Because Dak Prescott was not expected to see the field much, if at all, last season, he and the Cowboys star receiver were not able to build any chemistry during the offseason. This season is different, though. Dak says “it’s exciting” to throw Dez Bryant the football. Look out, defenses.
"He has been healthy all offseason, so that chemistry has grown," Prescott said. "He's been a guy that his ears are wide open, wanting to know what I'm thinking, and I want to know what he's thinking. It's just been back and forth of just talking and doing it out there on the field and it's only growing."
"To me, it's the best Dez has been," Prescott said. "Somebody asked me the other day who I think the most improved player is and I said Dez, just the way he's been taking care of his body, his effort, his attitude. Everything from last year to this year, it's just exciting to throw him the ball and watch what he can do after the catch."
Dak talked to the media about his growing chemistry with Dez.
"Dez is a guy that you just give him a chance one-on-one," Prescott said. "Film study helps, but more importantly those reps we've had in practice all camp long probably have been more valuable to us."
The Cowboys 1’s opened the game with the ball at the five-yard line. Dak and company made that look routine. Archer writes that the first-team offense showed “it’s ready to go”.
Perhaps only in a preseason game in which the starters are playing for the first time would a coach not be mad about his team starting an opening drive at its own 5.
That's what the Dallas Cowboys’ first-team offense faced Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. Seven plays and 3 minutes 34 seconds later, Dez Bryant was on the receiving end of a 32-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott.
On the Cowboys' first offensive play, Prescott and Bryant connected on a 23-yard slant with Bryant shucking a Colts defender for extra yards.
Jason Witten caught two passes for first downs and a total of 24 yards.
The starting offensive line -- from left to right: Tyron Smith, Jonathan Cooper, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith -- opened holes big enough for Darren McFadden to pick up 16 yards on three carries.
The Cowboys did not have a play gain fewer than 5 yards on the drive as they ran their no-huddle offense.
Jaylon finally made his highly anticipated debut on the football field. After the game, he talked about his journey and how it felt to finally be back on a football field. His opening sentence sums it up.
“I’m Jaylon Smith. I suffered an ACL/LCL injury, currently recovering from drop-foot, but I’m here. I’m happy to be apart of the Dallas Cowboys.”
Dave Halprin broke down each of Jaylon’s 12 plays Saturday night. Check it out!
During his time on the field he had eight plays where he dropped back into coverage, and four plays where he attacked the run.
On play 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 and 12 Smith dropped into coverage but the play didn’t really involve him. He looked pretty good in getting to his drop zones. His straight line speed and knowledge of where he should be looked fine. He’ll probably become more fluid in this area, his starts and stops are a little mechanical at this point, but he looked fine.
On play 6, he made the tackle shown above. He dropped into coverage in the middle of the field, the receiver came on a crossing route underneath and Smith saw it, and was able to close quickly and make the stop.
On Jaylon, Jason Garrett proclaims that “it's just the start, but it certainly is a good one for him."
"Really an exciting night for him," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He's worked really hard to get himself back to this point. To put his Dallas Cowboy uniform on and to go out here at AT&T Stadium and play in a football game, a lot of work has gone into that and it's a real credit to who he is as a guy. ... It's just the start, but it certainly is a good one for him."
Spagnola writes some notes on Jaylon, Dak, and the defense.
In the aftermath of Jaylon Smith playing his first football game Saturday night since Jan. 1, 2016, in the Fiesta Bowl when he suffered multiple torn ligaments and severe damage to his peroneal nerve, there were two people with huge smiles on their faces. First Dr. Dan Cooper, the Cowboys orthopedic surgeon who performed Smith’s knee surgery and gave the Cowboys the needed-confidence to believe the kid could play football again, even if he had to wear a brace initially to combat drop foot. Dr. Dan had a huge smile on his face as he walked by just before kickoff. Said Jaylon, “We had an emotional exchange.” And don’t forget Cowboys director of rehabilitation Britt Brown, who has tirelessly worked with Smith throughout his lengthy rehab.
Dave lists six winners and four losers from the Cowboys’ third preseason game of 2017. How could he not include Jaylon in there?
