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Cooper Rush’s Practice Role Increases, Cowboys’ Concern Over Kellen Moore?

Sean Martin

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Cooper Rush's Practice Role Increases, Cowboys' Concern Over Kellen Moore?

It is safe to say that fans of the Dallas Cowboys have a different view of the backup quarterback position on this team compared the other second QBs from around the NFL. A seemingly never-ending sequence of Tony Romo injuries at the end of his Cowboys' career saw talented Dallas teams fall off entirely thanks to incompetent QB2 play.

Cowboys Nation may easily forget how close 2016 was to being another one of these lost seasons, as Kellen Moore was in line to replace the injured Romo prior to his broken leg suffered at training camp that introduced Dak Prescott to the world.

Now, after spending a year helping Dak become the budding star he is, Moore's job as Prescott's primary backup is under fire thanks to UDFA sensation Cooper Rush out of Central Michigan.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cooper Rush getting second-team reps during team drills

The Cowboys returned to their headquarters at The Star to resume training camp on Monday, and Rush made headlines by earning some second-team reps following an eight of nine passing performance against the Colts that saw Cooper throw his third and fourth touchdowns of this preseason.

While the Cowboys organization, from Stephen Jones down to Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, still supports Kellen Moore as a knowledgeable backup to have around with a terrific eye for the game, his physical limitations in actually executing the on-field duties of the QB2 role have stood out when compared to Cooper Rush's dazzling and steady performances.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Cooper Rush has been awfully good so far through three preseason games:

With tough roster decisions to come for a Cowboys team finally starting a healthy and young quarterback, keeping an experienced QB that's only played in three regular season games and completed 58.7% of his passes over that time with six interceptions is far from ideal when an even younger option is outperforming Moore for Dallas on the field thus far.

Ever since the Hall of Fame game, Cooper Rush's confidence has jumped off the tape as a QB that's barely had the opportunity to work with the starting offense around him. Rush's ability to compete paired with his natural arm talent warrant - at the very least - a fair chance for the undrafted four-year college starter to continue to develop with better talent around him at practice.

Kellen Moore is a finished product at this point in his career. He is a quarterback that will not be able to help the Cowboys win any games on the field should he be called on, only helping this team privately with his respected work in the quarterbacks room and team meetings. The same cannot be said about Cooper Rush at the moment, but a spot may open up much easier on the roster for a QB that could some day be expected to play at a high level if needed.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Thank you. I have heard that there are certain folks within the organization that aren't happy with his play. https://t.co/lGoubkv8Hu

The truth of this matter is that, come September 10th, we'll be forgetting quickly about the preseason debate between Kellen Moore and Cooper Rush - no matter what the team decides to do. The Cowboys' 2017 hopes are firmly entrenched in QB Dak Prescott, and finding ourselves this deep down the roster to discuss competition for spots on America's Team only speaks to the overwhelming talent that Prescott's team as a whole has entering the new year.

Whether or not this will include the clear talent that Cooper Rush has shown through three preseason games is hard to determine though, even after an added move of confidence by the Cowboys to promote Rush's reps in practice and question Kellen Moore's home in Dallas.

Tell us what you think about "Cooper Rush’s Practice Role Increases, Cowboys’ Concern Over Kellen Moore?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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7 Comments
  • tom

    so begin season with 3 QBs and then by game #10, cut Moore and add another player due to need

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Thanks for reading, Tom! Moore is also practice squad eligible, which is tempting to save a spot on the 53.

  • Travis Diggs

    Finally yall discuss this Finally Cooper gets some love and it only took 3 games Linehan needs to stop thinking with his heart and coach with his brain. Kellen Moore has never been good but for some reason the only people who thinks he’s talented are people in Dallas Its Amazing to me That this statue of a qb was resigned and is still in the league. If he’s cut or when he’s cut , no other team will be dumb enough to pick him up, not even the browns or jets. After Rush outplays him again in the next two games They need to cut ties No matter how much Linehan feels about his step son

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Very well said Travis. I think the Moore statues are found in Boise, Idaho though. At least based on our comment sections here typically when we talk about him like I did here. Agree with what you have to say about Rush. Thanks for reading!

  • Russ_Te

    Moore could win a game… ;^)

    Keep in mind he has been out 1.5 years with a broken leg, no doubt is still on the crawl back from that. I think he will look better from here.

