Oct 9, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) sets to pass in the first half against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Cooper Rush preparing to start vs. Eagles

Cooper Rush is preparing to start for the fifth consecutive week as the Dallas Cowboys monitor the recovery of fellow quarterback Dak Prescott from thumb surgery.

Rush is 4-0 since entering the lineup as an injury replacement for Prescott, whose initial medical prognosis called for a 4-to-6 week recovery window.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday that Prescott would need to be convincing in workouts this week with his ability to “spin the football,” a reference to his ability to grip the ball and throw it on target with needed velocity. Prescott was not able to fully grip the ball last week, and head coach Mike McCarthy described his practice activity on Wednesday — four days before the primetime matchup against the host Philadelphia Eagles — as “light throwing” on the side.

“We are preparing for Cooper to start against the Eagles,” McCarthy said Wednesday.

Prescott said he felt “great” throwing for the first time. He got backing from a wide receiver as well.

“It was good to see him out there doing it,” Michael Gallup said, per The Dallas Morning News. “He’ll be back out there soon.”

Prescott told the Fort Worth-Star Telegram that he’s “antsy” to return.

“But excited that my guys are doing what they got to do,” he said Wednesday.

Prescott has been part of the “rehab group” in practice since surgery on Sept. 12, McCarthy said. His limited participation this week would represent a step forward, but the giant stride toward starting for the Cowboys appears to be at least one week away.

The Eagles (5-0) are the NFL’s only undefeated team, while Dallas has leaned heavily on a strong defense to hold second place in the division at 4-1.

The Cowboys’ strong pass rush leads the NFL in quarterback hits and Dallas has 20 sacks this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4) before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones: Cowboys to test Dak Prescott’s ‘spin’ Wed.

Dak Prescott could get the thumbs up for Week 6, but only if he passes the spin test.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday the doubt around Prescott is whether he has enough hand and grip strength in his right thumb to spin the ball with the velocity needed to throw passes on target. If he can, Jones and the Cowboys should get Prescott back in the lineup Sunday with the NFC East lead on the line against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles (5-0).

“He’s gotta really be able to spin the ball,” Jones said. “We’ll start working on that Wednesday real hard. We know Dak Prescott can play, but can he spin the ball?”

Backup Cooper Rush spun a four-game winning streak since replacing the injured Prescott. Dallas scored a defensive touchdown to down the Los Angeles Rams last week and improve to 4-1, firmly in second place in the division by virtue of a head-to-head win over the 4-1 New York Giants.

Grip was the issue for Prescott last week. He attempted to strengthen his hand and right thumb following the removal of a stitch left over from surgery last month. But Prescott couldn’t keep the ball locked in with his grip and continued in the rehab phase.

Jones said there is no thought from the franchise that Rush would remain in the lineup even after Prescott is fully cleared.

“When we get him back, that’ll be a real additive. We’ll be a mess (for opponents) if we can keep playing defense like this,” Jones said.

Defense has driven the Cowboys’ rise in the standings.

Dallas ranks first in quarterback hits, is tied for first in rushing touchdowns allowed (1), second in sacks (20) and third in points allowed per game (14.3).

–Field Level Media

Atlanta Falcons NFL defensive tackle Anthony Rush

Falcons release DT Anthony Rush

The Atlanta Falcons released starting defensive tackle Anthony Rush on Thursday.

Rush had seven tackles while playing 33.3 percent of the defensive snaps through four games.

Atlanta didn’t immediately announce a corresponding move.

Rush, 26, has seen action in 30 games (10 starts) over four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Green Bay Packers (2020), Seattle Seahawks (2020), Tennessee Titans (2021) and Falcons. He has 40 career tackles and 0.5 sacks.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) on the field before the game against the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott can’t grip football ‘well enough to play’

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday that Dak Prescott’s thumb is improving but the quarterback still can’t grip a football “well enough to play.”

Jones made the comments during an interview on Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

“Well, I know that it’s better, and I know that he’s going to go out there every day and make progress towards being able to grip the ball,” Jones said on the show.

When asked if Prescott can grip a football now, Jones answered, “No, not well enough to play.”

Prescott is scheduled to meet with doctors later Tuesday.

