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Cooper Rush Promoted To Backup QB; Two Veteran DEs Sitting Out

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Cowboys made a change at quarterback heading into their Week 7 game against the 49ers.

No, it's not Dak Prescott. The Cowboys' regular starter is healthy and active, and is set to make his 23rd career start on Sunday. But behind him, the Cowboys have elevated rookie quarterback Cooper Rush to be his backup.

Rush will take Kellen Moore's place on the game day roster. The Cowboys' seven inactives for Week 7 are Moore, Darren McFadden, Chidobe Awuzie, Justin Durant, Damontre' Moore, Byron Bell and Benson Mayowa.

The Cowboys' obvious preference would be to not use their backup quarterback, regardless of who it is. But it's still a bit of a surprising move, as they had been using Kellen Moore as their backup quarterback all season. Rush's solid performances in recent practices may have prompted the coaching staff to give him a look.

It feels like ancient history at this point, but Rush is on the roster in the first place because of a phenomenal performance during the preseason. The undrafted rookie, coming out of Central Michigan, completed 38 of 51 total passes in four preseason games, racking up 398 yards and six touchdowns in the process.

Rush's impressive month was enough to earn him a surprise roster spot, and plenty of fans and media alike called for the rookie to take Moore's spot as the No. 2 quarterback. Seven weeks later, the Cowboys' coaches have opted to give it a try.

Quarterbacks tend to grab the headlines, but the Cowboys' other inactives offer a few surprises, as well. With a full allotment of defensive linemen to choose from, the Cowboys opted to sit down two of their veteran pass rushers in Benson Mayowa and Damontre' Moore.

Mayowa led the team in sacks in 2016, but he has just six tackles and no sacks through five games this season. Damontre' Moore returned from a suspension in Week 3 and has five tackles on the season.

Justin Durant is also inactive after appearing on the injury report with a groin problem on Friday. Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens are both active for this game, however, which should help the Dallas defense offset that loss.

Tyron Smith was once again listed on the injury report this week, but he is active for this game -- which means the Cowboys had a decision to make among their other offensive linemen. Byron Bell will be inactive for this week, which means Chaz Green is the likely backup at tackle if something should happen during the game. Jonathan Cooper is the likely starter at left guard.

McFadden will also once again sit, as Ezekiel Elliott is available for this game after receiving a temporary restraining order on his NFL suspension. Awuzie was ruled out on Friday with a hamstring injury.


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