When people talk about backup quarterbacks, too often it gets phrased like: If the starting quarterback is lost for the season, can the backup do the job? They’re thinking of the Nick Foles model. More likely is needing a player that can get you through a few games if the starter has an injury that isn’t season-ending. Those few games could be the difference between making the playoffs or not.
Ever since Dak Prescott has taken over in Dallas, the team hasn’t had to worry about that. Prescott is an amazingly durable quarterback, especially considering he will run the ball, and he will hold it too long on occasion and take a hit or two. Even with Prescott's remarkable health, the Cowboys need a plan in place if he had to miss a few games. That plan appears to be either Cooper Rush or Mike White.
To keep the Cowboys from looking outside of the organization, one of those two will need to perform in the preseason.
Ask people throughout the Cowboys organization if the backup to Prescott for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the New York Giants is on the roster, and you get mostly the same answer: Maybe.
If Rush or White can perform well this preseason, then they can answer one of the only looming questions out of training camp. If they don’t, then you have to wonder if the Cowboys would enter a season with such high expectations with such great inexperience at the game’s most important position.
Rush has the advantage as of now and will likely run with the 2s while White will come in later in the game with the 3s. Rush has the experience edge and has one quality preseason in his favor, but last year’s preseason was not good. Rush appears to have the edge in going through his progressions and getting the ball out while White has the bigger arm and can make all the throws.
Tonight marks the beginning of their true competition. Jason Garrett wants to see them run the offense, command the huddle and generally act like an NFL quarterback, a player that can be trusted. For quarterback coach Jon Kitna, he wants to see them compete and produce.
“That’s their season,” quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna said. “I never understood the backup quarterback that went in and played slow and used the whole play clock and that stuff. I was trying to get as many plays as possible. Let’s go faster, faster, faster, faster, faster. The linemen didn’t like you for a minute, but then they ended up liking you because the other guys got tired. I think it’s important to get as many quality reps as you can in the preseason because those are real and it’s hard to get real reps in this league. It’s going to be really important for them and their development. And their competition.”
Real reps. With a defense trying everything to stop you. That’s when you get a real look at a quarterback. Who wins the battle tonight?
Which Cowboys backup QB will have the better game against the 49ers?
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