You’ve heard the doubters — and Dak Prescott has too. The young star quarterback is hungry to prove himself this upcoming season.
He knows there are a lot of doubters out there because of the departures of tight end Jason Witten and receiver Dez Bryant and the lack of big-name replacements.
He says the Cowboys have the right attitude and the right people to surprise some people in 2018.
“I like where we are headed,” Prescott said. “I like the way we finished OTAs and minicamp. I like our attitude as a team, our hunger, the youthfulness, the energy. You can see guys excited to get back. And what’s good, the last day of an OTA or minicamp, guys weren’t sprinting out the door. That was exciting to see. And knowing that guys want to get back together in this off time to not only just hang out but to work and get better at ball. That is exactly what we need in a young team.”
“It’s hard to (surprise) people with the Dallas Cowboys; our standards are high,” Prescott continued. “But when you hear talk we don’t have this player, we don’t have that player. We don’t have a lot of well-known guys. But that only makes the guys we have hungrier.”
Dak Prescott doing his “absolute best” to win Cowboys a Super Bowl – Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
PFT, always with a knack for the better headline, also reports on the Prescott's youth camp, but with a twist:
During his annual youth football camp, the quarterback was asked whether he was going to take the Cowboys to a Super Bowl.
“I’m trying. I’m doing my absolute best,” Prescott said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Tony Romo and Danny White weren’t able to win a Super Bowl. Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman were. It’s their Super Bowl victories that helped put Staubach and Aikman into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ultimately, Super Bowl titles is how history will judge Prescott, too.
Inside the Cowboys' youth movement - Albert Breer, SI.com
In this week’s edition of the MMQB, Breer looks at the Cowboys’ rebuild-on-the-fly of the last two years.
Dallas has effectively rebuilt its roster on the fly, without really ever bottoming out, and now it looks like they’re a few things breaking right—young DBs developing; Prescott rebounding; a young receiver, like Michael Gallup, emerging—from being set up nicely for some time to come. Which isn’t bad when you consider half of the eight Pro Bowlers from the 12-4 team of 2014 are gone.
So that brings us to where the Cowboys are in 2018, and why I think it’s probably not smart to discount them based on the skill-position questions they have. Jones didn’t say this, but others in the building have—Bryant simply wasn’t what he used to be last year, and Witten had lost a step too. The end was coming for those two, one way or the other. And no, there isn’t a pedigreed player waiting at either spot.
What’s there, however, is a roster that’s young and ascending. Leadership will shift. Jones told me that as Martin signed, he told his All-Pro guard, “We need you now more than ever to step up, you and your group, Tyron and Travis. With Jason being gone, y’all are gonna fill that leadership role.” On Prescott, Jones says, “He’s got rare leadership skills,” and he trusts that the quarterback knows it’s time to show it.
Dak is hosting one of his many youth camps this summer, but he wasn’t alone — both Allen Hurns and Ezekiel Elliott were there with him. Dak is soaking in his time with the campers.
Prescott had some familiar helpers out there, including running back Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday, along with wide receiver Allen Hurns on Saturday. Former NFL great and Hall of Famer Charles Haley showed up as a volunteer instructor as well.
But the camp is more than just offering football drills and techniques. Prescott said he challenged them to think of their dream and come back Sunday to tell him. The quarterback said he’s heard such dreams ranging from being an NFL quarterback to an NBA superstar, to even a professional home-builder and teacher.
“Just to see myself in these kids, seeing where I was and seeing my dreams,” Prescott said. “Just the ability to be out here and spend time with somebody. If I was in their shoes and got to hang out with an NFL quarterback, I would be blown away. So it’s important for me to get out here, ask the kids their names and their dreams and just have fun and talk to them.”
Dak Prescott hosting his annual youth football camp this weekend pic.twitter.com/UMBTfJMR6b— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 24, 2018
Ezekiel Elliott helping out, playing some QB at Dak Prescott’s annual youth football camp pic.twitter.com/EwtBDFpfZq— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) June 24, 2018
Can Dak get back to the success that he had in his first 24 games in the NFL?
Dallas fans know what to expect from perennial All-Pro players Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. But in terms of the less solid positions, left guard and right tackle, Dallas fans should have optimism for the talent of the players that could be slotted in these spots in 2018. Williams has the looks of being an athletic mover at left guard and Collins, who already showed progress at the position down the stretch in 2017, should only improve with another offseason and another training camp at the position under his belt.
