The Dallas Cowboys have won four games in a row so for the most part things are going pretty well for them. When it comes to the team, it is difficult to find a way in which things are not going great. The wins are piling up and players who have been injured for some time are going to hopefully start making their way back.
Chief among that group is obviously quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys will get a top-tier quarterback back whenever he ultimately does return, but until that time comes the conversation about the most-visible position on the team will continue. We’ve heard whispers from some quarters that Cooper Rush should stay the starter even when Dak is healthy, even with the offense being rather limited throughout this winning streak.
But the wins that the Cowboys are pulling off is the key to that argument. Don't rock the boat, wreck the status quo, however you want to put it. It seems that former Cowboys quarterback and Monday Night Football color analyst Troy Aikman may be a believer in that.
Troy Aikman is the latest person to talk around the idea of a Dallas Cowboys quarterback controversy
Up next for the Cowboys is a road game against the Philadelphia Eagles. With the two teams having just one loss between them, and it now being Week 6, the drama surrounding the contest is even more epic than a usual Cowboys/Eagles game which is saying something.
If Dallas wins they will hand Philadelphia their first loss, and if they do it without Dak Prescott under center they will extend this insane little run that they are on. Assuming all of these ifs do hold true, then the chatter around Cooper Rush and Dak Prescott will only grow, something that Troy Aikman noted this week.
Troy Aikman on @dfwticket: “If the (Cowboys win Sunday), you start asking the question, ‘Do we put Dak back in?’ Considering what they’ve been able to do and how they’ve been able to win games with Cooper Rush, I think that becomes a real question the organization has to answer.” pic.twitter.com/sSk5yBe6Om— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 13, 2022
Aikman walks his own comment back a little as he is getting the whole thought out, but he does entertain the idea that the Cowboys continuing to win could merit sticking with Rush over Prescott. He even references his own situation early on in his career when Jimmy Johnson prioritized Steve Beuerlein over him.
There is no real historical comparison to what the Cowboys are currently going through. This isn’t like Aikman and Beuerlein in the early 1990s, nor is it like Prescott himself and Tony Romo in 2016. This is simply a team winning with elite defensive play and a quarterback who is doing a great job of benefiting from that, staying mostly out of the way, and making a handful of impressive throws in the process.
It is unfortunate that these conversations turn into effectively slighting Rush since what he has done is worthy of nothing but praise. Speaking objectively though, the idea that the Cowboys have something that is worth not bucking doesn’t really hold up. Consider their offensive possessions from this past week when they beat the Rams, it was hardly an offensive spectacle.
- 4 plays, 5 yards, Field Goal
- 6 plays, 14 yards, Punt
- 4 plays, 19 yards, Punt
- 3 plays, 75 yards, Touchdown
- 4 plays, 20 yards, Punt
- End of Half
- 13 plays, 53 yards, Field Goal
- 3 plays, 10 yards, Punt
- 9 plays, 35 yards, Field Goal
- 3 plays, 2 yards, Punt
- End of Game
All told the Cowboys had three possessions longer than four plays and didn’t even get points on all of them. Offensively they only scored one touchdown throughout the contest and that particular possession only lasted three plays because on the third Tony Pollard took it 57 yards to the house.
Additionally, the first offensive possession of the game for the Cowboys began at the Los Angeles 20-yard line. As you can see they ripped off five yards on four plays before being forced to settle for a field goal.
With regards to the winning streak, it’s fair to point to the defense as completely carrying the team. The offense has only delivered in the few moments that they have been asked to throughout the last four weeks.
Consider that the Cowboys have a perfect conversion rate of 100% on fourth downs over their last four games (they are 2/2). They are also 75% on goal-to-go conversions which is impressive, but had zero opportunities to improve or worsen that rate over the last two games.
Speaking of the goal line, the Cowboys have gotten progressively worse in the redzone as Rush has remained the starter. When you start to flirt with the painted area of the field, you have to seal the deal and they have done so less and less over these weeks.
- Week 2 (Cincinnati Bengals): 2 for 2 (100%)
- Week 3 (at New York Giants): 2 for 4 (50%)
- Week 4 (Washington Commanders): 1 for 3 (33.3%)
- Week 5 (at Los Angeles Rams): 0 for 2 (0%)
People say that this formula cannot work against really good teams which is likely true, but it is going to start to wear thin against even average teams. The Dallas defense has done a tremendous job of mitigating the regression that was inevitable as far as turnovers are concerned, but their elite level of play is not sustainable in all likelihood for 100% of the season.
This isn’t a real conversation or competition. We do not have to throw our hands up and say “they are winning and that is all that matters” because there is so much information available.
Cooper Rush deserves all credit in the world, but so does Dak Prescott. The Cowboys really only have one choice, and it’s Dak.