Jaylon Smith - He’s the big winner because he finally played a game again and came through without issue. As we’ve noted, it wasn’t perfect for Smith, but the mere fact he was back on the field and functioning like an NFL player puts him in the winner’s column.
The majority of the Cowboys fan base understands that Kellen Moore is not the answer if something were to happen to Dak. PFT’s Mike Florio wrote that the ‘Boys are “growing concerned” about Moore being right behind Prescott.
The Dallas Cowboys are finally realizing that which many have known for months: Kellen Moore may not be the ideal understudy to Dak Prescott at quarterback.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegramreports, citing an unnamed source, that Moore “will be the subject of conversation at personnel meetings this week” after another subpar preseason performance.
If the Cowboys don’t look outside the organization for a backup to Prescott, they could decide to make Cooper Rush the No. 2 option.
However, after the game Todd Archer wrote that the Cowboys aren’t quite ready to promote their undrafted rookie on the depth chart.
Kellen Moore, who remains the Cowboys’ backup to Prescott, completed 10 of 21 passes for 131 yards but saw a sack-fumble turned into an Indianapolis touchdown and directed only one scoring drive -- a field goal -- in six series.
“I’m just glad to see Rush taking advantage of his opportunities out there,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “Wouldn’t want to get ahead of ourselves in any way here. And the other thing is that we ... have a lot of confidence in [Moore], his ability to be able to get in there when we would call on him with the personnel around him and get the ball in the right places. Make no mistake about it, that [with] Rush, it just gets slow when he gets out there, which that’s a compliment. I think Dak’s got it really slowed down.”
Nonetheless, Rush continues to make a huge case on why he should be QB2 on the Cowboys depth chart.
As soon as Cooper Rush entered the game, the offense regained some swagger. Rush completed his first five attempts and looked to be playing with the same confidence that has led him to have a great preseason thus far. He takes over of the offense in a way that Moore simply cannot.
Yes, his snaps are against players that likely won’t be on the 53-man squad this fall, but the Central Michigan product brings more to the Cowboys offense than the current QB2 on the roster. Throughout this preseason, Rush has been making a strong argument to be the Dallas Cowboys’ primary backup quarterback this fall.
He may just turn out to be another preseason star, but Cooper Rush looks to be the Dallas Cowboys best option on the roster if something were to happen to Dak Prescott. Cooper Rush’s potential, combined with Kellen Moore’s limitations, makes the undrafted rookie an intriguing option behind Dak.
OCC broke down the quarterbacks behind Dak in Saturday’s preseason game versus the Colts. He explains why Rush had more success than Moore did in moving the ball against Indianapolis.
The Cooper Rush-led offense was much better at getting first downs. This is not because Rush throws downfield more than Moore does. Moore throws the deep ball just as much - and Moore's 46- and 32-yard completions to Brice Butler and Terrance Williams in the HoF game are timely reminders of that - it's just that for various reasons, Moore has been less accurate than Rush over the last two games.
Over the first nine pass attempts, Moore threw five incompletions. And it wouldn't get much better, as he went 6-for-12 on his remaining throws against the Colts.
In the end though, what we know after three preseason games is that Moore has struggled with his completion rate (54.5%), while Rush has found a way to connect with his down-roster receivers (68.4%).
Will Zeke play in the preseason despite his potential suspension and appeal lingering? Jerry Jones says don’t be surprised if the fourth overall selection of the 2016 draft sees the field next week.
"Wouldn't surprise me at all if he would get a few snaps," Jones said Saturday after the Cowboys' 24-19 win over the Indianapolis Colts. "We don't want to put 30 [carries] on him out there. No reason to do that."
Elliott, 22, is currently appealing a six-game suspension under the NFL's personal conduct policy. He is eligible to play in preseason games regardless of the result of that appeal but is yet to suit up in any of Dallas' first three contests.
Jerry has still remained silent about Elliott’s suspension, though.
"I don't have anything to say about anything with the commissioner or with anything to do with Zeke at this particular time," Jones told reporters after the Cowboys' 24-19 preseason victory Saturday night over the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium.
"Because I have said I just want to get my thoughts together, see some more cards played, and just see kind of how this thing turns out," Jones said. "I know that they've got a real important date set and want that to have every opportunity it can to have things in its best light. But we certainly are in support of Zeke."