Dak, Dak, Dak. All anyone wants to talk about is Dak Prescott. It’s even reached the point where people are wondering if he’s going to take Tony Romo’s job, even when Romo is healthy. One person not buying that? Dak Prescott.
Prescott has played above and beyond for a fourth-round pick, but he's not playing into other people's narrative that he's played so well that there could be a quarterback controversy in Dallas when Romo is ready to return from injury.
"This is Romo's team. I've said that from the moment that I was named the starter and he went down," Prescott said. "I'm just trying to do my best to win games and put this team in a successful position to do that week in and week out and when he comes back I'll leave that up to the big guys."
That’s the smart play, Dak. The last thing you need is some kind of controversy based on something you said. At this point, it still is Romo’s team, but that doesn’t stop the praise from coming in. Like an effusive Bob Sturm.
In fact, if the 2016 NFL Draft were held today, I think we all see that Prescott goes higher than just about anyone else in the draft - including Zeke. I know it is crazy and I know I am contradicting what I saw from 200 of his Mississippi State snaps from 2015, but we have gathered new information. He has proven he is capable of playing well in the NFL and in Dallas.
That's high praise for a guy selected with the 135th pick in the draft. And right now Carson Wentz is giving Prescott a run for the money as the best rookie quarterback in the league. Still, how can anyone not like what Prescott is doing.
And speaking of Ezekiel Elliott, as Sturm was above, there’s a small current of grumbling going on that he’s not quite playing as advertised. As I noted after his first game, I think his biggest issue (besides the fumble problem this week) is that he is running too fast, he’s not being patient and pressing the hole. Many analysts seem to agree, including Rick Gosselin.
Question: Are you seeing a difference in blocking from the Cowboys' O-line when Zeke carries the ball vs. when Alfred Morris carries it?
Rick Gosselin: Morris shows more patience. He'll wait on a hole to open instead of trying to barge a hole that's not there. That's a matter of experience, which Elliott doesn't have. I thought Ezekiel showed more patience last Sunday than he did in the opener and was rewarded with some really nice gains. I'm not worried about Elliott. He's been an elite back at every level of football he's played. He'll be an elite level here. In the meantime, Morris gives the Cowboys a dependable change of pace back.
I agree, Zeke was a little more patient against Washington. After a few more games, he’ll probably have a real feel for the game and will be producing some outstanding outings, as long as he doesn’t fumble!
One thing that would help would be for the offensive line to start reclaiming their title of the best line in football. Over the first two weeks of the season, they haven’t exactly played like the best.
The most recent example of this came on Sunday, which included eight quarterback hits, four sacks, six tackles for loss and a paltry 3.4 yards per carry on rushing attempts. That’s pedestrian at best, and when considering those numbers, keep in mind that [Dak] Prescott is one of the two or three most nimble maneuverers in the pocket on the planet.
One more point here: While the reputation has been established, and he’ll continue being tabbed for Pro Bowls and All-Pro status, Tyron Smith hasn’t been in the area code of his play in 2014. Too many penalties, too many allowed sacks, not enough running holes. He still looks like the superior lineman on the field most snaps; it’s more about consistency.
The Cowboys just haven’t been blowing open holes for their running backs like we’d expect. They’ve also been a little shaky in pass protection, not consistently shaky, but giving up sacks more often than we’d like.
Over on defense, we got the bad news on Randy Gregory.
The Dallas Cowboys will be without defensive end Randy Gregory until Week 15 of the 2016 season, according to various NFL sources. Gregory was already serving a four-game suspension to start the season, but will now be hit with an additional 10-game suspension. Reports are that he has withdrawn his appeal of that additional suspension.
Not that anybody was really counting on him this year, but if he had come back it would have been a nice boost.
Meanwhile, Orlando Scandrick is not happy with his play, and is not happy with his hamstring.
The Dallas Cowboys cornerback is working through a hamstring strain he aggravated in the season opener and was not in the base defense in Sunday’s win against the Washington Redskins. The Cowboys opted to go with Morris Claiborne in the base defense with Scandrick working in their sub packages.
Scandrick played in 49 of 67 defensive snaps. Claiborne played in every snap.
“I’m doing whatever I’m asked,” Scandrick said. “I’m doing everything they ask me to. I literally live at the place. I live in the weight room, but I haven’t played football in a year. You tweak a hamstring or something from whether it just be fatigue or dehydration, it’s very frustrating. I’m not playing good football right now. I’m playing like [expletive], so I don’t know what to say.”
Get healthy, buddy!
And how about the play of an unsung hero on the defensive line. We all thought Cedric Thornton would start at the 1-tech when he was signed in free agency, but he’s been unable to grab the spot from Terrell McClain. Although they’re all rotating along with Maliek Collins, McClain has put together a couple of nice games.
There were plenty of questions before the season and through training camp about why the coaching staff was starting Terrell McClain over Cedric Thornton at the nose tackle spot. Through two games, McClain has been the best defensive linemen in the rotation and all those concerns are starting to die down. McClain continues to be an effective player when it comes to handling the run -- especially at the point of attack. He is the one lineman that they have who doesn’t stay blocked -- and when gets in a position to finish, he is able to come through. It’s not that Thornton has played poorly, it’s more that McClain has just been that much better and the tape has shown that.
Finally, what is up with Jason Garrett. Our own Dawn Macelli noted his onside kick call, and his going for it on a fourth and one came as a shock, too. Does Jason need a new nickname?
In the first quarter, Garrett passed up a 47-yard field goal attempt by Dan Bailey, who had never missed in six games at FedEx Field, to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Washington 30.
Garrett and special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia called for a surprise onside kick.
“They were moving the ball a lot starting in the late first quarter,” Garrett said. “They had three or four drives in a row where they were really having success. They had success coming out in the second half, so I just wanted to change it.”
Just how bad is it for Washington? Washington Wizards point guard John Wall showed up to the game wearing an Emmitt Smith jersey. Nice!