    Rush – what a walk on. I’m not exposing him to waivers, I’m keeping 3 QB’s and probably just Swaim, Gathers & Witten at TE.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      James Hanna is on this football team. So if that’s keeping Cooper Rush off the team, it is time to look at Moore’s spot. Could he win “a game” or is he a guy with any upside to not be one of the least talented backups in the league?

      • Russ_Te

        Rush almost certainly makes the team from his production, too risky to expose him to waivers. But I doubt Moore is cut, so the spot comes from somewhere.

        Moore would have to implode in these last 2 games, then they’d probably still go get a veteran. I think he’s going up after a lot of rust to start this preseason.

Star Blog

The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up

Brian Martin

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Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle Heating Up 1

Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.

The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.

As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.

Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.

Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.

Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.

Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.

I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.

All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.

How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?



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Star Blog

Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?

Brian Martin

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Decision not to Play Dan Bailey against the 49ers a Concern? 1

With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.

Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.

I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.

I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?

Dan Bailey

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.

Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.

Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.

Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?



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Star Blog

Week 1 NFC East Predictions and Cowboys Season Outlook

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Week 1 NFC East Predictions and Cowboys Season Outlook

Let me start this article with a strong opening statement: The Cowboys will be better in 2018 than they were in 2017. There's been a lot of talk about the lack of a true No. 1 receiver. But when we break it down, the current setup will most likely play out better for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.

The Dak Stats

Certain quarterbacks shine when they have that go-to playmaker. We're talking about guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Ocho Cinco, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Dez Bryant. But other QBs do better at reading the defense and quickly adapting to what is given. Dak Prescott is the latter breed of QB.

Let’s do a quick numbers exercise to prove this.

When Prescott is targeting 8 or more receivers throughout the game, his passer rating jumps from 86.1 (targeting less than 8) to 104.5. He passes for almost 50 yards more per game and his touchdown to interception ratio drastically improves from 21-13 to 24-4.

Most importantly, when he targets at least 8 different receivers, the Cowboys are 14-2. When he targets less than 8, the team is just .500 at 8-8.

Without a doubt, Prescott is much better at adjusting to what the defense is giving him. He just isn’t one of those guys who can successfully "force" the ball (like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees). Not feeling the pressure of having to get the ball into the hands of the star playmaker will give this offense a new kind of depth in 2018.

Yes, losing Jason Witten hurts, much more so in my opinion than not having Dez.

Questions Still Loom

This is still the Cowboys' biggest concern on offense. There is some great depth. We have Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, and the young stud out of Stanford, Dalton Schultz. But between the three who have any NFL experience, there are only 9 catches between them. I must say that Dalton, with his 4.75 40-yard dash, has a legitimate shot at seeing a lot of playing time in his rookie campaign and could become an impact player with his size (6’5”, 244-lbs) and speed.

But despite the battle for TE being wide open, and debates about whether or not the team needs a No. 1 receiver, the Cowboys are still expected to give the Eagles a run for their money in the NFC East. Here are the odds on the defending NFC East champions and how (although early) it is expected to shake out:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles -167
  2. Dallas Cowboys +350
  3. New York Giants +650
  4. Washington Redskins +750

NFC East Week 1 Predictions

The Cowboys open the season in a difficult road game against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have been listed as 2.5-point favorites (follow the Cowboys NFL Odds here all season long) which isn’t surprising considering they are a tough team playing at home. You might be thinking, "crap, we're opening up as underdogs?" Don’t worry too much; it actually bodes fairly well because the lines-makers generally give a 3-point advantage to the home team. This means that they actually handicap the Cowboys to be a half-point favorite on a neutral field and a 3.5-point favorite in Arlington.

The Redskins open their season in Arizona against the Cardinals. The line is set at a pick ‘em (meaning there is no point spread; it's anyone's game). But, looking at the 'Skins and Cardinals, I think Washington gets disappointed in Week 1 and starts their season with a loss.

The Giants get to test their new offensive line and see if they were right in continuing to place their faith in Eli Manning against the best defense in the league. The Jags are 3-point favorites at MetLife stadium. This means the Jags are actually 6-points better. I do think that the Giants will be vastly improved this season, but they are also going to open with a loss.

The Eagles don’t have it easy either, but they will probably pull out the win at home as 4-point favorites against the Dirty Birds on Thursday Night Football. Their defense is just too good. Atlanta's road offense scored just 21 points per game last year while Philly scores 28 on average at home. The Eagles' home defense has been downright nasty, only allowing 12 points per game in Philadelphia.

This will be a two-horse race for the division between the Eagles and Cowboys. And even if the Eagles win the East, the Cowboys will wildcard into the playoffs.



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