Cooper Rush and the best UDFA quarterbacks since 2000


Wins and losses will not be quarterback stats. Fortuitously, 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 normal development in the direction of gamers who do properly of their first three video games being higher over the course of their careers, which is sensible — all issues being equal, enjoying properly is healthier than enjoying poorly. It is most likely 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 mistaken. However for essentially the most half, gamers who began out robust at the least parlayed that into strong careers on the bench, having the ability to level to a month or so of strong play as proof that they need to be clipboard-holders over some untested draft choose. A sizzling efficiency in September may maintain 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 reasonable risk — and an important end result for a participant who, in’s official scouting report, was dinged for having a “frumpy physique with little muscle definition,” a “lollipop arm,” and a “gradual, plodding setup.” On the very least, it makes it much less probably the Cowboys can play the follow squad recreation with him an excessive amount of after Prescott comes again; I am certain there’s a quarterback-needy group or three who could be way more taken with Rush right this moment than they had been on Aug. 31.

A Distant Early Warning From Austin Davis

However then once more, a sizzling begin doesn’t essentially imply you are going to have a protracted, productive profession within the NFL. Take the case of Austin Davis, the holder of the celebrated all-time report of “most passing yards within the first three begins for an undrafted free-agent quarterback” at 937. Davis was compelled into motion halfway by way of Week 1 for the 2014 Rams. You may 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 an honest run of success within the league, suffered a quad damage within the first half and missed a bit of time. What adopted was a quick 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 Tremendous Bowl champion Seahawks! Brett Favre, displaying a few of his attribute good decision-making abilities, proclaimed that Davis could possibly be the following 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 constructive DYAR; fumbles, a zillion sacks, and normal poor play received him benched for Hill a month later, and a quick stint changing Josh McCown in Cleveland rapidly had Browns followers chanting for Johnny Manziel. Davis managed to parlay his month and a half of strong play into 4 extra years within the league, nonetheless a well-above common consequence for an undrafted participant. However Brady or Warner he wasn’t.

(That is the place I might put in a spotlight reel of Davis enjoying with the Rams, however the Web appears to have scrubbed most of that apart from this YouTube video of each Davis landing As a substitute, I will 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 could be dumb sufficient to chop bait on Davis and waste first-round picks on quarterbacks, and this remark getting upset that ESPN radio stated that Davis wasn’t Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. Simply as a cautionary story for anybody getting too enthusiastic about Rush this week.)

A 3-game pattern measurement is not large, and even sub-replacement-level gamers can spin off a couple of good video games in a row if luck hits the precise manner — say, as an example, enjoying a Tampa Bay protection with out Gerald McCoy and Mason Foster, or an Eagles protection with out DeMeco Ryans. A variety of 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 time in 2018. Three video games is a sufficiently small pattern measurement that one huge day can disproportionally bump you up.

Dwelling within the Limelight

That is not the case for Rush up to now. Rush’s play thus far jogs my memory extra of a Volek or a Keenum than it does of Davis or among the different undrafted flops. Sure, the Cowboys are giving Rush all the assistance they’ll handle, protecting additional tight ends in for blocking and operating extra play-action than they did for Prescott a yr in the past. And sure, the protection is placing him into conditions the place he would not must attempt to win the sport on the power of his arm. However 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 move off of play-action. Rush at the moment has a mean depth of goal of seven.9 yards, a good 17th within the league, and is safely within the high 20 in completion share over expectation — each the form of numbers you’d anticipate from a below-average, however strong starter. He is 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 could be a lot happier protecting 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 Subsequent Gen Stats, because the Cowboys are setting him up with numerous “throw to your first look or throw it away” kinds of performs. However 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.” Whereas Rush completed sixth in DYAR this week, that is at the least partially an artifact of defensive changes not being included simply but. It is uncertain that he will proceed posting 35.0% DVOA video games week in and week out. He does have bodily limitations that different passers wouldn’t have — therefore why the Cowboys are scheming him up for deep pictures, fairly than asking him to bullet the ball someplace on pure arm expertise alone. Rush is enjoying very near his ceiling in the mean time, whereas Prescott’s ceiling is MVP candidate. Any query, wherever, 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.

However what Rush can do for the Cowboys is give Prescott time. We noticed what occurred final yr when Russell Wilson rushed again from a fractured finger; he seemed horrible for a few 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. At the moment, the considering appears to be that Prescott could possibly 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 attempting to hurry Prescott again for the “slim probability” that is being reported that he’ll be prepared in Week 5; the very last thing you wish to do is rush him again too early, have him both irritate the damage or play poorly due to it, and then you definately actually do have a quarterback controversy. That is an personal aim they’ll totally 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 would not must Rush. And that Jerry Jones ought to most likely maintain his horses slightly bit when speaking his backup quarterback as much as the press. Only a thought.

Supply hyperlink


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here