Last night’s game was that special preseason game where we finally got to see Tony Romo in action for the first time since Thanksgiving of last year. People weren’t sure if we’d get to see him for one or two series, but after an opening drive that stalled out with the help of three holding penalties, the coaches had to give him another shot.
And we are glad they did.
It started off a little shaky, but it wouldn’t take long for Tony to get his offense firing on all cylinders.
After a penalty-plagued first possession, the Cowboys (1-1) drove 72 yards for the game’s first score. Romo completed all three of his passes and Morris closed the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
It helps to have some familiar targets to throw the ball to.
If you were skeptical about Prescott performing like he did last week against the Rams, I don’t blame you. After all, he didn’t match it on Friday.
He bettered it. Amazingly, in his second professional football game of his career, he actually posted a perfect 158.3. Perfect. He had to get a little help from a roughing the passer call that wiped out the one bad throw of his brief career, an interception that looked to sail on him (possibly due to not getting his feet set). But he wound up completing 12 of 15 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, plus he ran in a couple. One was on a twenty yard improvisation that Kellen Moore, they guy who was supposed to be the QB2 this year, would never, ever have managed to make. The other was on a sneak. Oh, and just to prove he can make all the throws, he had a 58 yard pass to Butler that traveled about 57 in the air, and immediately followed that up with a perfect back-shoulder throw to Butler for his second TD.
Usually, when Romo is finished for the night, fans start to lose a little bit of interest in the game. Not tonight. The fun was just getting started.
Prescott led the Cowboys on six scoring drives, helping turn a 7-0 lead into a 41-14 rout. His final stat line was eye-popping: 12-of-15 passing, 199 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and add in another 28 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. His QB passer rating was a perfect 158.3.
Yes, it’s still only the preseason and he hasn’t faced a defense as intimidating as the Denver Broncos’. But it has to be reassuring to the Cowboys that the game hasn’t seemed too overwhelming for him.
pokemon seek out dak prescott.— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) August 20, 2016
The Cowboys look like they might have done well with their late fourth-round draft pick.
Mid-round picks at quarterback are generally wastes. Teams draft flawed quarterbacks in the middle rounds and usually give up on them right away (hello, Bryce Petty). The success rate for quarterbacks selected in the fourth round and beyond is startlingly bad, and those are valuable picks teams are throwing away. But teams keep trying because if you hit one, it’s the NFL’s lottery. We live in a world in which Brock Osweiler and Sam Bradford are worth $18 million a year to their respective teams. It’s not easy to find a good quarterback if you don’t have one.
If Prescott turns out to be a viable backup, he’s going to save the team a lot of money.
Keep this in mind, too: Cowboys will pay Prescott only $2.45 million over the next four seasons.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) August 20, 2016
Just as a comparison, the Eagles have $57 million tied to their backup quarterbacks over the next four years.
As well as the offense has been playing, it’s easy to forget about the teams number four overall pick. Dak Prescott has been great, but when it comes to the full potential of the Cowboys offense - they’re just getting started.
What will Ezekiel Elliott be able to do behind this offensive line? We should get our first glimpse Thursday night. After watching Alfred Morris rush for 85 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries Friday night, I wonder what Elliott would have done in his place. We haven't seen the former Ohio State star in live game action because of his strained hamstring. If he's as good as advertised, he'll go for over 1,200 yards behind this offensive line. Even if he struggles early on, I think he still gets to 1,000. Seattle should be a great test.
One of the great things about watching Dak and Alf tear it up this preseason is that it serves as a reminder that if the Cowboys endure an injury to Tony or Zeke, the world doesn’t come crashing down on us. Next man up is alive and well in big D.
What’s so great about Morris is that … nothing is great. He’s just good at a lot of things. He’s a good inside runner, but not with a ton of power. He’s got quick feet, but obviously not great speed. He’s not a pass-catcher and he’s not a great blocker.
But he’s just good. And sometimes good is great, especially for what will eventually be a backup role.
While the Cowboys only got credit for five touchdowns, they did score a couple other times that were called by penalties, including another would-be TD for Alfred Morris.
