The QB controversy that never was: Dak is back, but salute Rush

It appears Dak Prescott is ready to return for the Dallas Cowboys. The former Haughton star suffered a broken bone in his throwing hand during a season opener that was disastrous long before No. 4 was forced to exit the game.

It’s likely, but not guaranteed Prescott will lead the Cowboys into AT&T Stadium against Detroit on Sunday. One thing is for sure: when the 6-foot-2, 238-pounder is ready to go, Cooper Rush will take a back seat.

Somehow, some way, this is astonishing to some fans.

I know it’s basically frowned upon in the social media era, but two things that may appear to contain negative correlation can be true. Such as: Rush did an admirable job for Dallas in lieu of Prescott … AND … Prescott is without question the team’s starting quarterback. And let me really blow your mind … Prescott’s return isn’t likely to solve all the problems on offense.

In terms of wins and losses, the Cowboys couldn’t have imagined a better five weeks without their starter. After losing the opener to Tampa Bay (with Prescott at the helm most of the game), Rush led Dallas to four straight victories. The streak did end with a rough outing at Philadelphia on Sunday. 

Rush threw three picks and the Cowboys fell to 4-2, two games back of undefeated Philadelphia (6-0).

“I’m not excited that we just lost (Sunday), but I’m excited there is a long season ahead and we’re in good position,” Prescott said. “We control everything in front of us.”

Although the Cowboys won those four straight games, Rush threw a total of four touchdowns and topped out at 235 passing yards (vs. Cincinnati, Week 2). The Dallas defense stole the show by allowing 17 points or less in all four games.

Last season, Prescott captained the most potent offense in the NFL. The Cowboys averaged a league-best 31-plus points per game as Prescott threw for 4,449 yards and a career-high 37 touchdowns. In 2019, Prescott compiled 4,902 passing yards. During his first six years in the league, the 2016 Offensive Rookie of the Year has won at least 10 games in a season three times.

He wins games, and he can win games. There is a reason why he’s playing on a $160-million deal.

Now, even upon Prescott’s return, it’s hard to imagine the Cowboys will suddenly be the best offense in the NFL again. One of the biggest question marks entering the 2022 season involved the offense. Amari Cooper, the No. 1 receiver, departed and the Cowboys didn’t do much to replace him. 

The Cowboys, a perennial top-10 rushing team, haven’t been stout on the ground. They are in the middle of the pack in the NFL – perhaps they haven’t found the best way to use running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Maybe Prescott’s absence has allowed opposing defenses to stack the box. Or maybe the running game isn’t that great.

Prescott’s return won’t cure the dent in the Cowboys’ receiving corps, either. Not only is Cooper gone, Dallas is getting no production at tight end — Dalton Schultz hasn’t been healthy and he hasn’t produced when he has.

The good news? Dallas doesn’t have to possess the best offense to achieve their goals.

The defense, led by linebacker Micah Parsons, is ranked third in the league (16 points allowed per game).

Bottom line: Prescott may not rival the best numbers of his career, but he won’t have to.

But he’s certainly the man who should take the snaps. It’s silly to think otherwise.

“I’m going to plan to play against the Lions,” Prescott said, “but whenever the time comes with these guys we’ll be more than ready. It’s that simple.”

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