Troy Aikman on evolving media attention toward NFL players today, why Dak Prescott is perfect fit as Cowboys QB - SportsDay
Troy Aikman had a little bit of success as the quarterback of America’s Team. He believes that the Dak Prescott is the “perfect fit” for that position nowadays.
“When we were playing, the criticisms were from the media, and sometimes that was a little bit intense. But now, everyone has a platform, everybody can fire off whatever it is they’re thinking, and I think it does take a really mature person, someone who’s wired the right way in order to be able to handle all that.
”And when you’re talking about - I thought I got paid a lot when I played - but the money is a lot. You’re making a real commitment to these players when you commit those kinds of dollars, and I think everything has to be looked at, and that’s why I think Dak [Prescott], for a lot of reasons, I think Dak is perfect for this franchise, for this city in the way he’s able to handle himself.”
Wentz got his big pay day. What does that mean for Dak’s upcoming extension?
Carson Wentz is being paid what the market is dictating what someone who plays his position should get. He will be 26-years old when the season starts. He was drafted second overall in 2016, has been named to the Pro Bowl and likely would have been the MVP in 2017 if he did not tear his ACL late in that season.
Wentz has a career completion percentage of almost 64%. He’s over 10,000 yards in three seasons, with almost a 2.5 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio (70 TD’s/28 INT’s). Given that information, the deal seems to within what you expect. For the Dallas Cowboys, quarterback Dak Prescott should be offered more.
Prescott has a better completion percentage (66%), more yards, and almost identical touchdowns to interceptions (67/25). He’s been to more Pro Bowl’s (two to Wentz’s one) and has won a playoff game where Wentz has yet to play in one. That, in fact, leads us to the first major reason Prescott should get a better deal. Availability.
Danny is here to tell you that Dak Prescott deserves the big money that he is undoubtedly going to get.
As reliable as Prescott is right now, he is not a finished product. There are still plenty of things he needs to clean up with his mechanics. The addition of Jon Kitna is supposed to help him with those things. Better footwork is needed. Work on making quicker progressions is needed. And just overall pocket awareness can help cut back on some of the sack/fumbles that have plagued him recently. Even a tendency to take more deep shots down the field will help Prescott grow into a more threatening quarterback.
It’s no secret that Prescott has a great head on his shoulders and has shown so much maturity despite being thrown into action as early as he was. He’s not a guy who teammates call “selfish” or “uncompromising” who was verbally attacked by a highly respected teammate for not being “a team guy. He’s not a guy who doesn’t connect with his teammates and identified as a “real locker room problem” by his All-Pro teammates. In fact, he’s quite the opposite.
Prescott’s leadership ability is strong and his teammates respond to him. All his high-character traits point to a guy who clearly is capable of maxing out his ability through hard work and determination. While the end result offers no guarantees, that’s the sort of thing you want to hear from a team with a rising star quarterback.
Game of unknowns: How asking ‘if’ now can head off NFL problems later - Michael Lombardi, The Athletic
How NFL teams need to prepare for the “ifs”.
Meanwhile, in Dallas, do you think Jason Garrett has asked himself the question, what IF 30-year-old Kellen Moore is not ready to run an offense as the offensive coordinator and play caller? What IF Moore cannot handle in-game adjustments on the fly? I believe Jerry and Stephen Jones have asked those questions to Garrett and Garrett believes he will be there to help Moore learn the ropes. And that’s ultimately what Garrett wants — to become more involved with the offense. Therefore, the next “IF” has to be: What IF Garrett cannot handle being the head coach and quasi-coordinator? Something tells me the Jones family has that answer in their back pocket. When Garrett did not get an extension, it signaled that the Joneses would rather have Garrett be the head coach and not the quasi-coordinator, but because of Garrett’s insistence to run the offense, the Joneses will let this dynamic play out. Garrett going “all in” on his ability to prove he can run the offense indicates he is betting on his talents as an offensive coach to secure his future as the head coach. The biggest “IF” of all for the Boys (and for Garrett) will be (and it’s one that would keep me awake): IF Dak Prescott goes down for any extended time frame, how can they win? Once again, only time will tell.
Cowboys stars Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott will eventually cash in, but at what cost? - Kevin Sherrington, SportsDay
Dak and Zeke are nearly due for a new contract. A look at the situation that the Cowboys are in with their two stars.
But of all the abilities a quarterback may possess, availability is underrated. Dak hasn’t missed a game in three years, and it’s not like he’s been hiding. He’s made two Pro Bowls, compiled a 32-16 record and established himself as the unquestioned leader of his locker room. Wentz is 23-17, and his own teammates have raised the question at least once of whether they preferred him or his former backup, Nick Foles.
Considering Wentz’s case, it’s no wonder that Jerry and Stephen Jones have made it clear that Dak’s going to get paid, and soon. My guess is it’ll be at least $30 million a year.
Pardon the math, but at that rate, Dak and five of his offensive teammates would then take up nearly half the Cowboys’ cap space. And that’s not counting Zeke getting paid, a nice transition to the second half of this column.
Let me start by saying that Zeke is better at his position than Dak is at his. Zeke can do it all. He’s fast, strong and durable. Catches and blocks. Best all-around running back in the league. The engine of the Cowboys’ offense.
