Jason Garrett on Dak Prescott: “He can improve in every way”
Although Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett believes his quarterback, Dak Prescott, needs to improve in every way, it doesn’t mean his not all-in on him.
In his first season in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott was the crowned prince of the league. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the first-year phenom went on to lead America’s Team to a 13-3 record that featured an 11-game winning streak and a playoff berth with the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and a Pro Bowl nomination thrown in for good measure.
Prescott’s second season in Dallas didn’t go nearly as well. Despite the Cowboys finishing with a winning record at 9-7, Dak played some of the worst football of his career. Although the 24-year old quarterback showed flashes of growth, most agree 2017 was a step back for the young passer professionally, referring to his inability to carry the team to the playoffs as a “sophomore slump”.
Obviously, Prescott didn’t have the supporting cast he did his rookie season with suspensions, inconsistent play and injuries plaguing the entire team. But his performance in year two only helped to confirm that the Cowboys offense carried Prescott more than Dak carried them during his rookie season. Namely, running back Ezekiel Elliott. And that Zeke’s suspension midseason was the real catalyst for Dallas not making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
Those are hard truths are not lost on Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. A former NFL quarterback himself, Garrett is fully aware of Prescott’s abilities. And he knows Dak has a long road ahead of him if he is to become the quarterback everyone hoped he was back in 2016.
"“ [Prescott] can improve in every way,” Garrett told USA Today at the NFL’s Scouting Combine this week. ” … He has done a lot of really good things, but he could improve in every aspect of his game – his understanding of what we’re doing, his understanding of what the defense is doing, and how they fit together. Physically, he can get better, the way he gets away from the center, his mechanics in the gun, his decisiveness, his decision-making, all of those things can get better and they will get better.”"
Reading between the lines one might think that Garrett and the Cowboys might be in the market for a new quarterback altogether based on the above evaluation of Prescott. But what is not listed above are the intangibles Dak brings to the table. His leadership, his work ethic, his demeanor, his presence in the locker room and his ability to learn and adapt.
Let’s not forget, this is a young man who did carry Mississippi State on his back and made them relevant in college football. Prescott was able to improve his passing accuracy from 58.4% (2013) to a 66.2% completion percentage his senior year, amazing NFL scouts. And in his first NFL season, that percentage actually increased to 67.8%, which is unheard of.
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The point being here is the Dallas Cowboys haven’t given up on Dak Prescott. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. By vowing this offseason to make their offense more “Dak-Friendly”, they are pushing their chips in and have called “all-in” on Prescott as their franchise quarterback, now and for the future. But that doesn’t mean that the third-year Cowboy doesn’t need to improve his game in every way.