Yes it is only the preseason. Yes it is only his second game in the NFL. Yes he is currently sitting number 2 on the depth chart. But Dak Prescott last night built on an impressive debut and showed off his arm talent and strength as well as his mobility and speed.
It was an impressive performance from the Cowboys’ fourth round pick this year as Prescott dazzled and wowed Cowboys fans. The stats are impressive 12 of 15 for 199 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. But the tape that Prescott managed to compile is something that will surely have many within the Cowboys organisation guessing just how long it is until they hand the keys of the franchise over to this impressive rookie.
Week 1 @ Los Angeles
For a full recap of Dak Prescott’s performance against the Rams and for a breakdown of him as a prospect coming out of Mississippi State … click here
Week 2 vs. Miami
The first throw was a simple play action from Dallas’ 5 yard line where the Cowboys lined up with 2 in the backfield forcing the Dolphins to bite down on the run and leave Prescott an open lane to wheel out to the right hand side of the end zone before connecting with Tight End Geoff Swaim on a perfectly thrown 25 yard pick up (this was on the money whilst on the move).
On his fourth throw, Prescott connected with Dez Bryant for a Touchdown down the side line. Taking the snap out of the shotgun Prescott quickly scanned his eyes from left to right and saw that Bryant had blown by Miami’s no.1 corner Byron Maxwell and connected for a TD. Prescott completed his first five passes and connected with five different receivers.
Dak Prescott’s sixth snap was slightly high which gave Miami’s Andre Branch enough time to get round the corner. It seemed a certain sack but Prescott stepped up in the pocket and escaped between his Center and Left Guard and turned a certain sack into a 10-yard gain. Prescott’s next snap was even more impressive in terms of pocket awareness and displayed his mobility as a Quarterback. Third and 10, an obvious passing down, Miami generated a pass rush that collapsed the pocket. Prescott rolled out to the right and then using his arm to signal to Cowboys receivers down the field where he wanted them to move, decided to tuck the ball and ran 20 yards untouched for a touchdown. Below you can see the pocket collapsing on Prescott and his sense of awareness as he rolls out right and ‘runs to throw’ before tucking the ball and scrambling for a TD.
Dak Prescott showed all game long that he could detect pressure in the pocket and have the sense and feel for when everything around him was collapsing. Alongside this he managed to maintain his eyes down field the whole time and showcased his touch on the football as balls seemed to drop right into the arms of receivers. As well as his touch, Prescott displayed his huge arm as he dialled up a 60-yard bomb down the field connecting with Brice Butler. The next throw was a beauty of a back shoulder fade as he again looked to hook up with Butler who was unable to get both feet down. Prescott showed off his back shoulder throw last week and it seems that he is able to throw a perfect fade in the end zone as receivers break away from cornerbacks and towards the corner of the end zone. Prescott continued his hot start in the NFL and was poised in the pocket and did not seem flustered as he at times had unblocked blitzers baring down on him.
While Tony Romo is unquestionably the Dallas Cowboys starting Quarterback and will remain so heading in 2016, how can any Dallas Cowboys fan not be excited about Dak Prescott as an emerging young Quarterback. The kid is playing light-years ahead of his rookie status and is displaying the arm talent and mental make up needed to start in the NFL. Romo is 36 years old and has not played a full 16 games since 2012. Romo had an unconventional path into the NFL and is one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL (largely due to the media attention the Cowboys receive).
Yet Prescott is slowly removing the crown that has sat atop of Tony Romo’s head since 2006 and we could soon be seeing Romo’s decade in Dallas coming to an end. Jerry Jones will do everything in his power to bring a Super Bowl back to Dallas for the first time since the ‘90s and he is the type of unpredictable general manager and owner who could just pull the rug out from under this franchise and go with Prescott at Quarterback. Although I cannot imagine Romo being benched in 2016, it is a very real possibility that he will get injured at some point and Prescott would then have a chance to step in. If this happens then much the same way as Romo himself earned his place, Prescott could make a statement forcing Dallas’ hand to stay with the hot arm and the player with the greatest potential.
If Prescott can build on his impressive performances so far in the preseason and continue to develop and learn the game as Romo’s backup in 2016 then the Cowboys will have a difficult decision to make next offseason. Tony Romo at 37 years old will count for $24,700,000 in 2017; $25,200,000 in 2018 and $23,700,000 in 2019 (when he will be 39 years old). In contrast Prescott has all the advantages of a rookie contract and will count for a minuscule $635,848 in 2017; $725,848 in 2018 and $815,848 in 2019. We have seen the Seahawks cash in on a promising young rookie Quarterback and his franchise friendly contract allowing them to spread the salary cap around elsewhere as they built a dominant Defense alongside a League leading running game. Dallas has the best Offensive Line in football in which to protect Prescott alongside a future star in Ezekiel Elliot who has other backs to complement Dallas’ rushing attack. Dez Bryant is a top-5 Wide Receiver and if the Cowboys decide to go with Prescott from 2017 onwards they could use their $24million, $24m and $23m savings for the following three seasons to bring in a stud of a Defensive player. This is still largely hypothetical as Romo could well see out the remainder of his contract but if Jerry Jones starts the young combo of Elliot and Prescott then Dallas could try and land one of the big name Defensive free agents in 2017 (DE Calais Campbell, DE/LB Von Miller, S Eric Berry, OLB Jamie Collins or Dont’a Hightower).
It is an incredibly early stage in the career of QB Dak Prescott and for now he has to keep building on these two impressive performances if he hopes that one day Jerry Jones will have to contemplate the scenarios we have spoke about above. For now though one thing seems clear, Dallas got a steal taking Dak Prescott in the fourth round and he is an incredibly promising young Quarterback.