We're only halfway through the Dallas Cowboys' 2019 preseason schedule but it's already clear that Cooper Rush has beaten Mike White for the backup quarterback job. With the way White struggled in last night's win over the Rams, one now has to wonder if he's even going to make the 53-man roster.
It's been a while since the Cowboys only kept two quarterbacks on the team; in 2015, they only had Tony Romo and Brandon Weeden in Week One. It may very well have been the events of that season, with Romo's injury and the QB carousel featuring Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore, that prompted Dallas to starting keeping three passers.
Even with Dak Prescott's durability thus far, Dallas has carried two quarterbacks last two seasons. Cooper Rush has been the constant feature, and then it was Kellen Moore in 2017 and Mike White last year.
But with Rush now taking a firm grip on the backup job, how much do the Cowboys really need White or any other #3 QB on the 2019 roster?
Being a 5th-round draft pick doesn't guarantee anything. We've seen 5th-round guys get cut in their rookie season, so there's zero protection there for White this year. Dallas is only going to look at value and upside now.
In his 2019 preseason appearances thus far, Mike White has completed 16 of 33 passes for 117 yards, one interception, and one fumble. He's looked rattled when pressure comes and unable to improvise.
Even if Dallas still thinks White could settle down and be an NFL quarterback, they have other needs to address throughout their roster. Those 53 spots are valuable and, at this point, it's hard to see how Mike deserves one of them.
The only reason that the Cowboys would need to keep White on the 53 is if they were worried about someone else poaching him off the practice squad. That seems unlikely, but even if it happened they probably wouldn't lose much sleep over it now.
Dallas has plenty of other uses for White's roster spot. It could allow them to keep an an extra player among their deep pool of talent at WR or DE, or hang on to an extra OL if there's any worries about Tyron Smith and Zack Martin's back issues.
Or what about CB, where Michael Jackson is a 5th-round rookie but getting outplayed by Donovan Olumba? Dallas could use that spot to go long and let Jackson get a year of physical development but still hang on to the superior player in Olumba.
There are still two more games for Mike White to change trajectory, but right now he's clearly surpassed by Cooper Rush and could be on his way off the roster completely. How will he respond to that kind of pressure?