Cooper Rush is proving to be a gamer early on in his Dallas Cowboys career.
Rush, the undrafted rookie quarterback out of Central Michigan, had the most impressive quarterback performance of the night against the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. He completed 9-of-11 passes for 104 yards with a touchdown and a 136.4 passer rating.
That’s a significant improvement from his Hall of Fame game stat line when he went 9-of-18 passing for 87 yards with at touchdown and an 82.4 passer rating.
“I was really impressed with Cooper,” quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said. “He was seeing the field extremely well, making good decisions, throwing the ball accurately. He’s had an ability to step his game up into games over what he does in practice, which is a good trait.”
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The most impressive throw by Rush happened in the third quarter when he hit tight end Rico Gathers down the left seam for a 25-yard touchdown. That was the only TD on the night for the Cowboys.
“It was fantastic,” Wilson said. “And the best thing about it was his eye discipline. He got the safety to move away from Rico, looked him off, and then made a perfect throw to Rico.”
Rush certainly had a more impressive showing than veterans Kellen Moore and Luke McCown, as each had more incompletions than completions.
Moore started and didn’t lead the offense to a first down until the second quarter. He was 8-for-17 for 69 yards. McCown, meanwhile, went 6-for-13 for 31 yards and lost a fumble.
With running back Zeke Elliott suspended for six games offensive coordinator Scott Linehan does not believe anything will change (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).
Moore isn’t in jeopardy of losing his backup job, but Rush is making a case to be the team’s third quarterback or at least a practice squad player.
“It felt good to be out there,” Rush said. “Capitalized on time we had out there and made some plays and guys made some big catches.”
Asked how he can win a job with this team, Rush said: “Continue to keep building in practice and, at games, show I’m a guy who can help this team win.”
Rush has shown signs of that in his minimal exposure to date. Plus, he’s ingratiated himself well within the organization.
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Coaches appreciate Rush’s football smarts and his willingness to study and prepare for every opportunity given to him. His teammates appreciate his uncanny ability to imitate coach Jason Garrett.
Rush and Garrett are both redheads, and Rush did a spot-on impression of Garrett in front of the team. At least his impression was much better in some veterans’ minds than his attempt to sing “Toes” by the Zac Brown Band.
“A lot of guys said I needed to do it,” said Rush, who was encouraged by players such as Dak Prescott and Jason Witten. “I got some backing from guys. [Garrett] was laughing, so we’re good.
“Everyone says I look just like him with the hair. A lot of guys wanted to see it.”
After the Cowboys preseason loss to the LA Rams, coach Jason Garrett reacts to the news of running back Ezekiel Elliott's suspension (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).