EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said what he said even if he didn’t really mean it the way it was interpreted.
The controversy surrounding the quarterback in Dallas was already the talk of the street.
All he wanted was for the Cowboys to keep winning with backup quarterback Cooper Rush on the field in place of the injured Dak Prescott, something few thought possible two weeks ago.
But now Jones’ hopes for a quarterback dilemma whenever Prescott returns from a broken right thumb have the potential to go viral after Rush led the Cowboys to a 23-16 victory over the previously unbeaten New York Giants on Monday night at MetLife Stadium.
Rush completed 21 of 31 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown to lead the Cowboys to his second straight victory in place of Prescott and third in as many starts of his career.
But while social media has gone wild with suggestions that Rush should remain the starter if he continues to win as Jones has suggested, the truth is less exciting but more touching.
Prescott, who had stitches removed Monday from a surgically repaired broken right thumb, is the Cowboys’ quarterback and will remain so whenever he returns to the lineup.
He said he was passing before the Giants game.
It just depends on how well he can catch the ball as the bone continues to heal.
And while Prescott didn’t rule out a return next Sunday against Washington when he spoke with ESPN’s Lisa Salters before the game, his best chances to play again are Oct. 9 at the Los Angeles Rams or Oct. 16 at the Philadelphia Eagles.
Until then, Rush, the man who can’t lose, remains in control.
Coach Mike McCarthy laughed off a question in the postgame press conference about the running back controversy.
He’s just happy the Cowboys keep winning with the Rush.
And no one is happier for Rush than Prescott, the team’s $40 million franchise quarterback who just wants the Cowboys to hang on and stay competitive until he returns.
“I appreciate those guys telling me they were going to hang in there and they did,” Prescott said after the game.
Prescott declined to talk about his injury and his return timetable in the locker room. He only wanted to talk about Rush.
“I’m as happy as anybody for him,” Prescott said. “I don’t want to say wing man. He has been my man for five or six years. He was there for me so I could count on him when I needed things. It’s great for him to go out there and do that.”
Prescott has the highest regard for Rush because he knows his path from being an undrafted free agent and backup quarterback in 2017. They shared a quarterback room together.
He’s not shocked by the way Rush played. He is happy that the rest of the world is noticing.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Prescott said. “I’ve known this guy since he came. How he came in and approached his first preseason and the success he had then and the time he spent on the scout team and stepping up when I left. And now he shows that he can do it in the game.
“The guy has been waiting for his chance to show that he can play in this game and no stage is too big for him.”
The Rush certainly proved that over the past two weeks, scoring the game-winning touchdown in a 20-17 win against the Cincinnati Bengals before taking care of the Giants with a blistering second half on Monday night.
Rush completed 12 of 13 passes on two drives late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, resulting in two touchdowns, rallying the Cowboys from a 13-6 deficit to a 20-13 lead.
It was typical Rush who was calm, cool and collected all the way.
So much so that the unremarkable Rush was the first to enter the locker room after the win and almost played off the ESPN cameras who wanted to do a postgame interview with the Cowboys’ newest star.
It was a giddy Prescott who ran over to help get Rush back on the field.
“I’m his biggest cheerleader,” Prescott said. “I’m cheering Cooper on the whole way. One hundred percent. I wish him every success.”
Prescott shared a laugh with Rush during the week when Jones initially made his comments about the quarterback controversy.
It may not be as much this week as Jones’ words continue to set social media on fire.
Prescott doesn’t care. He’s so happy for Rush.
“I want him to win game in and game out, no matter what the hell is going on here,” Prescott said.
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