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When Dak Prescott went down in Week 1, it appeared that the 2022 season had already fallen off the rails for the Dallas Cowboys.

Fortunately for them, backup quarterback Cooper Rush has stepped in and led Dallas to three consecutive wins in Prescott’s absence. He’s also the first quarterback in franchise history to go 4-0 in his first four starts with the Cowboys.

The defense has, admittedly, played well. Dallas is top five in both passing defense (171.0) and points allowed (15.5) per game. Micah Parsons has been a force off the edge, while Trevon Diggs has been shutting down opposing receivers.

However, that shouldn’t discredit Rush in any way because the offense still needs to put up points in order to win. The 28-year-old quarterback has led the Cowboys offense to at least 20 points and is averaging 22.6 points per game over the past three contests. They only scored three points in the season opener.

The Cowboys are enjoying a winning streak with Rush right now, and if that trend continues, there could be a quarterback controversy brewing in Dallas.

Dak Prescott continues to miss time with a thumb injury

Prescott suffered a thumb injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has missed the last three games. He was originally designated to miss six-to-eight weeks but has yet to be put on injured reserve, leaving the door open for him to return sooner rather than later. 

However, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones previously said Prescott is having trouble gripping the football well enough to play, which is understandably slowing down his timeline for return.

Prescott is coming off one of his most impressive seasons in Big D, where he completed a career-high 68.8% of his passes for 4,449 yards, 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 104.2 passer rating. He is also in his second year of his four-year, $160 million contract that he signed in 2021.

It would be one thing to rush Prescott back into action if the thumb was the first injury of his career, but he’s been roughed up each of the past two seasons. He suffered a severe ankle injury in 2020 that ended his season five games in. He was also dealing with a calf injury last year, which cost him one game.

Now, he has another long-term injury. Prescott is a great talent, but the Cowboys need to have him healthy before trotting him out there again, especially since the team is having plenty of success under Rush.

Cooper Rush is undefeated as the Cowboys starting quarterback

While Prescott has been sidelined, Rush has led the Cowboys to a 3-0 record in his place and has committed zero turnovers in the process. He’s thrown for 737 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His passer rating (95.9) sits narrowly outside the top 10 in the NFL behind Tom Brady but ahead of Aaron Rodgers.

It’s not an easy position to be in to take over for Prescott on America’s Team, but this is the situation he thrives in. Even last year, when Prescott missed a Week 6 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, Rush stepped in and helped the Cowboys win on the road 20-16 while throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

In addition to keeping the ball out of harm’s way, Rush has looked poised under pressure, as he’s commanded a game-winning drive in two of his three starts this season. 

Against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rush completed three passes in the final minute of the game and led the Cowboys down the field to set up the winning field goal. Facing the New York Giants on the road, Dallas trailed by seven points in the second half, but Rush and the Cowboys offense outscored the Giants 17-3 in the final 16 minutes of the game.

Rush doesn’t play the fanciest style of football. He doesn’t have the biggest arm or loom large as the most athletic quarterback, but he’s dependable and smart with the ball in his hands. That is the formula that has helped the Cowboys get to 3-1 so far this season.

The Cowboys should stick with Cooper Rush for the time being

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush throws a pass.
Cooper Rush in action for the Dallas Cowboys. | Cooper Neill/Getty Images

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Prescott is the face of the Cowboys and will retake his starting job at some point. He’s being paid $40 million per year, and it is highly unlikely Jones will leave someone on the bench making that much money. 

But now is not the right time to make the change. Rush has the offense in a groove, which wasn’t the case when Prescott was leading the charge in Week 1.

At the end of the day, wins matter above all else; Rush is playing well and has the Cowboys winning. If a quarterback is getting the job done, then there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken. The next two weeks will be a massive test, though, as Dallas faces off against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on the road.

If the Cowboys defeat both opponents, they might be inclined to ride with the hot hand for as long as possible.

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference