Look, we all know that Dak Prescott had a pretty decent showing in his first ever NFL game, even if it was in the preseason. And after all the coverage that has already flooded the interwebs about how well he did and how the Dallas Cowboys now look pretty good in selecting him instead of all those quarterbacks taken ahead of him who did not do nearly as well, you are ready to move on and quit reading more paeans to his debut.
Who am I kidding? You want MOAR! We will start things off with some additional goodness about the unheralded rookie who has suddenly become the talk of the NFL.
He is, of course, number one on their list.
Dak Prescott's dazzling performance in the Cowboys' 28-24 loss to the Rams doesn't mean he's a shoo-in for the No. 2 job, but it greatly helps his case. The fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State completed 10 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdown, earning praise from Dez Bryant in the process.
We'll just leave the subhead they used here.
Jared Goff gets overshadowed by Dak Prescott
But he wasn't the only Cowboy mentioned. They also had some love for Dez Bryant, and that well-known kick returner for Dallas, Buck Whitehead . . . BUCK? Lucky Whitehead ain't gettin' no respeck.
This article has its share of New York-style snark, but there is still real praise for what Prescott accomplished.
But there was no doubt Prescott was the star of the weekend. Just as it has become a trivia question to name the six quarterbacks taken ahead of Tom Brady in the 2000 draft, maybe one the question will be to name the seven quarterbacks taken ahead of Prescott.
A lot of you probably just read the quotes for these, but this is one article that is well worth clicking the link to absorb the whole thing. Jeff Sullivan dropped a ton of smart thinking in this one.
Nowadays, "intangibles" is a dirty word around the new-age statistics driven crowd. Not supposed to exist, much like being "clutch." Here's a word I believe in quite deeply, have my entire life around sports as an athlete, coach and reporter. A "gamer," a guy who just performs better when the game starts. And I think Prescott is one of those guys. I'm all in on the kid. I'm the same guy who has written negatively about every other quarterback they have brought in since Romo became the starter. None of them looked the part. This kid does.
So much good stuff here, it deserves a double dip.
Want to repeat this, and really, plead for this to become a reality: Play Prescott at least seven of the next eight quarters of the preseason. Give him the entire game on Friday. Commit and invest in his future. Reps, reps and more reps. There's a real chance the Cowboys have finally found the successor to Romo, and more importantly in the short-term, a serviceable backup for the next couple of years.
Had to include this just for the wordplay.
Dak that thing up: Dak Prescott was nothing short of sensational against the Rams. He should have been a perfect 12-12 with two touchdowns, but Geoff Swaim chose to drop two passes. Those can't overshadow a performance in which Prescott made decisive throws, including a beautiful pass where he looked off the safety and dropped the ball right into Terrance Williams' hands/body. If he continues to play this well, the Cowboys won't need a veteran backup, they'll have their Dakup.
Joe Busell takes a more measured approach to Prescott's coming out party, and wants to see him face more pressure to see how he handles it. But he still saw some real positives.
In the interest of full disclosure, I evaluated Prescott in the pre-draft process and I saw a quarterback who had an immense physical skill set but lacked the ability to get through a progression. He was a QB who both survived and succeeded because he was so physically gifted, but in my opinion, lacked the polish in the pocket to be a good NFL QB - at least initially.
With that being said, Prescott displayed a lot of these characteristics in his first NFL preseason game. The one thing that stood out was that Prescott didn't seem outmatched at all at the higher level. His poise and wherewithal in the pocket was much better than anticipated as evidenced by this 32-yard dime for a touchdown. (The TD pass to Terrance Williams.)
This is too funny, in a sad sort of way. At least Jerry Jones had the perfect reason why Johnny Manziel is not even close to being in the picture: "Dak Prescott".
OK, let's get on to some of the other news.
This is a fantasy football projection, included for the "well, duh" factor.
Tony Romo had the game off as the team continues to be very deliberate (the official Jason Garrett buzzword of 2016) - but he was hardly just chilling on the sideline.
