Don’t you love it when it just hits you? That moment when you finally discover something great. Maybe it’s the answer to a tricky math problem or the realization of where you last put your car keys. How about the time when you first came to the conclusion that Dak Prescott was for real. Oh, what a glorious day that was.
For me, there were various stages of recognizing how good Prescott was. But when was the actual “aha moment” that he was going to be the guy to take over as the team’s new franchise quarterback?
I have been a fan of Dak from the beginning. When I first started researching possible quarterbacks for the Cowboys to select in the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott was one of the players that caught my attention. A couple months before the draft, I wrote a piece about a couple of QB targets, with Prescott being one of them.
While he is recognized for his mobility, he's developing into a stronger passer. There is still a lot of room to improve, but he possesses some good traits that can help him. Despite his mobility, he's very patient in the pocket. He sees the field very well. Prescott can dissect the defense and make proper reads. He has good composure in the pocket. He doesn't get rattled and doesn't let miscues break his focus, and he's got the arm strength to fire bullets.
Right before the draft, I predicted that Prescott’s name would be called by Dallas, however I had him going a round earlier.
The Cowboys will be taking a quarterback at some point in the draft. It's just a matter of when. As we have seen already with the two big trades to move up to picks one and two overall, when a team is locked in on a quarterback - they don't mess around. Dak Prescott could be that quarterback for Dallas. Prescott could very easily be available at pick 67.
Prescott is an efficient quarterback. He has great football IQ and is very good at protecting the ball. In 2014, he had 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Last season, his touchdown total went up to 29, yet his picks went down to five. While he doesn't take a lot of risks, he did show an improvement throwing the ball deep when he had good protection.
In Dallas, he'll have good protection.
Prescott’s skill set made him an intriguing backup in Dallas. So much in fact that the idea crossed my mind that they Cowboys might be able to survive a Romo-less apocalypse. Prior to Romo getting hurt, I wrote this...
Can Dak Prescott Save The Day If The Cowboys Lose Tony Romo? https://t.co/VvkLZJ5O9P— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) May 13, 2016
It’s one thing to be intrigued about a player, but it’s another thing to have your eyes opened and see the reveal that is the greatness of Prescott. My aha-moment hadn’t happened yet.
When Prescott was lighting up the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins in exhibition games, I was delirious, but in a good way. My jaw dropped as I had an epiphany. It was that moment that I discovered
the idea for the flux capacitor which makes time travel possible that the Cowboys might just be okay if something happened to Tony Romo. That’s a big revelation. After the disappointment from the season prior, it’s so gut-wrenching to accept that one injury can cause all your seasonal football hopes and dreams come crashing down.
The stellar play of Prescott opened the window of hope. He looked amazing and I found myself thinking about the regular season and how I’d miss watching him play. As great as it was to feel confident about Prescott’s ability as a backup, my aha-moment hadn’t happened yet.
The Lambeau Lashing
After the Romo injury, Prescott was thrown into action as the team’s starting quarterback. The great preseason provided some relief, but we all were still counting the days until a healthy Romo would return. But then something weird happened. The Cowboys started winning and they wouldn’t stop.
One, two, three “the kid’s not bad”
Four, five, six ”hmm, what do we have here, exactly?”
Seven, eight, nine ”we have ourselves a quarterback controversy in Dallas”
The Cowboys won eleven straight games to start the season 11-1 and even with a healthy Romo available, Prescott was the team’s new starting quarterback. Amidst all the commotion of winning football games, the Cowboys swapped out a 36-year-old franchise quarterback making a gazillion dollars to a 23-year-old franchise quarterback making just over minimum wage (well, at least in terms of professional football players go).
For each of us, we all had different opinions about who should be the team’s quarterback and the debate went on for weeks. In fact, some still aren’t sure the Cowboys made the right decision.
For me, I was hoping for a Romo return, however my mind suddenly changed after the Cowboys beat the Packers 30-16 in week six. It was great to beat Green Bay because they’ve been (and still are) such a thorn in the side of the Cowboys in recent years, but how Prescott handled himself in a crucial road game was eye opening. After setting a new NFL record for most attempts to start a career without an interception (176), Prescott’s luck would finally run out as he would throw his first ever NFL pick. But even after an interception deep in his own territory, Prescott would show great resolve and continue to do what he had been doing all year - lead them to victory.
The goal posts couldn’t be moved out any further. He had won in the preseason, he had won in the regular season, he had beaten a good football team, and he had beaten a good football team on the road.
My aha moment had finally arrived.
While Prescott did a number on Cowboys fans as many were divided, it’s important to realize one thing - Tony Romo is still a great quarterback. It’s not a slight on him as a player that Prescott was chosen to remain the team’s quarterback. Instead, people need to realize that Dak is something special. While there are still some that are waiting around to see if he was a fluke and just had a great rookie season like Robert Griffin III, all they’re doing is prolonging their denial.
Dak is the real deal. If you haven’t realized that yet, that’s okay - your aha moment is still coming.
When was your aha moment?