What can Dak Prescott still learn from Tony Romo?

Dak Prescott #4 and Tony Romo #9, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott #4 and Tony Romo #9, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys’ passer Dak Prescott undoubtedly learned a lot from Tony Romo during their playing days. But when will he make this Romo-like adjustment?

The Dallas Cowboys were so fortunate to be able to go straight from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott. Finding good quarterbacks in this league is so hard. Yet it seems every Tom, Dick, and Sally is so nonchalant about using the phrase “just go get another quarterback” like it’s that easy.

Whether you are on the Prescott wagon or off, the truth is that the way he throws the ball can be off-putting. Dak’s numbers are great when compared to the rest of the league but the way he labors when he throws is an issue for many armchair quarterbacks.

I get that it is not aesthetically pleasing to see sometimes but the guy is so far advanced when compared to other quarterbacks in their first four years that Cowboy fans should be happy with his progression. If Romo started all 16 games Prescott’s rookie year, I can guarantee Dak would not be who he is today.

Now, let’s get to what Prescott can still learn from Romo. If anyone has ever seen the NFL Network’s A Football Life series you would probably agree that it is a great peek into the road an athlete took to get where they are now.

In the opening sequence of the Romo’s Football Life, he talks about how he could never throw the ball as well as he wanted. And how he worked hard at being able to throw the ball from multiple angles as if it were part of his natural-throwing motion. I believe this is what Prescott is missing.

Not every quarterback can have the classic dropback look of Troy Aikman where almost every pass he threw was from his statuesque pocket with pinpoint accuracy. Some guys have everything they need to be a quarterback except the ability to throw it as naturally as Aikman.

Romo was a guy who needed to learn how to throw the football better. To me, Prescott is in the same boat. Most quarterbacks work on different tasks in the offseason but focus on one serious adjustment every year.

Up until now, Prescott undoubtedly has worked on the cerebral part of football which slows the game down for him. Last year, he worked on his footwork with former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and coach Jon Kitna. What Prescott needs now is to work on his throws.

I still remember the early Tony Romo years where he used his athletic ability to create more time by scrambling to be able to set up his throws from an upright position. The older he got, he used a more traditional quarterback shift in the pocket to create more time but his throws were not always the same.

Of course, he used his easily recognizable shoulder throwing motion but his sidearm and cross-body throws were things that looked natural to him but were things he worked on daily. Now I wouldn’t mess with Dak’s running while throwing ability as he is as deadly as anyone I have ever seen especially on deep running throws to his right.

It is the trajectory and the way the ball comes out when his feet aren’t set that concerns talent evaluators and casual fans. I also believe that this is what causes non-Dak believers to relentlessly criticize him. It might not look pretty but it is very effective. I think Dak now has to make it look pretty.

Let me give you an example. I believe that Dallas Cowboys legend Emmit Smith is the greatest running back of all time while most who oppose me say that Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders carries that crown. Smith is the league’s all-time leading rusher and has three Super Bowl championships to go along while Sanders has one playoff win to his name.

If you want to be entertained, by all means, take Sanders but I want complete careers which is why Smith is number one on my list. Dak Prescott is undoubtedly in the same boat as Smith when it comes to how it looks.

I would not venture to tell Dak Prescott how to throw the ball but a change in the way and the angles he throws are something that he needs to incorporate in his game. Most classic dropback quarterbacks harp on footwork which is undoubtedly important.

But what Romo said about what worked for him back in 2013 was interesting. Here’s what Fox Sports Southwest reported back in the 2013 offseason.

"“Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo tells FOXSportsSouthwest.com that he’s ‘discovered something that is going to be really special’ with a change in his throwing mechanics as he prepares for the 2013 season. … The ‘change’ is highly subtle and involves arm angles and release points.”"

For quarterbacks that struggle with how they throw the football, the angles and release points Dak has to incorporate on his throws could make believers in the critics.

Before last season, Romo also talked to 105.3 The Fan and talked about how his different throwing motions helped him with his footwork and not the other way around.

Quarterback coaches are probably going to kill me but is it wrong to think that players that have every aspect of being a franchise quarterback except the comfortability of throwing the football cleanly work on different angles and release points instead of footwork to help them?

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Tony Romo believed this change helped him and allowed him to throw the football the way he always wanted to. Unfortunately, Romo figured this out too late. If Dak Prescott can apply it earlier in his career, perhaps the Dallas Cowboys can finally know what it is to be a champion again.