Dallas Cowboys

Moore, Rush still competing to be Dak Prescott’s backup

A Cowboys official has said it’s too early to determine if Kellen Moore, left, or Cooper Rush (7) will serve as Dak Prescott’s backup
A Cowboys official has said it’s too early to determine if Kellen Moore, left, or Cooper Rush (7) will serve as Dak Prescott’s backup rmallison@star-telegram.com

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to re-sign quarterback Kellen Moore, and the backup job remains open between Cooper Rush and Moore going into Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys released Moore when rosters were trimmed to 53 Saturday. They opted to release Moore because he would not be subjected to waivers.

Rush, an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan who has impressed, would be available for other teams to claim.

“We did not want to lose Cooper Rush,” coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “He’s done a lot of good things for our football team, and we did not want to subject him to the waiver wire.

“To get a good young a quarterback to come in and play as well as he played, that’s hard to do. So we feel real good about him.

“We also feel really good about Kellen Moore. He’s someone who understands our system, he’s played well at different times for us in regular season games and in preseason games, so we like what he brings to the table. We’ll determine what that quarterback situation is as the week goes on.”

Rush completed 38-of-51 passes for 398 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions in the preseason. He had a 135.9 passer rating, the best of any quarterback in the preseason.

Moore, meanwhile, was 32-of-59 for 392 yards with one touchdown and one interception this preseason. But Moore has NFL experience under his belt, playing in three games (two starts) with the Cowboys in 2015.

Executive Vice President Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that it’s too early to determine if Rush or Moore will serve as Dak Prescott’s backup in the opener.

“Let’s see how practice goes this week and we’ll make that decision there as we move closer to game time in terms of playing,” Jones said.

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Rico Gathers, who is in concussion protocol, was placed on injured reserve. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com

Gathers to IR

The Cowboys placed tight end Rico Gathers on injured reserve.

Gathers has been in concussion protocol and this move does not come as a surprise. Gathers won’t be eligible for game action for at least eight weeks. He can return to practice after six weeks.

Gathers, the former Baylor basketball standout turned tight end, made the Cowboys’ initial 53-man roster on Sunday. He had to spend at least a day on it before being moved to IR to keep him eligible to play this season. This is the roster spot most likely going to Moore.

But it is a setback for Gathers, who had a nice training camp and offseason in his journey from “rebounds to touchdowns.”

“Rico continues to make strides,” Garrett said. “It’s really a great story. ... He is obviously in a really good room, watching Jason Witten take the first rep of every drill. That is a good model to have. But he has really embraced the opportunity.”

Chaz Green (79) is the leading candidate to start at left guard for the Cowboys. Rodger Mallison rmallison@star-telegram.com

Injury updates

The Cowboys have dealt with a number of hamstring injuries throughout training camp and preseason, but the team hopes most are on the mend. Here is an update on several of them:

▪ Cornerback Jourdan Lewis (hamstring) is expected to return to practice in some capactiy, Garrett said, but appears to be a long shot for game action.

▪ Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) practiced last week and appears as though he’ll be an option for the game. Same with safety Xavier Woods and wide receiver Ryan Switzer.

▪ Defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford (ankle) has made progress and the Cowboys are hopeful he’ll be ready to go Sunday.

▪ Offensive lineman Chaz Green (ankle) is expected to return to practice this week and is a leading candidate to start at left guard.