An Open Letter to Dak Prescott, the Cowboys Rookie Quarterback

Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 19, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

You have made amazing progress this preseason, Dak Prescott. You have proven to be more than we expected. But now the real test is about to begin.

These are exciting days, especially for you, Dak Prescott.

It is Saturday afternoon. I am about to put on my headphones, listen to the Foo Fighters and mow my lawn. After that, I may meet my brother and see a band play tonight. This is the highlight of my day. However,  it has been far more interesting for you.

First of all, congratulations on becoming the next starting quarterback for our beloved Dallas Cowboys. You have worked extremely hard and Cowboys Nation is proud of you. This is not how you thought it to happen, consequently this is your reality. Yes, it is disappointing  that our quarterback Tony Romo has been injured and cannot lead our team on the field. Never the less, there is no doubt that the next six to ten weeks are your time.

When Dallas drafted you in the fourth round, many fans were just hoping for a serviceable back-up. Luckily, I live in SEC Country and I was able to watch you play more than once. I was impressed with your arm and your football IQ. However, Dak, I knew there was more. You stood tall and confident, making it obvious that you were the leader on that Mississippi State team. Nothing has changed for you this season, save for the colors of your uniform.

I know this preseason has been a whirlwind, but you have handled the storm like a champion.

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You have had great production this preseason. Many pundits and fans are going to rant and rave about your stats. Regardless of this, you know the game is far more than stats. More impressive is how you have handled the pressure of commanding the pocket with a blue star on your helmet. This game does not overwhelm you.

Poise is going to be your meal ticket, so don’t lose your head. Each play; each decision that you have made this season has been a test. While you have passed with flying colors, the real tests are about to begin.

If I had any advice for you, I would tell you to breathe. Just breathe. You have shown grace under pressure in these tense moments. Regardless, when the pressure begins to tighten your collar, look to those you lead; your team.

Everyone, from the most interior lineman to the farthest receiver you can see, is fighting the same battle as you. Most of them, especially those protecting you, have been in your shoes before. Lean on them. Listen to them.

Because of all this, you are a lucky man, Dak. You have an incredible support system around you. Listen to head coach Jason Garrett. Ask offensive coordinator Scott Linehan questions. Get feedback from quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson. Absorb it all and apply it to your game. I promise that you will achieve more than you thought possible.

There are going to be those that want to see you fail.

Being a little greedy, Dak, I would love to see your name in pantheon of Great Cowboys quarterbacks  down the road. Even more so, a couple of Lombardi Trophies would look nice next to the other five. “Dandy” Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Danny White, Troy Aikman and even Romo have all walked similar paths.

However, you are a different player. Lead the team your way. You do not have to do it Tony’s way, or Troy’s; we have already seen those. Show us what you can do. Mark your mark on The Silver and Blue.

I do not speak for all NFL fans in wishing you well. Many want to see you fail. Most of them wear a different shade of blue, or green. Furthermore, some of those bearing negativity are wearing maroon. Remember, this not the same shade as you wore in college. They call it “burgundy,” but its not. It’s maroon. The less space you allow the detractors and Redskins fans to reside in your head, the better. Trust me.

I am not telling you anything you do not already know, however it is always good to hear. Realize that the pressure and expectations that any of us put on you are not your battle to fight. Your job is to learn, grow, execute and hopefully repeat. Then repeat again.  The Cowboys will win and they will lose, it is the way of things. Do not lose yourself along the way; your journey has only just started.

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In conclusion, I am proud of your progress and proud to call you my quarterback. It is your team now, Dak Prescott. Make the best of it.