FRISCO, Texas – Jerry Jones needed no encouragement.
Dallas Cowboys team owner and general manager were not initially asked about potential quarterback controversy Cooper Rush keeps winning just like he did against Sunday Cincinnati Bengals. He wasn’t even asked about the franchise quarterback yet. Duck Prescott’s return from a thumb fracture in his throwing hand. In fact, he did not even have a program to meet the media on Thursday.
But Jones stopped for a conversation in the hallway of the team headquarters. Soon, of his own accord, he brought on the Cowboys’ 2016 season, when Prescott took over for an injured Tony Romo and never quit as the starting quarterback.
Can history repeat itself?
“If something like this had happened, wouldn’t something like this happen? It’s my way of thinking,” Jones said, “Won’t it be nothing if you’re confused which way you’re going? You do it if [Rush] Gets 10 wins. The same thing happened with Prescott.
“I think like that.”
Prescott completed 14 of 29 passes (48.3%) for 134 yards and with an interception on an involuntarily closed night, the Cowboys struggled on offense in their season-opening defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 11. In the fourth quarter of that game, Prescott suffered a fracture near his thumb joint while outside the Tampa Bay linebacker. Shaquille Barrett hits his throwing hand. He tried to play through the injury before realizing he was unable to catch the ball.
Prescott underwent surgery the next day with an expected recovery timeline of four to six weeks. The Cowboys refuse to place him on injured reserve, indicating a desire that he practice, if he does not even play, before four weeks.
Rush started versus the Bengals on Sunday, guiding Dallas to his second win early in his career (he also won in Minnesota last October). Rush completed 19 of 31 passes (61.3%) for 235 yards and a touchdown.
Nonetheless, Prescott’s 53-33 career record and $40 million-per-year contract spells the difference between him and Rush, a 2017 draft free agent who has thrown fewer NFL passes (94) than Prescott, having scored a touchdown. (143) is thrown.
So would Jones really welcome any controversy?
“Of course I will,” he said on Thursday. “Of course, that means we would have won. If he comes in and plays Prescott side-by-side? If Rush played so well and ahead in these next few games? I’ll move to New York to get it.”
Would he really consider keeping a healthy Prescott on the side?
“I don’t want to go so much into the weeds with it,” Jones said, tapping the brakes a bit at the end.
Headlines like these undoubtedly contribute to the Cowboys’ ranking as the most valuable franchise in the sport, with Jones typically speaking at least three times a week during the NFL season and making such eyebrow-raising remarks.
The decision to roll with Rush will be qualified regardless of the outcome for the next few weeks. Jones acknowledged that Prescott’s recovery timeline is shorter than Romeo’s, and that Rush is unlikely to play 10 games before Prescott becomes available.
Ezekiel Elliott, who was also a rookie in 2016 and finished league running champion, said he doesn’t focus on such hypotheticals.
“People on TV that get clicks, get views, are going to say the most outrageous things to get attention,” Elliott said. “It’s their job. Who knows they believe that too?”
Elliott was then told that Jones considered the quarterback “dilemma” in his building of the Cowboys.
“There you go, it’s a classic example,” he said. “He wants you to click and listen to him too.
“It’s all marketing, man. It’s all marketing.”
Follow Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports on Twitter @Jori Epstein