FRISCO, Texas — When Cooper Rush made the first start of his career last October against the Minnesota Vikings, replacing an injured Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys were 5-1 and rolling.
On Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rush will make the second start of his career with Prescott out following thumb surgery, but the Cowboys are filled with questions after their 19-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener.
“We have a bad taste in our mouth after losing a game,” Rush said. “You can’t wait to get back out there next week. We were 0-1 last year too, though. This is the first step.”
Rush threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings, delivering a final-minute drive for a 20-16 win. Despite his inexperience, he was confident.
“I think it’s more about the teammates. All you do every day is want to earn their respect,” Rush said. “To go out there on Sunday, that’s the best way to do it. Go play well. They have my respect. I think they respect me. I think we’ve got a good group. I think we’re ready to roll. “
Unlike last season, Rush is looking at a multiweek stretch of starting with Prescott out following surgery to his right thumb. Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Prescott could return within four weeks; however, the club will not rush the quarterback, who was on the practice field as a spectator on Thursday.
“Right now you’re focused on this game, that’s all that matters,” Rush said. “You get down the road when we get there. It’s something you’ve been a starter before in your life and you kinda draw on that. You remind yourself of that. You’re going to go week by week, and right now we “re focused on the Bengals.”
This is the sixth season Rush has been with the Cowboys either as Prescott’s backup or on the practice squad. Running back Ezekiel Elliott said Rush “knows his s—.” Receiver CeeDee Lamb noted Rush’s composure and said, “He’s all about getting his work done.”
“We have the experience of playing in a game with him,” Lamb said. “We know how he maneuvers, we know what he likes. Just kinda throwing him in there again, is just like, ‘Here we go again.’ I say that with the most positivity, and I can’t wait for my man to go out there and show out.”