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Cooper Rush keeps impressing, but make no mistake – Cowboys say there is no QB controversy

When Dak Prescott returns from his thumb injury, it’s still No. 4′s team in Dallas.

ARLINGTON – Everyone loves a quarterback controversy.

In Cowboys history, you can read up on how Roger Staubach and Craig Morton battled in the 1970s. Remember Troy Aikman’s recovery from injury as Steve Beuerlein led the Cowboys into the playoffs in 1991?

Those controversies were settled with Staubach and Aikman taking over and leading this franchise to Super Bowls and their own Hall of Fame careers.

As we enter into the second quarter of the 2022 season, some people want a quarterback controversy between Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush.

It’s not going to happen.

Rush improved to 3-0 as a starter this season with Prescott out, leading the Cowboys’ 25-10 victory over the Commanders on Sunday afternoon. Rush is 4-0 in his career with a pair of road wins.

When Prescott went down with a fractured right thumb in the season opener there was a thought everything was lost. Rush settled the season down, and there is some noise from fans -- and maybe in the media -- about letting Rush cook for as long as necessary.

“I’d say calm down,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said. “I know [the fans are] happy for the football team, but also understand this is a business. So don’t get it twisted.”

Rush threw a pair of touchdown passes while completing 15 of 27 passes for 223 yards for a 107.5 quarterback rating Sunday.

Yet, Rush threw two interceptions that were wiped out by Washington penalties.

Nobody is perfect.

And no one in the Cowboys’ universe is pushing for a Prescott/Rush quarterback battle.

“Facts,” wide receiver CeeDee Lamb said. “I feel like in a situation like this it’s a hit or miss. If Coop lost all three games, they give it another narrative. Dak can’t win. But when he comes back, he’s going to win. I’m proud of Coop and proud of Dak for keeping his composure and everything, and understanding he’s got a great group of guys that’s going to play for him.”

Prescott is the face of the franchise, and that’s not changing.

Rush will ride this out until it’s time to step aside.

Even Jerry Jones, the team owner and general manager, who said last week he wouldn’t mind a controversy, is a calming presence about any potential drama at quarterback.

Prescott’s return is classified as a 4-6 week time frame. Jones said he’d hope Prescott could return within four weeks of the injury.

Jones is now unsure when Prescott will return.

Playing next Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams, 28 days since the surgery and 14 days after getting a stitch removed from the thumb, is questionable.

A more realistic return is Oct. 16 at Philadelphia. Maybe.

Prescott is making light tosses in practice with his thumb taped. He was on the sidelines Sunday wearing a black brace over his thumb. The biggest issue for Prescott is the swelling on the inside part of the thumb and whether he can handle the snap from center. Of course, gripping a football is the other complication here.

“I really don’t know that I’d call that throwing what he’s doing,” Jones said. “But he’s certainly got movement. I wouldn’t know if he’s throwing at a level where you can say the grip and everything [is good] again, effectively [make] a good throw, normal passing throw.”

It’s easy to like what Rush has done, with the Cowboys establishing a running game and the offensive line doing a wonderful job in pass protection. Rush will challenge defenses deep, something that was missing in the Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay when Prescott was starting.

When it comes to this season, everything is closely contested with the Cowboys needing the defense to take charge. The only real offensive requirement is to get one or two scores.

The big issue is whether Rush can win a shootout, especially with most of his offensive weapons back, such as wide receiver Michael Gallup from injury. It seems Prescott is better suited for that.

Prescott is the elite talent. There is a reason he has the richest contract in franchise history. It’s nothing personal against Rush, just business.

“When No. 4 is ready to go, he’s back in there,” guard Zack Martin said. “Cooper has done an unbelievable job. We’ve got a ton of confidence in him, but I think it’s probably silly to think when No. 4 is ready he’s not going to be back in there.”

So when will Prescott return?

“Keep guessing,” Prescott said.

Everybody will.

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