Faced with having to start a rookie fourth round draft pick, what are the realistic expectations for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott?
No one knows exactly how long Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott will be the starting quarterback. No one even knows what to expect.
Not you. Not me. Even head coach Jason Garrett and Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo truthfully have no idea.
Will it be a replication of last year, when the Dallas Cowboys won just once without Tony Romo behind center? Will it be the coronation of a new leader, much like 2006 when Romo supplanted Drew Bledsoe?
No one knows, but we’re going to do our best to try and figure it out.
Since the 2011 NFL Draft, nineteen different quarterbacks have started six or more games in their rookie seasons.
Only two of those rookies, Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton and Seattle’s Russell Wilson had winning records in their first six games. Conversely, nine of them, including names like Cam Newton and Blake Bortles won one or less games.
With the expectation that Romo will miss six to ten weeks, it’s completely feasible to assume Dak Prescott gets six starts. It’s also fair to expect him to lose more of those starts than he wins if history is any indicator.
Depending on the side of the coin you choose, you can look at this in one of two ways. Since most of these guys were drafted very high, the teams they played for weren’t so great. That would seem to be good news for Prescott, since these Cowboys aren’t a typical 4-12 team.
The flip side of that coin, however, is that most of the guys were drafted high for a reason. It’s fair to assume that most of them were considered to be better than Prescott. It’s also fair to assume that this team, minus Romo, won four games for a reason.
One thing Prescott does have in his favor are the list of weapons at his disposal. A lot of these rookies did not have Ezekiel Elliott at running back, with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten to catch the ball.
There is also the matter of that all-World offensive line in front of him to help ease the growing pains.
Still, if Prescott is to be successful, the Cowboys coaching staff will have to alter the playbook and adjust what they normally do.
Prescott is certainly no Romo when it comes to traditional pocket passing. The Cowboys will likely lean on more shotgun formations with Prescott under center. Unfortunately, that’s not really something this offense has done with Garrett as the primary offensive mind.
The other issue with this will be how it could affect the running game.
It is much more difficult to be successful in the NFL running from a shotgun formation. The Cowboys are still one of the few teams that employs a fullback as well. Starting off in a shotgun formation certainly nullifies that need.
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It is helpful that both Prescott and Elliott come from college offenses that predominately use this style. The issue will be how it works for a team that is historically more of a pro-style offense.
Ultimately, when looking back at previous rookies, I think that Dallas will be ecstatic if Dak Prescott has a start similar to Wilson or even Robert Griffin. Those two are probably the most similar in style to Prescott.
Even though they both were brilliant as rookies, it is still important to remember they did not start off hot.
Griffin was 94 for 161, throwing for 1,343 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. Wilson was 95 for 152, with just 1,108 yards passing, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.
Only one rookie in the last five years threw double-digit touchdowns in his first six games. I would not expect that from Prescott. Only three were able to have a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio. That may be a little more feasible.
The only real stat that matters though is wins. Can Dak Prescott reverse the Romo-less fortunes of the Dallas Cowboys?
If he plays six games and the Cowboys win four or more, that would be more than anyone could ask. Even three wins would be acceptable given the circumstances.
The future is here for the Dallas Cowboys. There is some hope that goes along with that.
It will serve you will to prepare for some bumps in the road however.