UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Dallas is preparing as if Cooper Rush will start at quarterback against the Eagles.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
Ian Rapoport had the following to say on NFL Network on Wednesday morning:
“My understanding, and it’s something I talked about on Sunday, is it’s a little bit of a long shot for Dak to be out there on the field this week against the Eagles. Next week, much more realistic.
However, if he’s had some serious gains the last couple of days, if he can go out and throw regular today on Wednesday, perhaps he can play. But a lot is going to be told by how much he participates in practice.”
Of course, one can wonder if this report is a smokescreen. Though Prescott missing this game would line up with his original reported recovery timeline of “six-to-eight weeks.” This Sunday marks five weeks since he suffered a fractured thumb.
Prescott is expected to throw in practice this week. It’ll certainly be worth monitoring how he fares.
If Prescott is truly healthy and able to play, that’s obviously not a favorable development for the Eagles. But if the Cowboys rush him back too soon, well, the Eagles probably wouldn’t mind that.
The guess here is that the Birds will end up seeing Cooper Rush. Dallas has been able to win with him since Prescott got hurt. Rush is 4-0 in starts this year and 5-0 if you include a start from last season.
It’s not like Rush has been lighting the world on fire. The Cowboys have scored just 20.8 offensive points per game in his starts. He’s benefited from Dallas leaning on their running game and a defense anchored by one of the NFL’s best pass rushing units.
Rush has also done a nice job of taking care of the ball with just one turnover. One can wonder if he’s soon due for regression in that category.
Regardless of who starts, the Eagles figure to have their work cut out for them. The Cowboys are a legitimately good football team.
Then again, so are the Birds. They need to find a way to win to avoid entering the bye with a loss to Dallas looming over them for two weeks.
In related news, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon discussed Rush on Tuesday.
Q. What’s the best way to describe what Cowboys QB Cooper Rush is doing that’s working for them?
JONATHAN GANNON: Efficiency. I think he is playing very efficient right now. He knows where to go with the ball. He is accurate. He is running the offense. They put a lot on the quarterback’s plate to get him in ideal calls, and he’s doing that. They’re talented around him. He’s playing really good football right now, and they have good players around him. I think he is very efficient right now. First and second down and third down, situational ball, Red Zone. They’re playing well. We have a big-time challenge.
Q. Do you prepare differently for Dallas Cowboys QB Cooper Rush compared to if Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott plays?
JONATHAN GANNON: It’s a very similar offense when we look at Dak from all last year and then even the first game and then the last four that Cooper has played. It’s not much. I mean, he is doing a good job. They really didn’t break stride when he came in the game, and he has played these last four games. Doug [Nussmeier], the quarterback coach, is a really good coach. Obviously, Kellen [Moore] is a really good coach. They’re doing a good job with him.