ARLINGTON, Texas – With a week left in preseason, rookie quarterback Cooper Rush continues to make a strong case to be the next undrafted player on a Cowboys 53-man roster.
Just ask Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
“Well, I think so,” Jones said after Saturday’s 24-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium, “but we’ll see what comes up next week. But certainly he’s really playing impressively. His snaps are showing.”
Later in his postgame visit with the media, Jones provided an even stronger endorsement of Rush, saying, "I'm very impressed. We won't be waiving him. I'll tell you that right now."
The quarterback depth chart behind starter Dak Prescott doesn't appear finalized. But for the first time in training camp, Rush split second-team practice reps with incumbent Kellen Moore earlier in the week. And for the first time in preseason Saturday, it was Rush, not Moore, who entered the game after Prescott. Veteran Luke McCown did not receive a snap.
Rush played all but the final drive in the second half when Moore (2-of-4, 10 yards) came in. The rookie produced another ultra-efficient passing line: 12-of-12 for 115 yards with two touchdowns (pushing his preseason total to six) for a 143.1 passer rating.
He did commit his first turnover of preseason: blitzing cornerback Antonio Hamilton knocked the ball out of his hands and linebacker LaTroy Lewis recovered it for a 65-yard touchdown return.
But Rush’s response showed the Cowboys something else about their surprise rookie standout: resilience.
On the next possession, Rush drove the offense 85 yards for a touchdown, finding running back Ronnie Hillman on a swing pass from 7 yards out to cut the Raiders’ lead to three, 20-17.
The Cowboys took the lead for good on the next drive when Rush hit wide receiver Lance Lenoir in stride for a 44-yard score.
“Couldn’t wait to snap it. Got the look we wanted,” Rush said. “Knew he’d have one-on-one (coverage).”
Said Prescott: “He’s a next-play guy. I’m a fan of Cooper and just the way he goes about his business. I think that shows right there that he’s not paying attention to what’s already happened. He comes back and just runs the offense as he’s been coached to do and he does a great job of that.”[embeddedad0]
A little like Prescott a year ago, the rookie has carried himself with uncommon poise for a first-year player.
Rush earned more playing time with at least one touchdown in the Cowboys’ first three preseason games. But he didn’t treat his snaps any differently.
He’ll look to do the same in the final week of camp.