EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said what he said even though he didn’t really mean it the way it was interpreted.
The streets were already abuzz with talk of a quarterback controversy in Dallas.
All he wanted was for the Cowboys to keep winning with backup quarterback Cooper Rush on the field in place of an injured Dak Prescott, a prospect few thought possible two weeks ago.
But now Jones’ hopes of a quarterback dilemma whenever Prescott returns from a broken 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 evening at MetLife Stadium.
Rush completed 21 of 31 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown to lead the Cowboys to their second straight win in Prescott’s place and third in as many starts in his career.
But while social media went crazy with suggestions that Rush should remain the starter if he keeps winning like Jones suggested, the truth is less exciting but more moving.
Prescott, who had stitches removed from his surgically repaired fractured right thumb on Monday, is the Cowboys’ starting quarterback and will remain so whenever he returns to the lineup.
He said he threw passes before the Giants game.
It just depends on how long he can take the football while the bone continues to heal.
And while Prescott didn’t rule out a return later Sunday against Washington when speaking with ESPN’s Lisa Salters before the game, his best prospects to play again are Oct. 9 at the Los Angeles Rams or Oct. 16 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Until then, Rush, the man who can’t lose, remains in control.
Coach Mike McCarthy laughed off a question in a postgame news conference about a quarterback controversy.
He’s happy the Cowboys keep winning with 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 who tell me they’re going to keep it and they are,” Prescott said after the game.
Prescott declined to talk about his injury and the timetable for a return to the locker room. I just wanted to talk about Rush.
“I’m as happy as anybody for him,” Prescott said. “I don’t mean the wing man. He’s been my man for five or six years. He’s been there for me to count on when I need things. It’s great for him to come out and do it.”
Prescott is more appreciated than Rush because he knows his journey from undrafted free agent and backup quarterback in 2017. They shared a quarterback room together.
Not shocked by the way Rush played. He’s glad the rest of the world is noticing.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Prescott said. “I’ve known this guy since he came in. How he came in and approached his first preseason and the success he had then and the time to manage the scout team and step up when I left. And now he shows what he can do in a game.
“The guy was waiting for the opportunity to show that he can play in this game and no stadium is too big for him.”
Rush certainly showed that the last two weeks, engineering a game-winning drive in a 20-17 win against the Cincinnati Bengals before taking care of the Giants with a stellar 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 unassuming Rush was the first in the locker room after the win and nearly blew away the ESPN cameras that wanted to do a postgame interview with the Cowboys’ newest star.
It was a giddy Prescott who arrived to help usher Rush onto the field.
“I’m their biggest cheerleader,” Prescott said. “I’m cheering Cooper all the way. One hundred percent. I want him to have all the success.”
Prescott shared a laugh with Rush during the week when Jones initially made his comments about a quarterback controversy.
It might not be so much this week that Jones’ words continue to ignite social media.
Prescott doesn’t care. He’s just happy for Rush.
“I want him to win game in and game out, regardless of what the hell is going on here,” Prescott said.
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