"He was into it," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "I said, ‘Tony, a big part of this is we've got these young guys and they're going to need your presence.' He was into it, looking through the photos and the video and kind of talking through some of the things that came up and kind of talking about some of the plays that we're going run and how to look at them. He did a great job of being a leader with those guys in between series."
If Prescott had not had such a stunning half as quarterback, the contract extension for Travis Frederick would probably have been the biggest news from Saturday. We all know the story by now, but that doesn't make it any less fun to revisit.
It all seems funny now that Travis Frederick has proven most of the draftniks wrong.
When the Dallas Cowboys used the 31st pick in the first round of the 2013 draft on the Wisconsin center, they were mostly panned. ESPN Insider Todd McShay had Frederick as a third-round pick on his draft board. A day after the Cowboys picked Frederick, ESPN's Ed Werder polled five teams and the best grade was the fourth round. One team had him as a borderline sixth or seventh round pick.
Once again, the Cowboys' staff (spearheaded by Stephen Jones) demonstrated their master of the salary cap.
Despite receiving a $3.25 million signing bonus, Frederick's salary-cap figure for 2016 will remain the same from the rookie deal he signed in 2013. How? The Cowboys lowered Frederick's base salary from $1.341 million to $691,822.
Just in case you think the high praise for the deal with Frederick is a case of homerism, here is a great analysis from the masters of NFL funny money at Over the Cap. It goes into deep detail as to why it is a good move. Here is the summary.
Provided that Dallas resists the urge to convert millions upon millions to bonus money my guess is this will be looked at as a very good contract two years down the line, when Frederick normally would have been a free agent and now looks undervalued as inferior players cash in during free agency. All they really gave up were a few million in guarantees to get this deal done now and are validating more and more that Smith contract they signed. If they can get all their linemen to sign early and essentially commit their entire career to Dallas, they should be in terrific shape to avoid a bad slippage post Romo and to have the cap in good enough shape to where they can go out and spend in free agency in the post Romo years to take the next step to improve what should be a much younger team.
When you are adding more healthy bodies as camp progresses than you are losing, it is a good thing.
The Dallas Cowboys will welcome defensive end Benson Mayowa, defensive tackle Maliek Collins and linebacker Damien Wilson to practice Monday for the first time since training camp began.
The defense really stumbled late as they let the Los Angeles Rams come back to win the game, but there were some good things anyway.
On the positive side, the Cowboys have three defensive linemen who showed well against the Rams on Saturday. Cedric Thornton, David Irving and Shaneil Jenkins were the bright spots on the Cowboys' defensive line.
Thornton displayed a stunningly fast first step to illustrate why the Cowboys went out and got him in free agency.
Thornton blows past the center leaving him blocking air and forces the left guard to stay and block him to save the play. The rest of the left side of the Cowboys' defensive line has done a good job of beating their initial blocks and have almost caught up to Thornton's penetration.
Looks like the guys at KD Drummond's site have a nice thing going with these "One Play" posts, so let's add another for you. This dissects the blitz play where Derek Akunne hit Jared Goff, resulting in an interception by Mark Nzeocha.
The zone blitz play call comes as welcome surprise from a coach with a known dislike of blitzing. Marinelli is able to generate a takeaway by simply sending one additional player at the quarterback. In fact, both of Dallas' takeaways in this game were forced by pressure from blitzers. If Dallas' front four struggles in generating pass rush on their own continue, the Cowboys defensive coordinator will have no other option that to dial up more blitzes.
One thing we are all anxiously awaiting is the chance to see first round pick Ezekiel Elliott on the field. That may almost be here.
Coach Jason Garrett said Elliott could do some individual work in the early portion of Monday's practice but when the team drills start he would continue to do rehab. In Monday's walk-through Elliott took the first-team snaps for the first time since getting hurt.
"Just taking his situation day by day," Garrett said. "He's closer and closer and we do anticipate him practicing here fairly soon."