Dallas Cowboys can be explosive with Dak Prescott at quarterback
Dallas Cowboys fans shouldn’t write off the season in Tony Romo‘s absence as the team’s offense can still be explosive with a rookie under center.
Everyone watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Seattle Seahawks in the third preseason game last Thursday evening held their breath as Tony Romo went to the ground. His body compressed in an awkward way and the force along with the hit by Seahawks pass rusher Cliff Avril had every Cowboys fan panicked and thinking “this can’t be real life”.
We all sighed with relief after it seemed that Romo was “fine” and that he was insisting on trying to re-enter the game; to no avail of course with head coach Jason Garrett wanting to be safe with the starting quarterback.
In the following days, your worst fear became a reality. Romo did in fact fracture a vertebrae in his back on that play. The most recent prognosis is that he is expected to miss six to ten weeks.
Not exactly the start to the year that Cowboys fans have been waiting for- the true blue faithful that have been eagerly anticipating a bounce back year after an injury plagued 2015-16 NFL season where the team only managed to win one out of twelve games played without Romo.
There is much more upside for success this year, with or without Tony Romo.
Why might that be? Dallas has Dak Prescott.
Albeit Prescott is but a rookie fourth-round draft pick, he has shown more potential and confidence in three preseason appearances than any Cowboys quarterback not named Romo displayed last season.
I know. Pump the brakes. Prescott has been playing against vanilla defenses. He has yet to play an entire game. His performances have come in exhibition games that don’t count.
If that thought process is as accurate as many deem it to be, why doesn’t every rookie quarterback or backup look like a well groomed savage attacking opposing defenses at will throughout the preseason?
I understand hesitation after his first showing, having only seen him for a very small sample size of 12 pass attempts.
But through the first three preseason games, Prescott has played the majority of his snaps with the first team offense going up against first team defenses and has thrown 50 passes- likely double the number he will be expected to throw in a regular season game with a heavy dose of the running game taking the pressure off.
In those 50 passes, he has completed 39 of them for five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has also added two touchdowns on the ground.
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Prescott has shown the confidence to be able to place the ball where his playmakers can go and get it, resulting in a lot of points being scored while he is on the field. He clearly trusts players such as wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.
Developing that trust with targets and having a belief that you can accurately make any throw are traits that many backup quarterbacks in the NFL never fully develop. Prescott has displayed those traits from the first time he stepped on the field this preseason.
With Dak playing quarterback, you have an added element that your offense is typically lacking with a 36 year old with back problems. He is quite athletic and has shown the ability to make plays with his feet when necessary. He can tuck the ball and take off in a flash, similar to what the Seattle Seahawks have with Russell Wilson or the Carolina Panthers have with Cam Newton.
That athleticism means that he can buy time for receivers to get open, similar to what Romo is capable of doing except without the serious concern for his back or clavicle. It also means that with the heavy running game expected this season, you can add in some read option plays which will open things up for the running backs while keeping defenses on their heels.
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I’m not saying that Dak won’t make rookie mistakes, because he most certainly will.
I am simply saying that the Dallas Cowboys offense is going to have a “wow” factor- something that was seriously lacking last year when Romo was missing from the lineup.