ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys planned to split the backup quarterback snaps between Cooper Rush and Kellen Moore entering Saturday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, but then Rush, the undrafted rookie, struggled to get the offense moving and on his third possession he saw a sack/fumble returned for a touchdown.
What better way to see how Rush would respond to adversity than that?
On the next possession, Rush threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Hillman, although the drive was aided by a pass-interference penalty on a fourth-down play. Two possessions later, he threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Lance Lenoir.
“We wanted to see how he reacted and I was really happy that he came back and bounced back after that turnover,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said.
Rush finished the game completing 12 of 13 passes for 115 yards, and since he took the snaps right after Dak Prescott in the third quarter, it shows the Cowboys are serious about him potentially being the backup when the season starts.
At the very least he has earned a spot on the 53-man roster if not the No. 2 job.
“That’s a great question and I just don’t have the answer whether I need to see more or I’ve seen it,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “So I don’t want to get there. But I’m very impressed and we won’t be waiving him. I can tell you right now.”
Rush and Moore split second-team reps in practice last week for the first time. Just when the moment might have been too big, he answered when the coaches wanted to see it most.
“Quarterbacks have to do it in general and I pride myself on being able to have the next-play mentality,” Rush said. “The team needs it. You need it as a quarterback. So you definitely have to just block things out and it’s literally the ‘next play,’ every time.”
In four preseason games, Rush has completed 38 of 51 passes for 398 yards with six touchdown passes and no interceptions.
To Jason Witten, Rush’s play is a lot like a former undrafted free agent.
“Gosh, just his playmaking ability and he just continues to find ways, whether it’s running the ball and getting first downs, big-time throws,” Witten said. “This is three or four weeks in a row and really all training camp. Every opportunity he gets, he makes plays and so I’m proud of him. He reminds me a lot of a young (Tony) Romo when you think when he was young and just his playmaking ability, big-time throws. He’s had a great camp.”