“Smart,” “Consistent, “Authentic”…and 4-0: Cooper Rush’s success comes as no surprise to QB Country family

 In Featured News, Latest News, NFL QB News

By all accounts, it has been a storybook stretch for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush. The fifth year pro took over for injured starter Dak Prescott in game one and has led the Cowboys to wins in three straight starts this season. With a win in his first and only start last year (also filling in for an injured Prescott), Rush is the first quarterback in franchise history – and the 27th in NFL history – to win his first four career starts.

Rush is one of the top stories in the NFL through the early going with most football outlets deeming him a “surprise” success. But for those who know him and have watched him prepare, there’s pride and excitement, but no sense of shock. Rush is being who he always is – a guy who excels at his job.

“You know he’s going to execute his job consistently at a high level and that he’s going to run the offense efficiently,” says Landry Klann, who has trained Rush since 2018 with QB Country Dallas. “His identity is precision – playing on time, being accurate, and managing the situations of the game intelligently. Coaches trust him – period. They know that despite getting very few reps as a back-up that he’ll be able to step right in to fulfill his role at a moment’s notice.”

Last week, Rush went 15-of-27 for 223 yards and two touchdowns in a 25-10 win against NFC East rival Washington. It was a game that Dallas led from start to finish, but Rush has won the close ones, too. In his first start last season, with Dallas trailing Minnesota late in the fourth quarter, Rush led a game-winning drive capped by a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. During his first two starts this year against Cincinnati and New York, he made key plays in the second half to secure Cowboys victories.

“He played like a seasoned vet in a hostile environment in that first start,” says Klann. “Instead of being frustrated that he’d never been seriously considered as a potential starter in the NFL, he just used this time to keep getting better at his craft, preparing for his opportunity when it came. And now it’s here and I couldn’t be more excited for him showing what he’s all about.”

During a stellar career at Central Michigan where he set a host of program records, Rush emerged as a potential NFL draft pick. Agent Chris Cabott of Steinberg Sports had been tracking his progress and reached out to QB Country founder David Morris to get his take.

“He said, ‘I think this kid has got a chance, take a look and see what you think,’” says Morris. “So I had Cooper come down to [Mobile, Alabama] and we started training together going into his junior year in 2015.”

Morris and Rush immediately went to work on refining his motion and further developing arm strength and athleticism.

“He has always been really solid in the pocket, but even there he was always open to training and learning. He bought in early,” says Morris. “Some people who are talented are suspicious of trusting new people and even the process of getting better. Cooper wants to listen, to learn and get better.”

Rush continued to train with Morris in Alabama and eventually prepped with him for the 2017 NFL Draft. Most experts projected Rush as a late pick or priority free agent, but Morris saw a player who would be ready whatever the outcome.

“I always try to stay away from projections and mock drafts, to predict stuff like that is silly. You just work on getting ready for the opportunity and Cooper did that,” says Morris. “If he was going to end up as an undrafted free agent, that was still a great opportunity. Then it was just a matter of him finding the best situation possible and proving that somebody got a steal – that he was stronger and better than what they thought.’”

That “somebody” was the Dallas Cowboys, who signed Rush in the weeks following the draft. QB Country had just opened a Dallas location with Klann at the helm, so Rush had a new training resource in his backyard.

“That was another example of Cooper’s trust and openness to learning,” says Morris. “It wasn’t a match of convenience, Cooper wanted to learn and Landry is one of the top throwing mechanics guys in football. He’s committed to studying and learning the nuances of the throw and the overhead and rotational athlete. Cooper and Landry are kind of kindred spirits in that way.”

It was indeed a match. Rush just completed his fourth offseason with Klann, and Klann has watched their training efforts translate to game day.

“Cooper is just awesome to work with,” says Klann. “His humility and open-mindedness to be willing to learn from me has always been very impressive. It would be easy for him to recognize that he’s a better quarterback than I ever was, and therefore assume I might have nothing to offer him. Instead, he’s always had a curiosity to hear other perspectives and because of that he’s really made a ton of progress not just as a thrower but as a complete quarterback. We’ve been chipping away at several areas of his game for a while now and every offseason he’s experienced a couple of breakthroughs that have really elevated his skill set. I know he feels like the best version of himself right now, so I’m excited for everyone to see all the work he’s put in.”

Morris agrees, citing Rush’s ability to perform in a variety of throwing environments.

“Contested throws, survival throws, off-platform throws – he’s just gotten better and better,” says Morris. “That’s stuff you see with all of Landry’s guys – the kids he teaches and also the upper level guys. Cooper looks as good and as consistent as anybody throwing in the league right now.”

Of course, with Prescott nearing a return to action, Rush’s days as a Dallas starter may be numbered. It’s his understanding of the reality – and the privilege – of the situation, says Morris, that has made Rush better prepared than most to succeed.

“If your role in the NFL up to this point is as a backup, you can lose yourself a little in that role and forget how good you are. Not many back-ups have taken advantage of their situation as well as Cooper has. But that’s because he has owned his job, he’s kept it simple by helping Dak prepare and just being ready to play. By doing that, you’re preparing yourself,” says Morris. “Cooper has always been a student, one of the smartest guys we’ve had come through the process. And part of that intelligence is being a pro. He knows it’s Dak’s team – that doesn’t mean he isn’t gonna go out and do his job – but he doesn’t have to be the guy in the spotlight.”

In Rush, Morris sees a template for success – whatever his role may be for the rest of the season or his career for that matter. He’s proven he’s ready and he’s done it in a way that should provide a model for others.

“Coop’s story is so important for aspiring quarterbacks because he’s had a lot of success, had a great college career, broke records at CMU, had a great pro career as a backup – and stayed true to who he is the whole time. He’s authentic, comfortable in own leadership style and not trying to be somebody else. I think that’s important. There are so many guys with big personalities, visible leadership traits that are easy to recognize, but to see the personalities of guys we’ve trained like Cooper, Daniel Jones, Sam Howell, Davis Mills, Nick Mullens – a little more reserved, cerebral, that quiet confidence – these guys are having success at the highest level.”

For now that means playing on the biggest stage in the world, making headlines, and surprising the pundits.

“What’s happening right now for him, for all of us who know him is really neat. He’s a guy I really care about as a person, as a father, all of those things.” says Morris. “And when Dak’s healthy and he goes from the talk of the biggest sport in the world to being a guy nobody talks about anymore, he is ready for it – and he will be just fine in that role. That’s part of the beauty of who Cooper Rush is.”