ARLINGTON, Texas – Decisions, decisions.
That's what the NFL calendar dictates time of the year.
As the preseason ends and 53-man rosters needing to be finalized by next week, the Cowboys have many of those decisions to make, but perhaps some clarity was found after Friday's 27-26 win against the Seahawks to round out the exhibition portion of their schedule.
Sure, the running backs have impressed since late July, as have the young group of receivers, and who could forget about the countless defensive guys? But what position did we omit?
Say hi Will Grier, your coaching staff is looking at you.
If we rewind back in time just one season ago at this time, Cooper Rush ended the preseason on a high note and was able to wrestle the backup quarterback spot away from Garrett Gilbert. Rush went on to play in five games and even started once against the Vikings in a primetime win.
That game for Rush likely put him in the lead heading into this year's camp. But neither Grier nor Rush had been particularly inspiring this preseason, including Grier battling a groin injury over the last week.
Grier was slated to take the majority of the reps on Friday, and he did. But it was Rush who played the opening series.
Make of that what you will. Whether it was because the Cowboys feel that Rush is already their No. 2 quarterback and didn't need to see much more from him or they wanted to see what Grier had, one thing is certain: Grier undoubtedly made the seat underneath Rush a tad bit warmer.
And he would tell you he's done enough to earn a spot on that 53-man roster.
"I do," Grier said when asked if he thought he'd earned his spot. "It's not up to me, but I do."
After a slow start, Grier eventually hit his stride for 88 passing yards and two touchdowns, including an incredible pass to Brandon Smith for a toe-dragging score in the endzone and 26 more rushing yards.
"I started slow but overall played well," Grier said. "I took care of the ball, moved the ball down the field, scored and gave us a chance. I think with a greater sample size you'd be able to see more, but at the end of the day I put it all out there and that's all I can do."
What changed and helped him flip the switch alongside the rest of the offense? Well, the reps help, certainly. But the better questions is who helped him flip that switch.
Mike Brumage. You're forgiven if that name does not ring a bell initially, of course. Brumage has been Grier's mental coach since his days at West Virginia and still goes back to what Brumage taught during his time as a Mountaineer and in search of new advice as a pro.
"A lot of it is just being present and focusing on what you control," Grier said. "And it sounds really simple. It sounds cliche, but really diving into that and being good at that makes a difference."
The story is great for Grier, undoubtedly. And he played as well as he could have when it mattered most in order to stake his claim on a roster spot. The fact of the matter is the final roster crunch is sure to be coming in the coming days and logistics and reality will absolutely factor in.
For context, while Rush was the backup last season and earned the spot, the truth is the Cowboys know what they have in him, and they don't have to put him on waivers. Meaning if they moved on, they could simply resign him to the practice squad.
On the flip side of that coin, Grier would have to go on waivers and there are a handful of teams that might be willing to take the gamble on him. He appears to be a bit more of a dynamic and athletic option compared to Rush. Though Rush seems to be the prototypical backup that knows the offense and won't cost you a game.
So, who wins the second quarterback spot behind Dak Prescott?
In reality, it's anybody's to lose. But Will Grier has left no stone unturned in his pursuit of the gig. And his Friday performance might've been just enough to make the movers and shakers in the front office and on the coaching staff to stop and think a little bit longer.