believe backup QB absolutely belongs to Cooper Rush going into training camp. He's had a year with the club. He shined last preseason. He's comfortable, he's very much a Jason Garrett type of person and player. And although it isn't by a ton, he's the most experienced behind Dak Prescott. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
Mickey Spagnola: Until we see something significantly different, this season's backup quarterback will be the same as last season's backup quarterback, Cooper Rush. A lot has been made of the Cowboys selecting White out of Western Kentucky in the fifth round, but nothing during the OTAs and minicamp suggest he is ready to replace Rush. Now this is not to say Rush is irreplaceable, but as we learned last summer, Rush seems to perform much better when in team drills, scrimmages and preseason games than he does during simple practice drills. But still one of those competitive situations to watch in camp.
Bryan Broaddus: If Rush doesn't play as well as he did last year and it's a dead heat between him and White, would the coaches go with the rookie? There is more of an investment in White than there is with Rush, so to get him that experience could be in their plans going forward. What I have noticed in the OTAs and minicamps is that Rush hasn't been as accurate with his throws, so maybe Rush is feeling a little pressure? I thought White had some good practices early but by the time they got to the final minicamp, he was having some accuracy issues as well. I am going to give the early nod to Cooper Rush for two reasons: He appears to be a gamer, which is why he won the job last season, and he has a year of experience under his belt.
Rob Phillips:I agree with Bryan that Rush is a gamer, and based on his experience in the system, I wouldn't be surprised if he hangs onto the backup job. But I think Mike White has the tools to win the competition at some point this year – maybe not by the end of training camp, but perhaps with his performance in practice during the season. Remember, Rush didn't overtake Kellen Moore until October last year. White wasn't perfect this offseason, but here's what I like about him: He's poised, and he showed in college that he can make plays downfield while still protecting the football. In two seasons at Western Kentucky, he threw 63 touchdown passes with only 15 interceptions. If you're the backup, Line One is limiting mistakes. My gut feeling is he'll get better and better with more reps, as Rush did last year.