If the Cowboys are going to have any controversy, Mike McCarthy is going to make sure he’s the focus of it.
Less than 24 hours after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he wants Cooper Rush to cast a shadow of a doubt on who the Cowboys starting quarterback is while Dak Prescott is out with a thumb injury, McCarthy rebuked Jones’ comments and said, without question, Prescott is the starter in Dallas.
“Of course I would. Of course. That means we’d have won,” Jones said when asked if he wants Rush to create a QB controversy in Dallas, per ESPN. “If he comes in there and plays as well as Prescott played, Rush? Played that well over these next games ahead? I’d walk to New York to get that.”
McCarthy simply wasn’t having it.
“Clearly, everybody in our locker room and everybody in the building, Jerry included, Dak is our quarterback,” McCarthy said, per The Fort Worth Star Telegram. “We want Cooper to be successful as possible. So, I think it stops right there.”
Jones, to be clear, isn’t bullish on Rush’s chances. When asked if the quarterback could repeat what Prescott did in 2016 when he wrested the starting job from an injured Tony Romo by winning 11 straight games after a Week 1 loss, Jones downplayed the possibility.
“Well, I don’t know that,” Jones said. “You can’t find on record where I said I thought Dak Prescott could do it when he stepped in and had the chance to do that. But he did it.”
McCarthy and Jones have an interesting relationship. Jones fired what seemed to be a shot across the bow for McCarthy this offseason by saying he has “choices” about the Cowboys’ head coach. With Sean Payton doing analysis at Fox, every McCarthy-Jones comment seems to be amplified given how often Payton has been tied to Dallas.
Basically, with regards to Prescott, Jones is trying to say: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”
How long is Dak Prescott out?
The Cowboys are 1-1 on the year after a miserable season opener against the Buccaneers, but Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones doesn’t think they’ll mosey along without Prescott for too long.
Per 105.3 The Fan, Jones said “he’s got a chance maybe the third or fourth game. We’ll see what happens.”
To be explicit, that means three or four games since the injury. Meaning Week 4 vs. the Commanders or Week 5 vs. the Rams. Undoubtedly the Cowboys would like to have him back against the Super Bowl champions. On the late side, that means it could be Week 6 against the Eagles.
Rush will have a chance to prove himself, but it’s really too early in the season to give an idea of exactly what he’s going up against pass defense wise.
With games upcoming against the surprising Giants, the not as surprising Commanders, and the roller coaster Rams, things could go either way for Rush. But don’t expect to see him starting once Prescott is healthy with the timeline he has.
|3||New York Giants||2-0|
|5||Los Angeles Rams||1-1|
With the Cowboys sitting at 1-1 and two NFC East teams already at 2-0, their schedule holds some early weight. The Giants have impressed under Brian Daboll so far with a top-10 pass defense, and the Eagles have been among the upper echelon of NFL teams as a whole this year with Jalen Hurts being particularly impressive.
Can Rush win the job? Anything is possible. But McCarthy’s staunchness shouldn’t be particularly surprising. Prescott is the Cowboys quarterback, full stop. With that being said, who can blame Jones for just throwing a vote of confidence Rush’s way? What he’s saying really translated to wanting to see the Cowboys succeed no matter who’s under center. In his heart of hearts he likely knows Prescott represents the Cowboys, even if he wouldn’t say it out loud.