This is a big week for the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously any time they play a game is a lot of fun, but adding to this week’s festivities is the return of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott.
Cowboys fans are excited to see him return. His presence is an important one both from a production and leadership standpoint, which is why when he fractured his thumb in Week 1 as the team was losing many people saw the season falling apart before their very eyes.
But the Cowboys rallied for over a month and were able to keep themselves competitive (to say the least) by winning four games in a row. Obviously the streak ended when they lost last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they sit very firmly in the mix in the NFC with a 4-2 record as the month of October gets set to come to a close.
It is important to acknowledge that football is a team sport and a team game so there are a lot of people, players, and coaches who deserve credit for the team’s surprise performances over the last month and change. As true as that is, it feels appropriate to shed some special love on quarterback Cooper Rush who played the most important position in the game throughout this stretch and kept the ship afloat to where the Cowboys are now in the shape that they are.
FiveThirtyEight’s quarterback-adjusted ELO forecast has the Dallas Cowboys with a 92% chance of making the playoffs this season. Consider that the only teams with higher probabilities are the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.
Obviously this would not be the case if Dallas had a lesser record than 4-2 for Dak Prescott to return to. Simply put, Rush did his job and did so in a way that Cowboys fans are not accustomed to seeing from a backup quarterback.
The attention for this week has obviously been on Prescott and his return, but we wanted to take an opportunity here to share some notes of thanks and gratitude from different front-page writers at BTB. If you’d like to offer one in the comments to Rush yourself then you are obviously free to do so.
Here they are.
I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to Cooper Rush, the Dallas Cowboys 2022 Savior. You directly helped lead the team to a 4-1 record in the Dak’s absence, and in so doing, likely saved their season. If not for you, there would be a lot of dejected fans right now, but thankfully you restored hope where little hope was being offered. And for that, you have gained a forever fan and supporter. Thank you!
Thank you Cooper for honestly checking me. Following that first Sunday night, this was the first year where I was genuinely discouraged to start the season as a Cowboys fan. That discouragement has all but been evaporated because of your efforts at quarterback, efforts that seem to have also uplifted the team who was also likely to have some concerns. 5-1 as the starter for America’s team (including last year) is something you will always have to hold, and your efforts could propel this team to a playoff bid, something not possible without your play over these last few weeks. Just know, now that we have Dak back, I don’t think any Cowboy fan will forget what you did and what you gave us to start this otherwise rough season, hope. Was fun cheering you on Coop.
Being an NFL backup QB is an often thankless job. Usually you just stand patiently on the sidelines while having to be ready to go in after every offensive play. When you are called on, the results are not often very pretty, and you tend to get a lot of disdain because you aren’t The Guy. Cooper Rush did quite the opposite. He led the team to four consecutive victories after Dak Prescott was hurt, and amazingly even inspired a somewhat ridiculous QB controversy. But he was no Clint Longley and never let it go to his head. Now he is expected to return to the standby mode, and he accepts his role with grace. Thank you for not just keeping the season afloat, but putting the Cowboys in much better position than we could possibly have hoped.
To Cooper, for what you have done in the past five games. You exceeded expectations from fans and the media, carrying the weight of not just America’s team but the World’s team on your back keeping the dream alive this season, Thank you.
When thinking back to the Cooper Rush era this season I tried to think of what Rush does better than Dak. Then it came to me. Rush was going out there every week with no fear of losing and playing every game like it was his last, and did it with everyone doubting him. That offense stepped up for Rush and played harder, which is both a testament of this team, and what the team think of Rush. Mr. Cooper Rush, awesome job sir.
Bill Parcells once said “It’s a very easy thing to say, ‘Go get a backup quarterback.’ Now tell me where to get them. You just can’t dial them up.” The Cowboys know this very well by now. The 2020 season proved how hard it is to find a backup quarterback that can actually keep your season alive. That’s why Cooper Rush took the NFL by storm during his brief time as the starter. While Cowboys fans are understandably excited to get Dak Prescott back, the story of this season can’t be told without talking about the big impact Rush had, and for that he should never have to buy his own drink (or flight to Philadelphia) ever again. Thank you Cooper Rush.
All of these writers said important things that should be remembered about this most recent five-week stretch. Cooper Rush was thrust into a situation that seemed impossible to thrive in and he helped the team get the ultimate job done. In the process, he became the first quarterback in Dallas Cowboys franchise history to win his first four career starts with the team (and then obviously five after that) which is quite the statement considering who has lined up under center for this franchise.
From all of us to you Cooper Rush, thank you.