FRISCO, Texas — Owner and general manager Jerry Jones wants to make life difficult for the Cooper Rush Dallas Cowboys.
He wants Rush to play well as a backup quarterback, making him a contender for the starting role if Dak Prescott is healthy enough to play after undergoing right thumb surgery last week.
“Of course I will. Of course. It means we’ve won,” Jones said. “If he gets in there and plays like Prescott played, Rush? Plays well in these next games coming up? I’ll walk to New York to get that.”
As Jones spoke, thoughts of 2016 danced through his words. Prescott was a fourth-round pick that year, filling in for an injured Tony Romo. After losing the season opener that year, the Cowboys won a franchise-record 11 straight games, and Romo never regained his starting status. Can Rush do it?
“Well, I don’t know that,” Jones said. “I thought Doc Prescott could do it when he walked in and had a chance to do it, but you won’t find on the record that I said he did it.”
Rush will make his second straight start and the third of his career on Monday against the New York Giants. The Cowboys have won both of Rush’s starts on final-minute drives, including a 50-yard field goal in last week’s 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
There is a flaw in Jones’s thought process. Unlike Romo’s injury, when the Cowboys knew he would miss two months, Jones believes Prescott has a chance to return in October. 2 against the Washington generals.
“Well, of course we’d like Doc to be here next week,” Jones said. “That’s the thing. You do. But Doc and I want Rush to be here to win and get another win and another win. That’s back when Doc plays instead of Donny.” It was game by game. It’s not a long look to look back two months later. It was really game by game, almost series by series. . . So do I think it’s possible for Rush to come in here and play and win games like Prescott did when he took over for Romo? Yes. I do. Yes I do. I certainly think it’s possible.”
Prescott has yet to undergo surgery to remove the stitches from his thumb. He did some rehab and conditioning work during Thursday’s practice, which is open to the media.
Sources said Prescott could miss 6-8 weeks in the immediate aftermath of the season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though the club received positive news from the surgeon, possibly four weeks if not sooner.
“I’m telling you it’s not going to happen because nobody’s worried about getting (re)injured,” Jones said. “If we’re concerned because of his grip and the strength in his grip, but is it possible to play within four weeks and sleep with him at night without injury or injury, the answer is yes.”
But back to Rush’s potential as a keeper. Ezekiel Elliott laughed when asked about the outside stories that Prescott should read the rush tape.
“People on TV are going to get clicks, get views, they’re going to say the most outrageous things, and you’re going to get more attention. That’s their job. Who knows if they believe it?”
But when Prescott is healthy, what if Jones says he has a “dilemma”?
“He wants you to lick him and listen to him,” laughed Elliott. “It’s all marketing, man, it’s all marketing.”