Dak Prescott, mature beyond his years

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Updated: September 19, 2016
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He was the 135th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. A selection that many ignored at the time, thinking he would be just another rookie quarterback who would sit the bench for a few years. But then Tony Romo went down with yet another back injury, as well as the Cowboys’ backup, Kellen Moore. And in the blink of an eye, Dak Prescott was given the opportunity to be the general in Dallas.

No one expects a fourth-round pick to take the league by storm, but Prescott has done just that. He’s been everything the Cowboys could’ve hoped for. And then some.

It’s still early in the season, and it’s not as if Dallas (1-1) is off to an undefeated start. But Prescott has been a pleasant surprise for Cowboys fans. It all started in the preseason, where he took advantage of the moment, and played at a high level. The rookie completed 39-of-50 passes for 454 yards, seven total touchdowns (five passing, two rushing) and zero interceptions. And he’s continued that trend of making smart decisions and protecting the ball in the regular season. Prescott has yet to throw a pick in 75 pass attempts, which is a new NFL record for a quarterback in his first two starts — passing Warren Moon‘s 72 attempts.

In a 27-23 victory over the Washington Redskins Sunday, Prescott delivered when it mattered most. Following an ill-advised redzone interception by Kirk Cousins, Prescott and his troops were given the ball on Washington’s 20-yard line with 10:35 left in the game. He drove his team down the length of the field, and they capped off the possession with an Alfred Morris touchdown run with 4:45 remaining. Eating up 5:50 of clock.

Prescott was impressive on the drive, completing 5-of-6 passes for 56 yards and putting his team in scoring position. On a third-and-11, on the Redskins’ 24-yard line, Prescott made a clutch throw to slot receiver Cole Beasley, giving his team a critical first down. To me, it was the biggest play of the game. It gave the Cowboys a chance to score a touchdown, instead of settling for three points and tying the contest.

That put the pressure on Cousins and Washington’s offense to score a touchdown in order to win the game. And, unlike Prescott, Cousins failed to come through when his team needed him most.

The poise and calmness of Prescott has been admirable. He’s been in total command of the offense, and doing it with a graceful swagger. The Cowboys are usually pretty dull to watch when Romo isn’t on the field. Since 2011, they’re 2-14 when he’s not under center. And, coincidentally, both of those wins came against the Redskins.

But this year is different. They have no need to panic. Prescott is the perfect replacement, and may become the Cowboys’ quarterback of the future. If Jeff Fisher and the Los Angeles Rams could travel back to April 28, they may consider taking Prescott with the top pick — he’s been that good.

While Jared Goff, who was the No. 1 overall selection, has yet to take the field in a regular-season game, Prescott is thriving in a Cowboys system that has all the necessary tools. He’s taking snaps behind a massive offensive line, that’s arguably the best in the league. He has a top tier wide receiver in Dez Bryant. A future Hall of Famer in Jason Witten at tight end. And he’s developing a nice chemistry with Beasley, who he’s targeted 18 times in two games — tied with Witten for most on the team. There’s no question he’s been placed in a better situation than Goff, and maybe even Philadelphia Eagles rookie Carson Wentz. But it’s also something special about this kid.

Prescott is a load to bring down, in a Ben Roethlisberger-type way. When defenders feel they have an easy sack, the 6-foot-2, 226-pound quarterback is throwing them off him and finding ways to get rid of the ball. There were a few times during Sunday’s game where Prescott extended plays due to his leg strength. He maneuvers well with the ball in his hands — something Romo doesn’t bring to the table, at least at this stage of his career. Prescott scored the first rushing touchdown for a Cowboys quarterback since 2012 on Sunday. Yup, it’s been four years since that’s happened.

But, nevertheless, and also expectedly, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is still on the Romo bandwagon once he’s healthy and able to return. Via ESPN:

“Tony’s situation, when he’s back, will be about whether he’s functional,” Jones said. “We’re a better team. We play better.

“If Tony had been there from the get-go this thing would be simple. Bottom line is Ezekiel Elliott is impacting the defense, which says everything right there. They know it and we know it. They’re stacking it to stop him.”

If Prescott continues along this path, it’ll be tough for the Cowboys to impede his progression and pull him out. But, as they have since he took over as the starter, Dallas’ coaching staff and fan base have a ton of confidence in Romo — when healthy. And with good reason. The Cowboys are a different team with No. 9 at the helm. They go from a Super Bowl contender, to a below average football team without him.

But this isn’t Brandon Weeden, Kyle Orton or Matt Cassel taking over this time around. It’s a young, mature and coachable quarterback. Prescott is carrying himself like a veteran, giving this Cowboys team life without Romo.

 

Josiah Turner

Josiah Turner

Josiah is the founder and editor-in-chief at Sideline Sports Report. He is a writer for ESPN, and has written for Rant Sports and FanSided covering the Washington Redskins. He's also covered high school basketball for Virginia Preps (Rivals.com). Josiah is from Chesapeake, VA and a college graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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3 Comments

  1. Hines

    October 30, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Thkinnig like that shows an expert at work

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    November 4, 2016 at 5:43 am

    I’m grateful you made the post. It’s cleared the air for me.

  3. http://www./

    November 13, 2016 at 11:00 am

    In reply to your question I just have a standard set-up on the bike(s)regarding the H/bar and tape and a pair of basic mits,nothing special.I rely on frequent changes of hand position to alleviate the discomfort and this seems to work for me.

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