Knowing all of this, Prescott should look more like he did previously. Towards the end of last year, it appeared Prescott’s mental clock sped up, his accuracy decreased, and his fastball did not have as much bite. But with the line looking more formidable and his running mate coming back, all things have gone right for Prescott to be one of the more productive quarterbacks in the NFC. Dallas has the talent and the makeup for Prescott to prove that his stellar 2016 season was truly no fluke.
Meanwhile, some think Dak will struggle.
In 2018, Prescott will have Elliott and Smith, but the receiver situation is a bit unnerving. Bryant was released in April, and to cushion that blow, Dallas signed ex-Jacksonville receiver Allen Hurns and selected Colorado State product Michael Gallup in the third round. Those are good moves—both Hurns and Gallup have a lot of potential as possession receivers—but outside the inconsistent Terrance Williams, there isn’t a lot of explosiveness in the receiver corps, and tight end Jason Witten’s retirement took a consistent receiver out of Prescott’s orbit.
Ostensibly, the Cowboys will have a run-based system that features a lot of play-action—that’s been the idea since Elliott became the fulcrum of the offense. But any time without him, and any serious injury dings to the offensive line, could affect Prescott just as negatively as it did in 2017.
The 2017 Cowboys OL Sack Register Volume 3 – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
In the third post of his four-part series, Sturm takes a look at the sacks allowed by the Cowboys in the three games (PHI, LAC, WAS) immediately following the Atlanta game, and explains why he’s not selling his stocks in Dak Prescott.
Elliott did not play during this stretch. Smith tried to return against the Chargers, and Lee played a few snaps in Atlanta, but the trio was basically non-existent during this stretch – and that fact is likely related to the collapse. Further, the damage done in the “Chaz Green game” appeared to linger with Elliott against the Eagles and Chargers.
There has been no report of a concussed QB on public record, but injury reports do not yet list ‘shell-shocked, ‘ as a descriptor. That would be an understandable state for Prescott after the beating he took. It is hardly coincidental that his worst career performances immediately followed his biggest physical punishment.
This is why, as many have sold their stock holdings in the young Cowboys QB, I would argue that his massive slump is explainable and I will hold to his body of work both before that day in Atlanta and after the smoke had cleared in December as proof he is a fine player to have at the helm.
Which player will step up big in 2018? For Machota, he believes it will be a wide receiver that caused a lot of damage in 2016.
Which Cowboys player who regressed last year has the best potential at a bounce-back season in your mind?
Jon Machota: I don’t think regressed is the right word to describe Cole Beasley’s play last season. He just didn’t get as many chances to make plays as he did in 2016. But I expect him to have a greater impact with his targets getting back in the 80-90 range in 2018. With Dez Bryant and Jason Witten gone, I expect Beasley to be Dak’s favorite receiver, the guy he’s looking for early on a large number of plays. As a result, I think Cole gets back to around 700 to 800 receiving yards and 5 to 7 touchdowns.
Michael Gallup is the most important rookie for America’s Team.
This is why Dallas needs Michael Gallup to show up right now. Without some new spark in the passing game, next season could be unfortunately similar to 2017.
While a full season from Ezekiel Elliott will hopefully make life easier for Dak Prescott this year, the Cowboys’ quarterback still needs receiver who can make defenses nervous. None of the players we just talked about will do that, lacking the cache of Bryant or Witten from a few years ago.
But nothing will help more than an infusion of new, exciting talent. If Michael can make an early impact, teams will have to adjust. That will open the door much wider for his teammates.
How will the wide receivers position sort itself out in training camp?
The Dallas Cowboys made some big moves this offseason concerning the wide receivers room. Gone is franchise-leader in touchdown receptions Dez Bryant and incoming from free agency are Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson — one a big-bodied target that is making a name for himself already and the other is a speedster with connections to Sanjay Lal.
The Cowboys were not done adding to its receivers core, though. The draft weekend saw Dallas add a trio of playmakers with the ability to make an impact in the passing game: third-round selection Michael Gallup, sixth-round pick Cedrick Wilson, and 2013 first-rounder Tavon Austin in a trade, though Austin will technically be labeled as a running back when the roster is finalized.
Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Noah Brown all return, but it’s clear that Dak Prescott needs to become familiar with the new faces in the room. The young franchise quarterback is confident that the offense will succeed with the new additions, believing it is best to spread the ball around.
Also, this is pretty cool! Jourdan Lewis, fresh off an impressive rookie campaign, bought his mother a new home.