But what we’re comparing here with quarterbacks and running backs is apples and oranges.
Into fantasy football? The Cowboys QB is a sleeper for the upcoming season.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys (ADP: 144.1)
See that ADP next to Prescott’s name? That makes him the 21st quarterback off the board in a typical draft. Prescott has been in the NFL three seasons, ranking seventh, eighth and 11th, respectively, in fantasy leagues. He has ranged between 3,324 and 3,885 passing yards, and 282 and 357 rushing yards. He has thrown for 23, 22 and 22 touchdowns, and rushed for six scores in all three of his years. In nine games with Amari Cooper last year, Prescott had a completion percentage of 71.3%, 2,468 yards, 7.71 yards per attempt, 14 touchdowns against four interceptions, and four more scores with his legs. He has never missed a start. Why is the fantasy community suddenly expecting him to fall all the way outside the top 20, a full 10 spots worse than he has ever been, this year? Prescott’s ADP just doesn’t pass any level of scrutiny.
Will Connor Williams make the jump in 2019?
Dallas Cowboys: Connor Williams, Offensive Line
I understand some Cowboys fans are down on Williams after an inconsistent rookie season but there is some important context to consider regarding Williams’ first year in the league. A college left tackle, Williams embraced a position switch to guard which itself is challenging. The action happens quicker on the inside, there are new techniques to learn and the leap from the Big Twelve to the NFL is considerable. Also, Travis Frederick’s absence from the lineup led to Joe Looney serving as the center which certainly didn’t assist in bringing Williams along as a plug-and-play starter.
A prospect I graded as a first-round value, Williams’ nimble footwork, ability to mirror in pass protection and play strength all popped when studying his college tape. With that said, I had some gripes about his weight distribution and technical concerns with his hand usage.
Williams is a talented football player with starter traits but there were some factors that must be considered when discussing his struggles as a rookie. With 10 starts under his belt, an entire offseason to develop and the Cowboys’ offensive line healthy, look for Williams to emerge in 2019.
Who are the players that are on the bubble of making the Cowboys?
Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Cedrick Wilson, Tavon Austin, Noah Brown
The first three are absolute locks but after that things can go a number of directions. The Dallas Cowboys standard at WR is typically about six. So even though the Cowboys are as deep as they’ve ever been at WR this year, it’s unlikely they’ll stretch above that half-a-dozen threshold.
My pet cat, Cedrick Wilson, should be given plenty of opportunity to surpass others given his ability to play inside and out. The coaching staff gushed over him last year at this time and now that he’s healthier, stronger, and more polished he has a good chance of making the cut.
I have Brown and Wilson essentially bumping Hurns, and Austin is one injury away from losing his spot to Jon’Vea Johnson.
Coop is WR1, but which receiver will have the second most yards in 2019: the veteran free agent acquisition or the young, promising second-year wideout?
The offense truly has the potential to be fantastic. On the debate on whether Cobb is an upgrade over Beasley– the truth is both are about equal but have different strengths. Cobb is not the technician in route running as Beasley, but on every catch, he can take it to the house.
The Cowboys might have the most explosive receiving core in the league. But, there are only a certain number of balls to go around. Gallup is primarily a deep ball threat so far in his career, while Cobb primarily works inside 15 yards down the field.
Last season, Gallup was targeted 66 times and hauled in only 33 catches. With a full offseason to improve his routes and chemistry with Prescott, that percentage should go up to around 60.
The other variable in this discussion is health. Gallup is only 23 years old and has not suffered any glaring injuries. Cobb’s body, on the other hand, is not exactly getting healthier as the years go by.
‘Three steps ahead’: How Cowboys’ Amari Cooper leverages chess, Rubik’s Cube to outwit defenders - Jori Epstein, USA Today Sports
A very insightful piece on Cooper and how he identifies opponents’ weaknesses.
Amari Cooper drops into the leather seat at his walnut locker, angles left and faces Cowboys teammate Chidobe Awuzie. An orange and beige chessboard rests between them, the next match awaiting its opening moves.
“We can do it now,” says Cooper, confident an interview would not impede his ability to defeat Awuzie. Ten minutes later, Cooper is proved correct.
For Cooper, the final day of Dallas’ OTAs encapsulated much of what has gone right since his October trade from Oakland. He caught a 35-yard deep ball from Dak Prescott down the left sideline during the team-drill segment of the team’s last voluntary practice of the spring. He’s refining concepts old and new with coaches and teammates during his first offseason installation as a Cowboy.
A contract extension awaits, though Cooper doesn’t want to discuss negotiations. His 2019 deal scheduled to balloon more than thirty-fold to nearly $14 million, he would rather focus on what he can control — including his pawn’s next move, which foreshadows a checkmate of Awuzie less than two minutes later.
It’s hardly the first time he’s outclassed a cornerback.
Cooper began preying on defensive backs in the Dallas locker room last season. Sometimes, he’ll ask one he’s just beaten on a route in practice, “You ready?” before they re-engage in a chess battle. Teammates say Cooper is the most skilled of the five Cowboys players who now joke they have a chess club. Awuzie says he isn’t losing as much as he did in the fall. Still, he has only bested Cooper 13 times in 60 attempts.