The backup quarterback job has become an open competition for the Dallas Cowboys.
“Kellen has done some really good things and then other times hasn’t been as good,” Garrett said. “And Cooper has taken advantage of his opportunities when he’s gotten them. That’s the big thing we try to emphasize to all of our players – if you get 20 reps in practice or two, maximize them.
“There’s going to be a reel at some point that we’re going to look at that are all of your plays. How did you do?”
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So far the tape shows Rush out-performing Moore. Because of that, Rush got some of Moore’s reps with the second-team on Monday and once again on Tuesday. Rush and Moore alternated second-team reps Tuesday.
Rush threw an interception in red-zone drills, having a pass intended for Brice Butler batted up and linebacker Kennan Gilchrist coming down with it. But Rush responded in his next series, throwing a TD pass to Rod Smith.
Rush, an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan, has shined the most in preseason action. He completed eight of nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns in four series during Saturday’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
In three preseason games, Rush has completed 26 of 38 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns.
“I feel confident in my ability and my team’s ability,” Rush said. “But everyday I have to keep improving. I have a long, long way to go. Every day, every snap there’s something I’m learning new either when I’m taking a snap or watching Kellen or watching Dak [Prescott]. I’m just trying to soak that all in.”
Asked if he feels the backup job is up for grabs, Rush said: “I don’t even really think of it. I’m really just so focused on making this 53 [man roster]. That’s been the No. 1 goal and I think staying true to that goal is what’s helping me keep progressing and keep improving.”
Moore’s job had been considered safe until his struggles opened the door for Rush.
Moore completed less than half his passes on Saturday. He finished 10 of 21 for 131 yards and saw a sack-fumble turn into a Colts touchdown. Moore led the Cowboys to one field goal in six series of work.
In the past two preseason games, Moore has completed 18 of 38 passes for 200 yards.
The coaching staff, particularly offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, has expressed a fondness for Moore for his understanding of the offense. But the Cowboys are willing to move on despite perceived loyalties.
After all, they didn’t have any inkling to go back to Tony Romo after Prescott’s hot start a year ago.
Prescott, not surprisingly, is among those in the ‘Cooper Rush Fan Club.’
“I think he understands how you play this position,” Prescott said. “It’s from the neck up. You don’t let when you’re drafted, when you’re picked or anything like that affect you. And I think he’s used that to motivate him.
“He knows as good a player as he is, he’s using that as chip on his shoulder and he’s smart and he’s learning. When you play this position from the neck up, no matter your ability, no matter what others say, you give yourself a chance to put the ball where it belongs, just be ahead of the defense and he’s a guy that does that every day.”
Rush completed all three of his passes on his first drive Saturday, capped with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Noah Brown. On the next drive, Rush converted a third-down chance and hooked up with Lance Lenoir for a 3-yard touchdown.
His play Saturday got plenty of post-game attention and working with the second-team this week has brought more attention to Rush. He admitted being “oblivious” to it all.
He’s put himself in the mix.
“It’s not a bad sign, so you just take it and you go in stride with it and you stick to what you’ve been doing,” Rush said. “When you’re in there, just take advantage of it.
“I feel comfortable. I feel I have a handle on things and really want to keep growing in that aspect.”