Morris TD called back – It’d be one thing if Alfred Morris’ 20-yard touchdown run was called because of a holding call that cleared the way. But in this case, the run to the right side was negated by a procedure penalty by left tackle Chaz Green, who wasn’t up on the line of scrimmage. So while it didn’t count in the books, it counts in terms of a running back who can make a play to the end zone. Morris looked more than sharp on Friday and showed why he needs to have some kind of role in the offense.
Hey, it’s not all about Dak. There were other good performers on the team, even some players on defense.
Defensively, the Cowboys played well limiting the Dolphins to 14 points. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens led the team in tackles with a total of six. Defensive tackles Tyrone Crawford, Shaneil Jenkins and linebacker Kyle Wilber all recorded sacks. For Jenkins, who just joined the team a couple weeks ago, it was his second sack of the preseason.
If you think Prescott’s salary cap figure is a steal, just look at how the Cowboys defense looks right now.
You can’t pass up savings like that!
It wasn’t all good news for Dallas as they did lose a player to injury. Linebacker, Mark Nzeocha hurt his Achilles during kick coverage in the first half.
There’s hope that Mark Nzeocha dodged some bad news on Friday, though, as Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the linebacker strained his Achilles, rather than tearing it.
Nzeocha suffered the injury on a kickoff return in the first half. He was evaluated by team athletic trainers, but he did not dress out of his uniform. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said he was hopeful the injury wasn’t too serious.
While the degree of injury is still unknown right now, it would be an unfortunate blow to the teams LB as he’s having a great camp.
Speaking of injured players, the Cowboys still have a couple aces yet to play this preseason. Jerry Jones provides some details as to when we might expect to see them.
"I would hope that his practice week would give him the kind of reps that he would feel comfortable of not reinjuring that hamstring," Jones said. "I wouldn’t want to say that [he’s going to play] until we see him in practice."
"I don’t want to get ahead of it, but he was better this week than last week, so we’ll keep an eye on it," Jones said. "I know we want to get Romo some snaps. I’m more comfortable when Smith is in there than he’s not."
The Cowboys new practice facility in Frisco is quite impressive. The team will use "The Star" and The Ford Center is like a reduced scale AT & T Stadium. The high school teams in the Frisco area really lucked out on this one.
Here's a look at The Ford Center, the 12,000 seat stadium where Cowboys will practice, Frisco HS teams will play. pic.twitter.com/fmq2yWr13V— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 19, 2016
Sometimes you can use the stadium for other good things.
Hundreds of volunteers and over 10,000 children along with their families received free backpacks with grade-specific school supplies at the Kickoff. Vendors and services also provided vaccines, haircuts, dental checkups and vision screenings inside AT&T Stadium for many attendees who preregistered for the event.
If you are a fan of Terrance Williams, then you better enjoy him while it lasts. Sturm answers some reader questions and isn’t that optimistic about Wlilliams' future in Dallas.
Question: This is the last year of Terrance Williams' rookie deal, right? If he doesn't improve much, is he worth re-signing?
Sturm: If he disappoints this year, then you would expect the Cowboys would rather spend a pick on his replacement and not spend a ton to keep him. If he is awesome, then the price for his next deal might be high above the Cowboys' threshold and suddenly you want to draft his replacement. I am sure there is a sweet spot, but as we have talked about for quite a while, his next deal (based on his current resume and conservative projections moving forward) could be very similar to the deals that are currently out there in the 5-year/$40-million range. At worst, you figure Williams will get $6M a year and if he is huge this year, there is no question it could creep up near $10M. The questions, of course, are going to be whether you think he is a difference-maker on an offense that already has declared that designation for Romo, Zeke, Dez, Witten, Tyron, Zack and Frederick. You cannot keep paying everyone elite money on one side of the ball, so if I had to guess, Williams will be playing his final year in a Cowboys uniform.
Of course, if the Cowboys need a new pass catcher next season, maybe they can call on this guy. After all, they didn’t give him all that money to just block (yeah, they did).