Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott Has Resources to Avoid Sophomore Slump

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during a game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 17-15. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during a game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Cowboys defeated the Vikings 17-15. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott has continuity from his talented supporting cast on offense that should allow him to grow in 2017.

There are a lot of reasons behind Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott‘s phenomenal rookie season. His success can be credited to his poise, leadership, and preparation for each game. One additional thing that should not be downplayed is the support around him.

Rookie quarterbacks who are placed in a starting role on teams typically don’t play at a high level. Inexperience is likely the biggest cause of this, but an additional factor is because many of them lack a strong supporting cast.

Two recent examples of this are 2016 first round picks Philadelphia Eagles Carson Wentz and Los Angeles Rams Jared Goff. During the season Wentz was becoming frustrated with his receivers dropping passes. This motivated the Eagles to sign two quality wide receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

Goff was blocked by the 27th ranked offensive line per Pro Football Focus, lacked talented receivers (wide receiver Kenny Britt was his best target), and received no help from running back Todd Gurley with his 3.2 yards-per-carry. Unfortunately for Goff, those problems may persist in 2017 with the team lacking a 1st-round pick and not making any major offensive free agent signings.

Prescott was immediately surrounded by star-power the moment he was announced as the starter of the team. This includes three All-Pro linemen blocking him, a three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, a future Hall-of-Fame tight end, and the 2016 leader in rushing yards. None of these players will be gone in the 2017 season.

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The Cowboys have provided Prescott even more continuity by re-signing wide receiver Terrance Williams. This key signing means Prescott can build upon his chemistry with the same receiver group (while allowing Dallas to focus more on defense in the draft). It’s fair to say this is a Dak-friendly offense.

Along with having consistent players surrounding him on the field, Prescott will also be receiving play calls from the same offensive coordinator for likely years down the road now that Scott Linehan’s contract has been extended. This should be better than the situation for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is working with his third offensive coordinator since joining the league.

The point is Prescott has been placed into a fantastic situation that provides no setbacks in his development. People might think it’s unrealistic for him to improve upon his 104.9 quarterback rating in 2016.

They only need to look at the careers of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, two quarterbacks who had phenomenal rookie seasons and were surrounded by quality teammates. They both took steps forward in their sophomore year (and both coincidentally won a Super Bowl in their sophomore year as well).

As the first paragraph of this article mentioned, Prescott is obviously not relying on quality resources to get better. Ultimately it’s his intangibles that make him a special player. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett recently gushed that he has never seen a rookie quarterback due what Prescott was able to do.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has compared Prescott’s work ethic to two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning‘s. And while other players may stay away from football during the offseason until required to practice, Prescott has continued to refine his craft by working with quarterback guru Tom Shaw (who is known for training New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Manning).

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Clearly it’s not just the continuity in the supporting cast that will make Prescott better, but it certainly won’t hurt.