Dak Prescott was the wunderkind of the 2016 season. His accuracy, his quarterback rating, and his low interception total all combined to create a rookie season that no one had seen before for a quarterback. 2016 was one for the ages. The follow-up season wasn’t quite as grand. By no means was it a disaster or even anything remotely close to that, but it wasn’t quite the joyride of 2016 either. We’ve spent a lot of time noting various reasons for the step back - problems along the offensive line, suspension for Ezekiel Elliott, bad on-field chemistry with Dez Bryant, Chaz Green. All these things affected 2017, but Prescott isn’t relying on other people as an excuse.
He took matters into his own hands. Back in April, he went to 3DQB to get some special quarterback training. It’s a program training with former NFL QB John Beck that is based on a program developed by former major-league pitcher Tom House. Other quarterbacks who have used the same program include Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan among others.
Dak had this to say:
“The reason Tom [Brady] can play until he’s 45 or whenever he wants is that he uses all of his body in his throws,” Prescott said. “It’s not just his arm. Me being young, I can use my arm and get away with it. If you use the rest of your body, like the greats do, then you’ll see the benefits.”
“If you’re a quarterback and you study the position and you study the way the body moves, it’s putting force into the ground to get the ball the way you want to,” Prescott said. “It’s different for me than it is for [Jared] Goff. We work different parts of it. To the naked eye, not so much is different but guys that do study that, they can see it and I can see it.”
Besides mechanics and such, the program stresses nutrition and mental fitness. Prescott has showed up 10 pounds lighter this offseason. When things have gone poorly for Prescott in the past, he’s always looked first to his footwork as the culprit. He’s been studying Brady and his ability to keep his feet calm in the pocket while having the ball ready for release.
Scott Linehan has noticed a difference.
”Dak has a real confidence in his ability to just pull the ball and deliver it,” Linehan said. “The anticipation, getting the ball out, it’s just doing it a little quicker. We had a play in practice where the snap was low but he got the ball and got it loaded and thrown way quicker than he would’ve last year. He just got his feet in good position.”
When the pressure came last season, Prescott himself thinks his footwork mechanics were an issue.
“Being an athlete I guess when I take a move sometimes it’s bigger than I necessarily need to,” Prescott said. “You watch guys that have been in this league a while, Brady is the best example. Sometimes he barely moves, and the defensive end or somebody flies by him. Being the athlete I am, sometimes it’s just toning that down and not necessarily moving a full yard, or it’s just barely scooting up here and there but keeping my feet in the same position. Footwork is definitely something I’m trying to get better at.”
Linehan is 100% behind the work Prescott did this offseason. The program, he feels, was a perfect complement to what he and Kellen Moore are trying to teach Prescott. In fact, Linehan liked it so much he sent his son Matt to train there, too.
Prescott’s season in 2017 was pretty good, but he realizes he needs to be better. The fact that he is going out of his way to be better, to doing everything possible, makes one think he has a very long career ahead, and that he wants to be elite.