Fifth-year backup Cooper Rush beat out veteran journeyman Garrett Gilbert and 2020 seventh-round selection Ben DiNucci in the race to back up recently extended quarterback Dak Prescott. The Cowboys released Gilbert and DiNucci on Tuesday morning, a person with knowledge of the moves told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to publicly disclose the information.

Rush spent three seasons with the Cowboys beginning when the team signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan in 2017. Rush spent time with the Giants last year before rejoining the Cowboys midseason. Prescott missed 11 games in 2020 due to a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle. Gilbert and DiNucci each started a game – losses – for the team after backup Andy Dalton sustained a concussion and contracted COVID-19.

Cowboys brass hoped Gilbert would continue to show the mettle he displayed in the 24-19 loss to the Steelers. But instead, Rush displayed better system proficiency and comfort with weapons during the preseason. Tuesday morning, he was the last backup standing.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Garrett Gilbert (3) talks to line judge Carl Johnson (101) and field judge Jabir Walker (26) in the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised Rush’s “consistency” Tuesday morning on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan.

“He’s shown he can run the complete offense,” Jones said. “Credit to him, you had some tough competition. Those guys didn’t cut him any slacks He’s had a lot of reps, all of our quarterbacks have because of the absence of Dak.

“All of those things make us feel real comfortable.” 

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

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