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Mailbag: Why Not This Route At Backup QB?


I have heard so much about the backup quarterback situation and need some clarification. Cooper Rush had been the backup to Dak since both came into the league and he was also on the roster with the current OC. He performed well enough during preseason and I feel like he is being written off. He knows Kellen Moore's playbook better than either of the backup options. What am I missing? — BRUCE HOLDEN / GLEN BURNIE, MD

David: I guess my answer would be that Cooper Rush was a project of the previous coaching staff, more so than this one. So he doesn't have the same sponsors he had in previous years. Remember, he was cut by this coaching staff last spring and wasn't brought back until after Dak Prescott & Andy Dalton both got hurt last year. You're correct that we shouldn't write him off, I just don't think he has the best odds of the group.

Rob: Barring a roster addition, Garrett Gilbert is the favorite to back up Dak, so I understand the question. Last year Gilbert got the start against the Steelers in part because he had joined the team 17 days earlier than Rush. I agree that Rush has more time in Moore's system, and he's done some good things in past preseasons, but he also lacks in regular-season experience (three career pass attempts). Moore and Gilbert went to training camp together in Detroit back in 2015 when Moore was a player, so there was a previous work connection there, however brief. The way things are structured now, both Gilbert and Rush should get some preseason snaps. But there's always a chance, the rest of this year, that the Cowboys look outside the roster for backup competition.

A freak hamstring injury before Tyler Biadasz was supposed to take the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers took him out of the game, and Joe Looney retook the starting role that day and for the season's remainder. Why did the Cowboys, knowing Biadasz is the potential future, allow him to play just one offensive snap in the final eight games? — STEVE WADDELL / SUFFOLK, VA

David: Looking toward the big picture is important, but it's also not everything. The Cowboys were trying to win games and reach the playoffs last year, and we have heard in the time since that Andy Dalton was more comfortable working with Joe Looney. Quarterback's preference is a big factor, and it goes a long way toward explaining why Biadasz didn't take the job back.

Rob: Well, the question really is why Biadasz only got one snap in the last four games, because he missed four games with the hamstring injury you mentioned. The other factor here was continuity. After Zack Martin hurt his calf on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys finally settled on a makeshift starting offensive line in the final month of the season: Brandon Knight, Connor Williams, Looney, Connor McGovern and Terence Steele. They had so much turnover on the line due to injury and tried to stabilize the starting five as they pushed for the playoffs in that final month. But based on the lack of center depth at this point in the summer, it's pretty clear they're counting on Biadasz in Year 2.

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