Having Dak Prescott come in and take the starting QB slot in the wake of an injury to Tony Romo and then refuse to surrender the position once the veteran returned is generally viewed as a positive sign for the Dallas Cowboys. However, one national writer is quick to point out that no matter how strong his rookie outing, Prescott is still a mere mortal and the possibility exists that his success could be an anomaly once teams around the NFL get a good book going on him.
There is nothing about Dak Prescott's first season to discourage confidence, other than the size of the sample. There is no reason to fear a Prescott tail-off, other than the history that tells us to pump the brakes. After 16 games, Robert Griffin III looked like a sure thing. After 13 games with Chip Kelly, Nick Foles looked like the quarterback of Eagles fans' dreams. I think Prescott should be fine as long as his offensive line stays together, but a 16-game sample (no matter how brilliant) isn't enough to erase all doubt.
It is a fair question. The 'national writer' being referred to in this article is Dan Graziano, who has made a career of covering the NFC East and witnessed first hand the crash and burn that happened to both Griffin and Foles while serving as ESPN's New York Giants beat writer.
Byron Jones is obviously penciled in at one safety slot, but there is some question about who will play the other role in the middle of the Cowboys defensive secondary. Jeff Heath is a much improved football player from what we saw in his rookie season when he was pressed into duty long before he was ready to transition from a small school star into a professional defensive back. That does not mean he is a lock in the defensive backfield.
Dallas has a plethora of options to chose from.
Last year’s sixth-round pick, Kavon Frazier, played well on special teams as a rookie and will push for more playing time on defense. And the Cowboys clearly feel good about rookie Xavier Woods, or they wouldn’t have traded next year’s fifth-rounder to move up and draft the former Louisiana Tech star near the top of this year’s sixth round. Second-round cornerback Chidobe Awuzie also played some safety at Colorado.
Opportunity knocks, and someone can be expected to step up and answer the door. Such is the nature of the philosophy that Jason Garrett looks for when building his rosters.
Leslie will be fighting to earn a spot as a down roster player on the Dallas defense this season. It is always interesting to get feedback from players in a situation like his to see how they view the opportunity and to find out how committed they are towards carving out a niche for themselves in Dallas.
One of the more interesting answers that he gave involved Darnell's first impressions of Rod Marinelli.
I’m not directly working with Coach Marinelli but I’ve seen the way he coaches the linemen on the other side of the field and there’s a lot of energy. Those guys talk highly about him and from the experiences I’ve had with him in team meetings I love his energy and he’s a good guy. He wants to get us better and elevate our games to the next level.
That was just one of the answers Kate was asked during a recent Q&A session with fans. Having the man whom my colleague Tom Ryle referred to as a 'mountain' on the offensive line as a starter does sound intriguing.
Well, you're talking about an undrafted free agent earning a starting role on one of the best offensive lines in the league as a rookie. We'll see if he makes the team first. At 6-10, he's listed as a guard even though he played tackle as a four-year starter at Arkansas. The line is in a bit of flux right now until we figure out if they're going to be La'el Collins to right tackle permanently, so that decision will have a trickle-down effect.
When I spoke with the writers over at the Tarheel Blog about Switzer, they promised excitement as Ryan Switzer worked his way into the Cowboys offensive plans. Now another scribe who followed the receiver's collegiate career comes along with more promises of what we will soon be seeing.
Switzer's described as a QB-friendly receiver, similar to Cole Beasley who's excelled with Dak Prescott. What do you think Prescott and Switzer's potential is?
I'm excited. I think it's just a great fit for Switz. I traded some texts with Ryan's dad and they're tremendously excited about what Ryan can do in the offense, a perfect fit. He's going to be a guy out of the slot, a lot of underneath routes and used in similar ways as UNC did. He's so shifty in space. As small as he is, he's difficult to tackle, a little target who can get in and out of tight spaces. He'll go in the middle of the field on short, intermediate routes fun for Cowboys fans to watch. He's a guy too that other guys like a lot - very likeable guy, so I imagine it's going to take him not much time at all to form a relationship with Dak. It's going to be a fun, good fit.
Andrew Carver goes on to tell fans how he expects Dak Prescott and Switzer to soon become a duo and also where the rookie will fit in in other aspects of his professional career, specifically special teams. Heck, he even took a moment to address the lip tattoo.