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Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy shut down any talk of a potential quarterback controversy Friday.
McCarthy was asked to respond to a comment made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Thursday. Jones said he would “walk to New York” if it meant backup Cooper Rush would play as well as starter Dak Prescott and create a quarterback controversy while Prescott is out because of an injury:
Jon Machota @jonmachota
Jerry Jones wouldn’t mind a QB controversy between Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. He said he’d walk to New York if it meant Rush played so well going forward that the Cowboys had a tough decision to make pic.twitter.com/3aG98I3Fx5
Per Jon Machota of The Athletic, McCarthy pumped the brakes during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan, saying: “Clearly, everybody in our locker room and everybody in the building, Jerry included, [knows] Dak is our quarterback. We want Cooper to be [as] successful as possible. So, I think it stops right there.”
Rush replaced Prescott during the Cowboys’ Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Prescott exited with a thumb injury. Rush started in Prescott’s place in Week 2 and led Dallas to an upset win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Prior to getting injured, Prescott struggled mightily in the 19-3 loss to Tampa, completing 14 of his 29 passing attempts for 134 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
In just his second career start, Rush ran the offense effectively in a 20-17 win over the Bengals, going 19-of-31 for 235 yards with one touchdown and no picks. Most impressively, the 28-year-old led a game-winning field goal drive in the closing seconds with the score tied at 17.
Rush has won both of his career starts, and he is set to lead the Cowboys in New York on Monday night for a clash with the NFC East rival and 2-0 Giants.
While the undrafted Central Michigan product has played well in limited opportunities during his five seasons, there is little doubt that the Cowboys are best off when they have Prescott under center.
The 29-year-old is a two-time Pro Bowler coming off the best statistical season of his career, as he completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 4,449 yards, a single-season franchise-record 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Prescott also led the Cowboys to an NFC East title, plus Dallas was No. 1 in the NFL last season in total offense.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Dallas’ lack of offensive success this season is the supporting cast around its quarterback, as it is significantly worse than last season.
The offensive line has been decimated with left tackle Tyron Smith going down with an injury and both La’el Collins and Connor Williams leaving in free agency. Also, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson are gone from last year’s team, plus wideout Michael Gallup has yet to play this season because of injury and tight end Dalton Schultz got injured last week.
Dallas needs to get healthy and improve dramatically at every spot offensively in order to be contenders in the NFC East this season, and that is true whether Rush or Prescott is the quarterback.
For now, the Cowboys will have to continue to turn to Rush since Prescott is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing thumb surgery.