While he didn't throw a touchdown in last night's preseason victory, Will Grier still looked like the best backup quarterback on the Cowboys roster. Grier's performance intensified the competition with Cooper Rush just a little over a week before final cuts.
Grier did have the best stats in Los Angeles but that wasn't a tall order. His 98 passing yards on 60% completions were enough on a night when the Cowboys' defense and special teams were the stars of the game.
But while having far from gaudy numbers, Grier displayed traits in his play that have been sorely lacking in Cooper Rush's appearances this preseason. He showed faster processing in the pocket, moving through reads quickly and delivering the ball with confidence.
Last week in Denver, Rush was discouraging in his handling of the offense. While he did have some adversity from poor pass protection and drops by receivers, the sixth-year veteran didn't show you the kind of poise that his experience would suggest.
Grier sat out that game with a minor groin injury. With only Rush and Ben DiNucci playing against the Broncos, Will's stock went up as the other two backup candidates struggled. Even DiNucci looked a little flashier than Rush in Denver, increasing the anticipation for what Grier might show us.
Last night was our first look at Will Grier in a live game with the Cowboys. He spent last year on the bench after being claimed off waivers during final cuts.
During the roughly two quarters of football we got from him, Grier looked the part of a capable backup QB. He did what you'd expect from a former 3rd-round pick competing with prospects who were either undrafted (Rush) or just a 7th-rounder (DiNucci) themselves.
I don't want to be guilty of underestimating Cooper Rush. He's been proving people wrong for over five seasons now, finding unexpected longevity in Dallas and showing up big in last year's victory over the Vikings. His longtime working relationship with Dak Prescott is something that the team won't discard lightly.
But Rush is still an artifact from the Jason Garrett era; a holdover who Dallas dumped in 2020 for Andy Dalton and only brought back when injuries forced their hand midseason. Cooper wasn't expected to be QB2 in 2021 either, but he took advantage after DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert underwhelmed that summer.
Mike McCarthy's regime has been trying to upgrade the backup QB position since its arrival in Dallas. They won't hesitate to go with Will Grier if they think he's the better player. And even if Grier comes out on top, Rush could easily stick around as QB3 or on the practice squad.
The key was Will Grier finally getting on the field and validating our intrigue. That happened last night and hopefully continues this Friday against the Seahawks. It would be especially nice if Grier got into the game early than Rush, allowing him to work with better talent while trying to showcase his ability.