Dak Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback from Mississippi State, is entering the starting lineup much sooner than anyone could have hoped/expected.
Dak Prescott has been lighting up the NFL this August. Through three games of preseason action, Prescott has completed 39 of 50 passes for 454 yards. He’s thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions giving him a league-high 137.8 quarterback rating.
Add in his two touchdown runs and Dak Prescott appears to be the pass-first, duel-threat QB that offensive coordinators are searching for these days. The rookie 4th round pick has quickly become the darling of the preseason and now it appears he’s going to get a crack at the regular season as well.
The Dallas Cowboys will likely start the 2016 season without their franchise passer. Tony Romo suffered a fracture to his L1 vertebra on Friday and could be on the shelf for quite a long time. The Cowboys are playing it close to the vest but most sources are reporting a 6-10 week timetable.
To put it another way, The Dallas Cowboys could easily be without Romo for half of the NFL season. In order to fulfill their playoff hopes, the Cowboys can’t just survive without Romo, they must find a way to thrive.
It’s easy to disregard his gaudy preseason numbers. After all, opposing defenses are largely vanilla and rarely are they specifically scheming against the offense. But they are still trying to stop him and so far, it’s been a futile effort.
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It’s also important to keep in mind that Dak has been dominating against opposing starters, not back-ups. Some pretty good starters at that.
Every QB playing in the preseason, is trying to do as well as possible. They might not overly value preseason stats but they are trying to achieve them nonetheless. Dak has just been better at it than everyone else.
Prescott has impressed some of the most critical minds in football. It’s not the numbers that are catching scouts’ eyes, but the way he’s getting those numbers. His arm strength has been an asset downfield. Prescott has delivered on-target passes on go-routes and deep outs. He’s floated balls over coverage and forced balls into tight windows.
Most importantly, he’s been successfully reading defenses and making smart decisions with the ball. Dak Prescott was notorious in college for ball security. It seems that very important trait is carrying over to the next level as he has yet to commit a turnover.
Prescott has been extremely accurate both in the pocket and on the run. He’s a consistent performer standing clean in the pocket and when under pressure. He prefers shotgun over playing under center, but then again, so does Jason Garrett and Tony Romo so that’s not really the problem some people are making it out to be.
Stats aside, Dak Prescott is showing he’s an NFL quarterback by how he’s competing. Obviously, he’s not going to continue to be top-rated passer during the regular season, but he’s done enough to alleviate fears that the game is too big for him.
The icing on the cake is his running ability. His running skills are, in a sense, his Get Out of Jail Free card. He’s clearly a pass-first type of QB, always looking downfield for the biggest play available. But he won’t hesitate to tuck and run when the situation calls for it. A few opportunistic runs could add a new layer to the already-dynamic Cowboys offense.
It would be nice to slowly develop Dak Prescott for a year or two behind Tony Romo. But that’s no longer an option now. The time for Dak Prescott is now. Ready or not, here he comes.