By David Helman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer
Say what you will about the quality of Jerry Jones’ football team, but the man knows marketing.
How else could you explain the current state of affairs in Dallas? Whereas most teams would dip below the radar without their starting quarterback, the Cowboys‘ owner and general manager is making sure his team stays front and center until Dak Prescott returns from a broken thumb.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his team’s Week 3 game against the New York Giants, Jones said he’d gladly welcome the quarterback controversy that would follow if Cooper Rush continues a strong run of play in Prescott’s absence.
“Wouldn’t it be something if you had a dilemma as to which way you go? You do that if he gets 10 wins,” Jones said.
Rush obviously has a long way to go before that happens. Sunday’s win against Cincinnati was his second career start and his second career win, boosting him to 2-0 for his career. But as Jones noted, Prescott’s own career started inauspiciously enough, as he lost his first start before reeling off 11 straight wins and eventually supplanting Tony Romo as the Cowboys’ QB1.
If Rush can manage something similar, starting with Monday night’s trip to New York, Jones said he’d be happy to have that problem.
“If he comes in here and plays as well as Prescott played? If Rush played that well over these next games ahead, I’d walk to New York to get that,” Jones said.
The sentiment is perfectly logical. Every team in the NFL would be thrilled to see its backup QB play as well as the starter. There have never been enough quality quarterbacks for every team in this league, so to discover a second one on your own roster would be an obvious coup.
Still, the key difference is that the other 31 teams in the NFL would keep that sentiment behind closed doors, in a personnel meeting or a private conversation. Jones wants to make sure the Cowboys are still being discussed despite a rocky start to their season, and so the sentiment emerges within the public light.
Steve Young suggests Dak Prescott study Cooper Rush
Emmanuel Acho, Joy Taylor, LeSean McCoy and David Helman discuss Steve Young’s advice to Dak Prescott. “I want [Dak] to really study Cooper Rush,” the Hall of Fame QB said.
Fortunately, the Cowboys themselves understand the approach. Ezekiel Elliott summed it up beautifully when asked about it by the same reporters.
“He want y’all to be clicking and listening, too,” Elliott laughed. “It’s all marketing. It’s all marketing.”
That’s all fine, and those who follow the Cowboys closely don’t need to be told. Still, narratives have a way of taking on a life of their own. Prescott is the quarterback of the most polarizing team in the league, and his $160 million contract already made him a target for criticism. Factor in his horrific start to the season, in which he struggled mightily against Tampa Bay before breaking his thumb, and this is a conversation that’s going to be given life — including by this publication. Yes, the irony is recognized.
Ultimately, it adds an extra layer of intrigue to Monday’s primetime Cowboys-Giants game, which is surely part of Jones’ design. The thing about narratives, though, is that once they’ve started, they’re no longer in your control.
David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter @davidhelman_.
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