“I don’t know that you could ask for better news technically, physically in how it’s responding, how it’s healing so to speak,” Jones said. “So all of those things are on go and I don’t know that as we bid bye to each day if considering the injury, considering the location of the injury, I don’t know that you could make any more progress. There’s some things here about healing that again I often say only the man upstairs knows how that works, but he’ll have a big week and he’ll be hard on himself getting it ready to go.”

Prescott has not been ruled out for this week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, but both Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy want a full week of practice with Prescott before turning him loose.

“We need to have that process before we (go) in a ballgame,” Jones said. “Can’t eliminate the week’s work and be ready to go, especially not at quarterback.”

Prescott said last week he’s targeting this week to return after fracturing his thumb in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was projected to miss six weeks.

Cooper Rush has led the Cowboys to three straight wins in Prescott’s absence. With Sunday’s win, Rush became the first Cowboys QB to win the first four starts of his career. He went 1-0 in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tarell Basham (93) reacts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys place DE Tarell Basham (thigh) on IR

The Dallas Cowboys placed defensive end Tarell Basham on short-term injured reserve Saturday among a series of roster moves.

The team officially signed new starting quarterback Cooper Rush and kicker Brett Maher to the active roster and elevated backup quarterback Will Grier and center Alec Lindstrom from the practice squad. The Cowboys released defensive tackle John Ridgeway.

Basham sustained a thigh injury in the fourth quarter of the season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He will be sidelined for a minimum of four games.

Basham, 28, played 25 snaps against the Bucs.

Rush gets the nod Sunday against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals with Dak Prescott recovering from thumb surgery. Rush relieved Prescott against Tampa Bay and completed 7 of 13 passes for 64 yards.

Rush, 28, will be making just his second NFL start since joining the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He threw for 325 yards on 24-of-40 passing with two touchdowns and one interception in a 20-16 win at Minnesota in Week 8 last season.

Maher, 32, accounted for the only Dallas points in Week 1 with a 51-yard field goal.

–Field Level Media

Oct 31, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (calf) ruled out vs. Vikings

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will miss Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings due to his calf injury.

Prescott tested his strained right calf prior to Sunday’s contest in Minneapolis and the Cowboys decided he wasn’t physically fit to play.

Team trainer Britt Brown and coach Mike McCarthy apparently relayed the decision when they huddled with Prescott on the field.

Cooper Rush will make his first career start in place of Prescott. The 27-year-old has thrown three career passes, all in 2017.

Prescott was listed as questionable for the contest but wanted to go through the weekend to see if the calf improved.

Prescott sustained the calf strain in a Week 6 victory over the New England Patriots. The Cowboys followed with a bye week, but that wasn’t enough time to allow the injury to heal.

Not playing against the Vikings gives Prescott the chance to get the calf healthy prior to next Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Prescott has passed for 1,813 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions this season.

Entering the week, the Cowboys led the NFL in both scoring offense (34.2 points per game) and total yardage (460.8).

Will Grier will be the Cowboys’ backup quarterback on Sunday. He was claimed by Dallas in early September after being released by the Carolina Panthers.

Grier, 26, started two games for the Panthers in 2019 and lost both. He passed for 228 yards and four interceptions without throwing a touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) warms up prior to the game against the New York Giants as Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) looks on at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott still in limbo; Cooper Rush prepares to start

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings due to his troublesome calf injury.

The Cowboys would like to decide Saturday but are willing to wait until Sunday before determining whether or not Prescott will play.

If Prescott sits out, Cooper Rush will make his first NFL start. He has thrown three career passes, all in 2017.

As for Prescott, he was a limited participant on Friday but reported soreness in the morning after pushing the pace during Thursday’s practice.

“He’s confident. He doesn’t waver. He wants to play, and he wants to continue to work toward that,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Friday.

Prescott sustained the calf strain in a Week 6 victory over the New England Patriots. The Cowboys followed with a bye week but that wasn’t enough time to allow the injury to heal.

He displayed earlier this week that he understands there is a risk if he returns too soon. Also, team trainer Britt Brown has to clear Prescott.

“It’s not fully my decision because there is a bigger picture,” Prescott said. “It’s more than just one game.”

The Cowboys have given Rush the bulk of the practice repetitions all week while Prescott has mainly been involved in individual drills and rehabbing the calf.

