FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys might have surprised some observers by making rookie Cooper Rush the backup quarterback behind Dak Prescott for the first time this season at San Francisco.
Not Rush, who was told by the coaching staff during the bye week that he'd be the active backup against the 49ers.
Making the decision then, albeit during a shorter week, gave the undrafted rookie a few more practice reps before the Cowboys began preparing for the 49ers in earnest the following week.
"Just a couple extra practices and a little extra time to prepare is always nice," Rush said after last Sunday's 40-10 win.
Rush entered the game in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys in command and completed 1 of 2 passes for 2 yards on two drives.
The Cowboys still value Moore as a backup option and a sounding board for Prescott and Rush. But they've been impressed with Rush's development since the offseason. Near the end of preseason, he began splitting second-team reps with Moore.
"We felt Cooper did a really good job in the preseason and training camp and was worthy of an opportunity," head coach Jason Garrett said. "The discussions we had as a staff going into the season was that it was probably better to have him as the third quarterback at the outset, being that he's a rookie. Kellen is more experienced, so let's make Cooper the third and Kellen the second and give Kellen the role early on in the season, with the idea that over time we'd like to give Cooper the opportunity.
"We got to the bye week, we gave him a little more work in our extra couple practice days, and we just felt like it was the right time for him to do it. We thought he handled himself well in the game."
Rush said he had "a lot of excitement just to get out there" for his NFL debut – and he says he's made "major improvements" since signing with the Cowboys after the draft.
"I feel comfortable running things," he said. "Seeing the looks on defense is where I've grown the most, I think. Every day I'm learning something new. Just keep taking notes and keep learning."