Jay C. Brandriet
Though he’s started 34 games (one in the playoffs), Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys has earned a do-over. To me, it’s like his career starts over this Sunday night. Dallas will host their rival, the New York Giants.
Dak has been called out for the first time in his young career. Game one of his third pro season did not go well. The Cowboys have less punch on their offensive line and many claim “the worst receiving corps in the NFL.” Dallas was playing an elite defense in Carolina, but Prescott was underwhelming. He didn’t come across as a playmaker. Fans are questioning his level of ability and potential. The media is also now pointing the finger at Dak. He has been universally seen as “B quarterback.” The perception is, he is now playing for a new report card.
In 2016 the Cowboys were built to win big. They had the best offensive line in pro football. They had drafted Ezekiel Elliott. Tony Romo had one of the great seasons in league history in 2014. Tony then gets hurt in the pre season. From the first second Prescott walked onto the field, the vibe just felt right. He was big and strong. He spoke with humble authority and seemed driven to lead. He was the epitome of moment at a time maturity. I called this rookie wearing number four, “the king of careful.” He was safe, but moved the chains with consistency. With training wheels on, he was already Alex Smith level. After a win at Green Bay in Prescott’s sixth game, I felt like he had done enough to start the rest of the season. I knew Romo had a higher ceiling, but the stability Dak was playing with could not be ignored. Year one was outstanding. It was all about poise in the noise.
In year two, Dak came back to earth a bit. He looked more human this time around. He had been seen on tape and threw too many high and low balls. Number four also seemed to lack chemistry with Dez Bryant. Part of his struggle was related to Zeke Elliott getting suspended, and poor play at backup tackle. The Cowboys still finished 9-7. Dak had 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Year three was going to be the truth teller about this player. I believe in Dak Prescott. I think he’s a franchise quarterback. I can see 150 starts, two pro bowls, and a couple of shots at a world championship. He’s a grown up. The details needed for success will come. Giants safety Landon Collins said today that his team needs to focus on the Dallas run game. “Put the ball in Dak’s hands and we have a better shot at winning.” While Collins was just stating the obvious, I like how Prescott responded. He was slightly annoyed and full of fire. “Challenge accepted. Challenge accepted.”
The darts are flying. The honeymoon period is over. Time to take sides. Time to start over. I have your back Dak.
Jay C. Brandriet