“That helps more than usual,” the 27-year-old Rush told reporters. “Usually you’re preparing for a game as the backup without getting any reps all week. So definitely going into it, you feel a whole lot better.”

McCarthy indicated he isn’t concerned if Rush gets the call.

“He’ll be ready to go,” McCarthy said. “If he’s up, he’ll be ready to go. We’ve still got some time.”

In addition to Prescott, Dallas listed left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) and defensive end Dorance Armstrong (ankle) as questionable.

Minnesota will play without defensive tackle Michael Pierce (elbow), defensive end Patrick Jones II (knee) and tight end Ben Ellefson (knee, foot). Ellefson was placed on injured reserve Thursday and must miss at least three games.

Vikings wideout Dede Westbrook (ankle) is questionable.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Cowboys will start Gilbert at QB

Garrett Gilbert will start at quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys when they host the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

Dallas coach Mike McCarthy has yet to announce a starter, but Gilbert has taken the majority of the first-team snaps in practice this week over Cooper Rush, Sports Illustrated reported. NFL Network reported the Steelers are preparing for Gilbert to start.

Gilbert was active as the No. 2 quarterback against the Eagles. Rush has been in the system longer and specifically worked with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore as Prescott’s backup from 2017-19.

Gilbert, 29, has attempted only six passes since being drafted by the then-St. Louis Rams in the sixth round in 2014. He was signed by the Cowboys off the Cleveland Browns practice squad on Oct. 12.

Rush, 26, attempted three passes for the Cowboys in 2017.

“(Gilbert’s) played a lot of quarterback,” McCarthy told reporters Friday. “This guy grew up as a quarterback. His father (Gale) was a quarterback. I mean, he knows how to play the position. There’s no lack for confidence or know-how.”

When the Cowboys (2-6) host the Steelers (7-0) on Sunday in Arlington, Texas, either Gilbert or Rush will become the team’s fourth starting quarterback in the last five weeks.

Dak Prescott sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. Andy Dalton suffered a concussion in Week 7 and tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Rookie Ben DiNucci started Sunday night’s 23-9 loss in Philadelphia and struggled, completing 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards with four sacks and two lost fumbles.

–Field Level Media

August 17, 2019;  Honolulu, HI, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (7) during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ McCarthy still mum on starting QB

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Friday he still hasn’t decided who will start at quarterback in Sunday’s game against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Steelers.

Garrett Gilbert has taken the majority of the first-team snaps in practice this week over Cooper Rush, Sports Illustrated reported.

“Obviously, Garrett has a little more current experience than Cooper because he’s been here (longer),” McCarthy told reporters Friday. “We’re just working through all that. But my goal is just to make sure both guys are ready for Sunday.”

When the Cowboys (2-6) host the Steelers (7-0) on Sunday in Arlington, Texas, either Gilbert or Rush will become the team’s fourth starting quarterback in the last five weeks.

Dak Prescott sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. Andy Dalton suffered a concussion in Week 7 and tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Rookie Ben DiNucci started Sunday night’s 23-9 loss in Philadelphia and struggled, completing 21 of 40 passes for 180 yards with four sacks and two lost fumbles.

Gilbert was active as the No. 2 quarterback against the Eagles. Rush has been in the system longer and specifically worked with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore as Prescott’s backup from 2017-19.

Gilbert, 29, has attempted only six passes since being drafted by the then-St. Louis Rams in the sixth round in 2014.

Rush, 26, attempted three passes for the Cowboys in 2017.

–Field Level Media

Dec 22, 2019; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA;  Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs out of the tunnel in front of quarterback Cooper Rush (7) before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth QB to start for Dallas

Sensing the need for a veteran on the field to face the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is making another change at quarterback.

McCarthy plans to use Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush as his starting quarterback in Week 9, with the decision coming down to how well they perform in preparation this week.

“We need more experience,” McCarthy said on Wednesday, underlining his concern about seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci being put in the line of fire against Pittsburgh’s attacking 3-4 defense.

DiNucci started last week in a Sunday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with Andy Dalton (concussion) out. Dalton started two games after Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury.

Gilbert was active as the No. 2 quarterback against the Eagles. Rush has been in the system longer and specifically worked with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore as Prescott’s backup from 2017-2019.

Dalton is out this week due to a positive COVID-19 test.

–Field Level Media