Wins and losses aren’t quarterback stats. Fortunately, that was the one little bit of dangerous luck Tony Romo ever skilled in his profession, and wasn’t ominous foreshadowing or something.

Even aside from Romo, there is a common development in the direction of gamers who do effectively of their first three video games being higher over the course of their careers, which is sensible — all issues being equal, enjoying effectively is best than enjoying poorly. It’s in all probability most correct to say that if an undrafted participant stinks in his first few begins, he’ll by no means get the possibility to show that preliminary impression fallacious. But for essentially the most half, gamers who began out sturdy at the very least parlayed that into stable careers on the bench, having the ability to level to a month or so of stable play as proof that they need to be clipboard-holders over some untested draft choose. A scorching efficiency in September may hold you cashing paychecks for half a decade or extra.

Asking Rush to be one other Romo is placing far too many expectations on him. Asking Rush to be a long-term dependable backup like Billy Volek or Case Keenum is a much more real looking chance — and an incredible consequence for a participant who, in NFL.com’s official scouting report, was dinged for having a “frumpy body with little muscle definition,” a “lollipop arm,” and a “slow, plodding setup.” At the very least, it makes it much less possible the Cowboys can play the follow squad recreation with him an excessive amount of after Prescott comes again; I’m positive there’s a quarterback-needy staff or three who can be much more taken with Rush as we speak than they have been on Aug. 31.

A Distant Early Warning From Austin Davis

But then once more, a scorching begin doesn’t essentially imply you are going to have an extended, productive profession within the NFL. Take the case of Austin Davis, the holder of the celebrated all-time document of “most passing yards in the first three starts for an undrafted free-agent quarterback” at 937. Davis was pressured into motion halfway via Week 1 for the 2014 Rams. You’ll be shocked to listen to this, however projected starter Sam Bradford blew out his knee earlier than the season started. Shaun Hill, one other former UDFA who had a good run of success within the league, suffered a quad harm within the first half and missed a piece of time. What adopted was a short stretch of Austin Davis mania — back-to-back 300-plus-yard video games in opposition to the Cowboys and Eagles, two not-terrible groups! An upset win over the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks! Brett Favre, displaying a few of his attribute good decision-making abilities, proclaimed that Davis might be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner!

Yeah, that by no means occurred. Davis’ recreation in opposition to Seattle was the final begin of his profession with optimistic DYAR; fumbles, a zillion sacks, and common poor play bought him benched for Hill a month later, and a short stint changing Josh McCown in Cleveland rapidly had Browns followers chanting for Johnny Manziel. Davis managed to parlay his month and a half of stable play into 4 extra years within the league, nonetheless a well-above common end result for an undrafted participant. But Brady or Warner he wasn’t.

(This is the place I’d put in a spotlight reel of Davis enjoying with the Rams, however the Internet appears to have scrubbed most of that apart from this YouTube video of every Davis touchdown Instead, I’ll go away you with this Reddit thread from October of 2014, the place Rams followers debated whether or not Davis was the quarterback of the long run or not. Comes full with followers of divisional rivals hoping the Rams can be dumb sufficient to chop bait on Davis and waste first-round picks on quarterbacks, and this comment getting upset that ESPN radio mentioned that Davis wasn’t Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Just as a cautionary story for anybody getting too enthusiastic about Rush this week.)

A 3-game pattern dimension is not big, and even sub-replacement-level gamers can spin off a number of good video games in a row if luck hits the appropriate manner — say, as an illustration, enjoying a Tampa Bay protection with out Gerald McCoy and Mason Foster, or an Eagles protection with out DeMeco Ryans. Quite a few the opposite quarterbacks close to the highest of this record are coasting off of 1 stellar efficiency — Devlin Hodges clobbering the Browns in 2019, or Nick Mullens destroying the Raiders on Monday Night in 2018. Three video games is a sufficiently small pattern dimension that one large day can disproportionally bump you up.

Living within the Limelight

That’s not the case for Rush up to now. Rush’s play to this point jogs my memory extra of a Volek or a Keenum than it does of Davis or a few of the different undrafted flops. Yes, the Cowboys are giving Rush all the assistance they’ll handle, preserving additional tight ends in for blocking and working extra play-action than they did for Prescott a 12 months in the past. And sure, the protection is placing him into conditions the place he does not must attempt to win the sport on the power of his arm. But Rush has proven a capability to play mistake-free soccer with out having to be restrained to pure dink-and-dunk nonsense. On these play-action passes in opposition to the Giants, Rush was 11-for-15 for 158 yards, and that is together with CeeDee Lamb dropping a 48-yard landing go off of play-action. Rush presently has a median depth of goal of seven.9 yards, a decent seventeenth within the league, and is safely within the prime 20 in completion share over expectation — each the type of numbers you’d anticipate from a below-average, however stable starter. He’s probably not pushing the ball downfield besides on performs designed to attract the protection in, however when he has been requested to make these throws, he is doing it.

The Cowboys can be a lot happier preserving his throws brief and correct, and so they’re not going to remove the aids of play-action and fast passes any time quickly — Rush has the second-quickest time to throw within the league, at 2.5 seconds per Next Gen Stats, because the Cowboys are setting him up with loads of “throw to your first look or throw it away” kinds of performs. But inside that context and with these aids, Rush has proven that the Cowboys are going to be OK whereas Prescott recovers.

And it is simply “OK.” While Rush completed sixth in DYAR this week, that is at the very least partially an artifact of defensive changes not being included simply but. It’s uncertain that he will proceed posting 35.0% DVOA video games week in and week out. He does have bodily limitations that different passers shouldn’t have — therefore why the Cowboys are scheming him up for deep photographs, quite than asking him to bullet the ball someplace on pure arm expertise alone. Rush is enjoying very near his ceiling for the time being, whereas Prescott’s ceiling is MVP candidate. Any query, anyplace, that the Cowboys have a legit quarterback controversy at this level is not simply placing the horse earlier than the cart; the horse is a foal and the cart only a gleam within the carpenter’s eye.

But what Rush can do for the Cowboys is give Prescott time. We noticed what occurred final 12 months when Russell Wilson rushed again from a fractured finger; he seemed horrible for a couple of month till he had time to get again to full power. With Rush offering competent, high-level backup soccer in Dallas, the Cowboys can afford to let Prescott get to 100% earlier than sticking him again within the lineup. Currently, the pondering appears to be that Prescott might be able to go for the Week 6 matchup in opposition to the Eagles, which might give Rush two extra begins. That appears a a lot wiser thought than making an attempt to hurry Prescott again for the “slim chance” that is being reported that he’ll be prepared in Week 5; the very last thing you need to do is rush him again too early, have him both worsen the harm or play poorly due to it, and you then actually do have a quarterback controversy. That’s an personal objective they’ll fully keep away from, largely as a result of Rush provides Dallas a puncher’s probability in opposition to each Washington this week and the Rams coming off of a brief week in Week 5.

So I assume what we’re saying is that Prescott does not must Rush. And that Jerry Jones ought to in all probability maintain his horses somewhat bit when speaking his backup quarterback as much as the press. Just a thought.



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