Dallas Cowboys: Five reasons Dak Prescott will be GREAT in 2018

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 19: Dak Prescott /
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JACKSONVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 20: Allen Hurns #88 of the Jacksonville Jaguars makes a reception during the game against the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field on September 20, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

3. Receiver Reboot

For the run-pass option to work as it should, you need a few things:

  1. You need reliable receivers running precise routes
  2. You need a QB that can read the defense before and after the snap
  3. Speed – both horizontal and vertical

The Dallas Cowboys now appear to have all of those things.

They once said, you can have Dez Bryant run the same route 10 times and it’ll never look the same even once. While undeniably talented, Dez’s style of play doesn’t work so well in the RPO since it’s all about quick reads, timing, and location.

Additionally, when you have a receiver like Dez, you feel obligated to get him the ball. RPO doesn’t force the ball anywhere. It’s an opportunistic attack that flows to the most advantageous of situations. Without a true No. 1 option in the passing game, Dak can do what he does best – pass it to the best option on a given play. That means going through progressions on non-RPO plays, and that means picking the right option on RPO plays.

Why route-running matters

Dak will be tasked with reading the defense and watching how it responds once the ball is snapped. With the ball in Prescott’s hands (simultaneously in Zeke’s belly), Dak must decide whether to hand off or pass in an instant.

If he reads the conflict defender and decides it’s a pass, he must deliver the ball immediately. He can’t wonder where that receiver is going to be. He must know it. That’s why route-running has been the focus this offseason. There’s no time for ad-lib route running when the offense is executing RPO.

We saw in Dak Prescott’s first season how strong his decision-making skills are when he beat Tom Brady’s record for consecutive rookie passes without an interception. Now that the offensive line is making him comfortable, receivers are going to where they’re supposed to be, and timing and rhythm has been restored, we can reasonably assume Dak will be that elite decision maker once again.

With the receiving corps fixed and Dak’s confidence restored, the only thing missing is speed. Which brings us to our next problem that has been fixed…