Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ Dak Attack

Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback sensation, is setting the NFL on fire two weeks into the 2016 preseason.

It’s all about Dak Prescott these days. And why not? Dak Prescott has not-so-quietly owned the preseason, ranking as the NFL’s top-rated passer. Not just top-rated rookie passer, mind you, but top rated passer in the entire NFL.

Pooh-pooh the preseason if you must, but what Dak Prescott has already accomplished is an impressive feat. Prescott, a rookie fourth round pick (seventh QB taken overall), has guided the Cowboys offense with a nearly perfect QB rating of 156.4. He’s done so against the Miami Dolphins’ and the St Louis Rams’ starting units (sans only a couple notable starters). This isn’t a rookie beating up rookies. This is a rookie beating up veterans.

In just two games, Dak Prescott has completed 22-of-27 passes for 338 yards, six TDs and zero interceptions. To put it another way, Dak Prescott has tallied more TDs than he has INCOMPLETIONS!

"“Man, I’ll tell you this: rookie is a name – just a name that they give you in the league,” Dez Bryant said of Dak. “Either you can do it or you can’t.”"

Dak Prescott clearly can do it.

The Dak Attack isn’t anything groundbreaking or unique. In fact, it’s the same brand of offense that Tony Romo has when he’s running things. Jason Garrett expects his quarterbacks to conform to his offense and Dak Prescott does just that.

More from Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys offense (an Air Coryell adaptation) is a sophisticated attack that utilizes deep routes, proper reads (by both QB and WR), utilizes mismatches, and obviously execution.

There is absolutely nothing gimmicky about it.

Everything is built around the threat of the deep ball and the passer is expected to look downfield first and then follow his progressions down.

How much of the offense Dak Prescott knows and executes is unknown, but what he has been tasked with, he’s executed extremely well. It’s very rare he leaves a deeper play on the field and he isn’t overly eager to check-down like so many of his predecessors.

Much has been made about Dak Prescott’s limited exposure to the pro-style offense. While that is a concern, it’s not as big as many think, since the Cowboys don’t consistently line up in a traditional pro-style offense anyway. Garrett has absolutely no issues leaning on the shotgun throughout a game.

What the Dak Attack brings to the Cowboys is both tangible and intangible. Like Romo, Prescott is elusive. In the first two games, he was under pressure more often than not. As per PFF, he was under pressure 16 times and passed with a clean pocket 15 times. What’s noteworthy is that he maintained his same passer rating regardless of pressure.

Related Story: Book it: Tony Romo Will Win Comeback Player of the Year

Prescott very clearly possesses a running ability long ago retired from the Tony Romo arsenal. But just because he can run, doesn’t mean he will  run. On multiple occasions, Prescott was gifted open field in front of him but repeatedly he resisted the urge to tuck and run and instead chose to make the bigger play downfield through the air.

When facing a 2nd and ridiculously long, Prescott seemingly adjusted his strategy and ran the moment he saw daylight. He subsequently ate up yards and gave himself a much more manageable 3rd down to work with.

The fact that Dak Prescott has such situational awareness shows both his calm and preparedness. The game isn’t too fast for him, as it is with most rookie quarterbacks looking to take the mammoth NFL step.

As with most offenses, accuracy is a staple in Dallas. One weapon, Cole Beasley, is especially hard to both pass to and to cover. Every QB not named Romo last season struggled delivering Cole Beasley the ball. The small target that Beasley presented was too difficult.

Not for Dak Prescott. Prescott had no problem connecting with Beasley, fitting the ball into small windows and keeping the diminutive slot man in-stride for significant yards after the catch.

Next: Will Brice Butler be the next Miles Austin?

The Dak Attack is about talent and mindfulness – not gimmicks. It’s preseason but what Dak Prescott has shown has sustainability and possibly even greatness in its future.