How many times have we had to listen to people tell us that no rookie has ever done this, or ever done that. All season long, Dak Prescott has faced an endless supply of narratives that paint a picture that he just can’t to do what others before him haven’t done. And it seems like each week he keeps checking things off the list. This week, his team has reached 13 wins which ties Ben Roethlisberger for most wins by a rookie quarterback. Next week if he gets to 14, he’ll stand alone.
Now it’s great that Dak Prescott gets his name attached to all these accomplishments, but none of us are going to pretend that it’s all because of him. What this Cowboys team has done collectively has been remarkable. Fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott has in his own right propelled this offense to greatness. Everyone knows the exceptional offensive line that blocks up front. And now you can add a respectable defense to the equation. It’s a total team effort.
But as much as it takes 53 guys to get the job done, you cannot downplay the outstanding play-making ability of Prescott and what he brings to this team. During the game against the Detroit Lions, his skill-set was on full display and these things will be instrumental for a deep playoff run. Let’s examine just what this kid offered up on Monday night.
Taking Care Of The Ball
As much emphasis as Jason Garrett puts on taking care of the ball, he’s got to be ecstatic that his team is one of the top teams in the league when it comes to giveaways. This is a far cry from being the absolute worst in this category last season. The biggest reason for this turnaround is the lack of interceptions from the quarterback position. Last year, Cowboys quarterbacks combined for 22 interceptions. This year, there have only been four.
Prescott has had 12 games this season where he hasn’t thrown a pick. If he finishes next week without throwing an interception, he’ll have the second lowest single-season interception percentage in NFL history for a QB who has started all 16 games, trailing only Tom Brady in 2010. That’s a remarkable thing to accomplish for anyone, let alone a rookie.
Making The Big Pass
The dink and dunk nickname is cute, but it’s also a little presumptuous. Sure, Prescott will lay up short at times, which is one of the reasons he ranks in the top five in passing percentage. But another reason he’s at the top is his accuracy. Against the Lions, Prescott was putting the ball in great spots for the receivers to make the catch.
He hit Dez Bryant on a slant that was right in his chest.
He threw an over the shoulder dime to Terrance Williams for a big gain.
And he located the ball perfectly for Brice Butler to where the safety had no shot to break up the pass.
In his two touchdown passes to Bryant, the ball was right where it needed to be for the Cowboys star receiver to make the catch.
Prescott hit four different receivers for pass plays 20 yards or greater. Being able to be a deep threat is crucial and despite some people that feel this is a real weakness in Prescott’s game, he’s showing he can deliver. Dak is averaging 8.0 yards per attempt which is better than any other Cowboys quarterback throughout their history. It even eclipses Tony Romo (7.9 y/a) who has been a big play-making QB his entire career.
Beating You With His Legs
It was funny that in his first game where fans were extra sensitive to his well being, Prescott seemed to throw all caution to the wind when it came to finishing his runs. It was like he thought he was Chris Jones or something. Prescott would run take off running four times for 35 yards. Like he has all season, he used great judgment when deciding when to stay in the pocket and when to start running. He’s been very helpful in keeping the chains moving with his legs when the defenses coverage holds up.
But against the Lions, he was taking a pounding. While it wasn’t something we fans wanted to see, there were some great things to come from this. First off, he’s a tough cookie. At 6’2”, 226 pounds (he’s likely bigger now), he’s not this flimsy vulnerable quarterback that is easy to beat up on. While it is not ideal for the quarterback to be exposing himself to this type of pounding, this won’t be such a big concern come playoffs. In games where there is no tomorrow, you have to pull out all the stops. Don’t be surprised if Prescott does even more damage in the running game come January.
He Has The Intangibles
When describing Tony Romo, Bill Parcells talked about the “it factor” and how some quarterbacks have it and some don’t. Prescott was a fourth-round draft pick, but it has become clear to everyone that his skills are first round, top-ten worthy. Prescott looks every bit the part as one of those players that have it. The way he changes plays at the line of scrimmage, sells the fake on those bootlegs, or just throws the ball into the ground when the defense sniffs out the play – these are all traits of winning quarterbacks in the league.
And the kid doesn’t let things bother him. Even when he has a couple sub par games, he just calmly responds by stepping up his game.
After the NYG game.. I wondered how Dak Prescott would respond to the bad game. In his last two games.. 47 of 56, 491 yards w/ 4 TDs.— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) December 27, 2016
Prescott is having a great season and he is playing well enough to lead this Cowboys team deep in the playoffs. Winning the Super Bowl is hard, but there is nothing about how this kid plays that should worry people as they embark on their post-season journey. And there are plenty of things about him that should make people excited.