Last season, the Cowboys’ third-string quarterback in training camp finished the year starting in a playoff game. Having experienced that, could the franchise have a new appreciation for that third spot on the depth chart? Will they be more inclined to keep a third quarterback than in the past?
For many seasons during Tony Romo’s tenure, Dallas only kept one veteran backup behind him on the 53-man roster. This year, with Dak Prescott firmly entrenched as starter and Kellen Moore almost assured as his backup, its assumed that the Cowboys won’t keep a third QB and use that roster spot at another position.
Zac Dysert and Cooper Rush will be with the team to open training camp. Today, I thought we’d take a look at both passers to see if either of them has any potential to force their way onto the roster.
A seventh-round pick by the Broncos in 2013, Dysert has been with six NFL teams over the last four years. He made Denver’s roster as a rookie but then landed on the practice squad in 2014. He has been waived and claimed and waived again, bouncing around practice squads before finally being signed by the Cowboys last June.
The strong-armed, 6’3″ quarterback has yet to appear in a real game but has intriguing physical tools. He was once called a smaller version of Ben Roethlisberger by one scout. That he’s still on the Cowboys’ radar after four years says something about his perceived potential.
Dysert’s perceived weaknesses in the past were being careless with the football and forcing throws. If time has given him better sense of managing the game, his athletic ability could lead to a productive camp and some nice preseason games. It’s doubtful that he could push Kellen Moore, but Dallas signed Dysert the minute he became available. They must see something they like.
An undrafted rookie, Rush signed with the Cowboys shortly after the draft and was with them through rookie camps and all other summer practices. The Cowboys also signed rookie Austin Appleby from Florida but eventually released him to sign Dysert. If nothing, Rush survived that first potential end to his Cowboys career.
According to one scouting report, Rush sounds like a clone of Kellen Moore. He is praised for his intelligence and ability to study and read the game. His major weakness is arm strength. Their combine results were even similar; Rush was slightly quicker in the three-cone and shuttle drills but otherwise their numbers were almost equal. One positive is for Cooper is a more NFL-preferred body at 6’3″ and over 220 lbs; Kellen Moore is three inches shorter.
Because of their similarities, Rush isn’t likely to threaten Moore’s roster spot given the difference in experience. If Cooper earns any kind of job in 2017 it won’t be beyond the practice squad. He could be a good asset there with his film study, though, and might be a contender for the backup job in future years.