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Cowboys Name Backup QB, Fill Out Practice Squad

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Cooper Rush | Image by USA Today

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Cooper Rush has won the backup quarterback job for the Dallas Cowboys and will reprise his role from last season as insurance in case starter Dak Prescott is injured.

Rush and fellow quarterbacks Will Grier and Ben DiNucci were all cut on August 30 when NFL teams reduced their rosters to 53, leaving Prescott as the only QB on the roster. Grier and Rush resigned the following day as members of the practice squad.

Rush and DiNucci were on the Cowboys’ roster last season. Rush got one start, a Halloween game on the road in Minnesota, and went 24 of 40 passing, totaling 325 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception as the Cowboys went on to win 20-16.

It was the only start Rush has had in the NFL since signing as an undrafted free agent rookie in 2017.

DiNucci was a Cowboys seventh-round pick in 2020 and spent last season on the practice squad. He was waived on August 28, and it appears he will not be signed to the practice squad. DiNucci produced lackluster results in the lone start of his career, in his rookie season when both Prescott and then-backup Andy Dalton were injured.

Grier was claimed off waivers by the Dallas Cowboys in September 2021, but he has not appeared in a regular season game. Grier suffered a groin injury in the preseason, which slowed his production and may have contributed to the Cowboys choosing Rush as the backup.

Rush and Grier are members of the practice squad, but head coach Mike McCarthy said on Tuesday that Rush would be the backup behind Prescott on opening day. In the meantime, keeping the backup quarterbacks off the active roster allows the team to make other moves to get the best set of players in place before the season starts.

Some active roster players right now will be placed on Injured Reserve (IR), allowing them the opportunity to return to the field at some point this season, while others may be within a few weeks of returning and will remain on the active roster.

This includes wide receiver Michael Gallup, who tore his ACL in Week 17 last season. Gallup is not expected to be ready to play on Week 1 but has cleared a physical and will be removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list in the coming days.

On Wednesday, the players on the active roster who were not expected to be healthy enough to play sometime soon were moved onto the IR list. Cornerback Issac Taylor-Stuart (injured ankle), running back Aaron Shampklin (ankle), offensive tackle Tyron Smith (hamstring), and wide receiver James Washington (foot) were moved to the IR, which will keep them from playing in at least the first four games of the season.

Key additions to the practice squad include running back Malik Davis, defensive linesmen Carlos Watkins, and tight end Sean McKeon. Placekicker Brett Maher is currently on the practice squad but will be elevated to the active roster sometime before the start of the season. Long snapper Jake McQuaide was released on August 30 but has resigned to the active roster.

With only a little more than one week until the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Arlington to open the 2022 season against the Cowboys, the final roster is anything but settled.

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