As long as yours truly has been here at SB Nation, and it’s a looooong time, Dave Halprin of Blogging the Boys and I have been exchanging ‘5 questions’ twice a year. Well, the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys are playing Monday night. So, here we go again.
Ed: What did Cooper Rush do against the Bengals that helped Dallas win? Is that sustainable?
Dave: Cooper Rush did the things that you are really hoping a backup QB will do when he has to step into the starting role. Number one is he didn’t turn the ball over. Everyone knows that turnovers are a killer and the quickest way for things to get out of hand for a backup QB. Rush had some very close calls on a few passes during the game but was fortunate to avoid disaster. Secondly, he was calm and composed, especially on the last drive to win the game. He never seemed in over his head and was able to audible when needed. Finally, he made some quality throws when needed. He was able to put the ball on the money and allow his receivers to make easy catches.
Is it sustainable? Probably not long term or he would be in consideration for a starting job somewhere. But for a few more weeks? Maybe. He didn’t do anything out of the ordinary to beat the Bengals, it wasn’t like he had a superhuman game, so maybe he can repeat it a few more times.
Ed: Along that same vein, did Jerry Jones make a mistake with his approach to Dak Prescott’s injury? What is the latest in terms of expectations for him to return?
Dave: Jerry Jones has certainly been the most optimistic in predicting a timeline for Dak Prescott’s return, but he is hardly alone in predicting that Prescott could be back before the 6-8 weeks initial timeline. The reason for this is that when they did the actual surgery, the damage was less, and in a spot where it could heal quicker than the initial diagnosis. Basically, the fracture didn’t extend from the thumb into the wrist joint, shaving a few weeks or more off the recovery time. Right now, I would say maybe the Eagles game in mid-October could be a return date. There has been speculation that maybe even the Rams game in the week before that, but no one knows for sure at this moment.
Ed: There are some who believe Tony Pollard is actually a better running back at this point than Ezekiel Elliott. If you had to ride with one of those guys, which one are you taking. Why?
Dave: The interesting thing about the Elliott and Pollard debate is that they are two very different running backs. Elliott is really a power back with some wiggle. He almost never finishes a run going backwards and will turn a two-yard gain into five yards just by driving the pile. He is also one of the best pass protection running backs I’ve ever seen. He can really pick up the blitzes and eliminate them. Pollard is a touchdown waiting to happen when he touches the ball. Get him in some space and you really have something. He can also work as a quasi-receiver and not be out of place. But, he is a liability when itc omes to protecting the quarterback in blitz situations.
So it’s kind of hard to pick because both bring very different elements to the team. But, if forced, I would take Pollard because in the NFL you need big plays on offense to consistently win, and Zeke really doesn’t provide that anymore. Pollard does, so I would scheme my offense around his skills.
Ed: The old standby. If you could take one Giant player and put him in the Cowboys’ lineup, who would it be? Why?
Dave: If it weren’t for kicker Brett Maher having a solid start to the season, I would have said Graham Gano. The Cowboys kicking problems have been a real issue, but Maher has done a great job the first couple of weeks. I’ve always liked Leonard Williams game, and the Cowboys defensive tackles have never been able to become a real force in the middle, so let’s put Williams in there and really turbocharge the defense. (I know he is injured, but this is just in general).
Ed: The Giants are favored here, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. It’s been a while since that has happened against Dallas. Does the Cooper Rush magic continue? Do the Giants get to an unexpected 3-0? Who wins, and why?
Dave: This is really a toss-up game. Confidence is a big factor in the NFLand the Giants certainly have a lot of that after a 2-0 start. They also have the home field advantage. You could easily pick this game togo either way, but I’ll be a homer and take the Cowboys for one reason- Micah Parsons (and the defense). Parsons is simply unblockable at times and the Cowboys defense is playing really well as a unit. They are vulnerable to the run at times (those defensive tackles again), and Barkley could certainly exploit that, but they are going to put a ton of pressure on Dainel Jones. Just enough to make the difference in a very close game.