Cowboys’ Dak Prescott Says He’s Entering Camp in ‘Best Shape’ He’s Ever Been In - Rob Goldberg, Bleacher Report
A complete turnaround from Dak’s 2020 camp experience.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is confident heading into training camp after working hard during the offseason.
“A couple of weeks out and I’m in the best shape that I’ve ever been in,” Prescott said Saturday. “So, it’s time to ramp it up and get going.”
Though this has become a common sentiment for veteran athletes heading into any season, Prescott genuinely believes it after working with a personal trainer:
“I got a PT in the offseason - someone I’ve worked with throughout the last year. I’ve paid him, made him full-time, my guy. Whether it’s vacation or not, he comes with me. We work on these movements and stretches. I feel like, since the injury, I’ve trained more functional than I ever have. So, I see it in my body, I see it the way I move and how the ball is coming out.”
The 28-year-old is heading into the second season of his four-year, $160 million contract with the Cowboys.
Prescott led the Cowboys to an 11-5 record in 2021, totaling a 104.2 quarterback rating, 4,449 passing yards and a career-high 37 passing touchdowns.
Speaking of Dak entering training camp, what does the position look like as a whole?
Cooper Rush vs. Will Grier
Will there even be a competition for QB2? That remains to be seen, but it stands to reason that someone on the Cowboys’ staff is invested in seeing what Will Grier can do to challenge Cooper Rush for the role.
Grier was claimed off waivers last year during final cuts. Despite having not spent any time in camp or preseason with Dallas, Will was immediately made QB3 and protected with a spot on the 53-man roster throughout 2021.
Again, Grier entered the NFL with enough perceived potential that Carolina made him a 3rd-round pick. It doesn’t mean everything in the grand scheme but at least speaks to what some scouts felt about Will only a few years ago.
Obviously, someone in Dallas shared their views. Now Grier will get his first true opportunity to show what he can do and compete with Rush after a full offseason with the team.
As much as he deserved it, Jayron Kearse not making the Pro Bowl was a blessing in disguise for Dallas.
By all accounts, Jayron Kearse had an All-Star season with the Dallas Cowboys last season. Playing in Dan Quinn’s SAF/LB hybrid role, Kearse was a menace in the box. He filled gaps, made plays in the backfield, and covered from the slot. As I described him after the season, he was Dan Quinn’s “Master Key” on defense.
But the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest, and players rarely get the honor in their breakout season. If you’re not highly drafted player, it usually takes multiple years of continued success to make up for that lack of name recognition.
When free agency came and Jayron hit the open market, it became more than just an issue with fan recognition. Teams weren’t all that interested in him either. After a little time testing the free agent waters, Kearse re-signed with Dallas to a modest 2-year deal for an amount lower than many imagined.
Here in the weeks before training camp, Kearse received his third dose of disrespect when executives, coaches, and players got together to rank the NFL’s top safeties and left his name off the list altogether.
Do you agree?
PFF deems the offensive weapons the Cowboys’ biggest strength and the defensive line their biggest weakness
Let’s start with the strength. It’s true that Dallas is lucky to have CeeDee Lamb, Dalton Schultz, and a supposedly-healthy Ezekiel Elliott. They will do a lot for the team this year. But the reality is that the wide receiver corps and tight end group can also be seen as weaknesses. The team lost two of their most targeted receivers from 2021 and one of the other favorites will be out for multiple games due to an ACL tear. That leaves Lamb as the only Cowboys receiver from last year who will start for the team this season. That’s a bit scary.
Plus, Schultz had a great season last year, but do we know he can repeat? And if he can’t, think about the options behind him. All three (Sean McKeon, Jeremy Sprinkle, and Jake Ferguson), even the veterans, have a minimal meaningful experience at the tight end if any at all. If the TE1 doesn’t perform, the offense could be in major trouble. Essentially, some see the receiving/tight end corps as the biggest issue for the Cowboys heading into 2022.
As far as the weakness goes, the interior defensive line doesn’t seem like the most glaring issue. When it comes to major problems on the Cowboys roster, most look at the offensive line. A line that used to be the best in the league is now filled with older, injury-prone veterans and young, inexperienced players who have yet to prove themselves. After losing two mainstays on the line this offseason (La’el Collins and Connor Williams), it’s hard to say the Cowboys have really done much to fill those gaps.
PFF seems to think that he isn't too far off.
Pro Football Focus has made a valiant attempt to rank the NFL defensive play-callers, and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Quinn is on the list at No. 2 in the league.
Why? PFF writes, “Our method for how we come up with the rankings ... essentially we use PFF grades, adjusted for opponents and situation, to come up with an expectation for how a team should do on a play — both in terms of expected points added and success rate. Then we take the difference between what actually happened and attribute that to coaching.’’
We’re not sure we understand a word of that.
What we do understand is that the Cowboys were historically poor on defense in 2020, and under new coordinator Quinn in 2021 led the NFL in takeaways as part of the foundation of finishing 12-5.
NFL insider says possibility still open for Cowboys and Dalton Schultz to strike long-term deal - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
It has to come soon if a deal is going to happen.
On Friday afternoon, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo touched on the contract length part in discussing the Schultz situation and noted that he personally is still leaving the possibility open for a long-term deal to happen here.
From @NFLTotalAccess: With a week to go for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term deals, we assessed where they stand now. The #Cowboys and TE Dalton Schultz will make another run at it, while the #Dolphins and TE Mike Gesicki haven’t exchanged offers of late. pic.twitter.com/nmhXkgtezX
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 9, 2022
At present time Over The Cap lists the Cowboys with the third-most salary cap space in the NFL, incidentally one of the teams in front of them is the Browns. An argument can certainly be made that signing Schultz to a contract of this variety might not be the best decision that this team can make but they have the resources to be active which has been the rallying cry of detractors over the last few months.
Time will tell whether or not things happen here. Deadlines make deals.
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