Coming into the 2016 NFL season, Dak Prescott was penciled in as the third-string quarterback behind not only Tony Romo, but also behind Kellen Moore. As we all know, Romo hurt his back, Moore broke his ankle, and Nick Foles, who the cowboys had targeted as a veteran backup, signed in Kansas City to back up Alex Smith. This left the Cowboys with Prescott, a fourth-round draft pick and third-string player – not to mention a rookie – as its starting QB.
Heading into the opening game against the New York Giants, there were questions. The Cowboys had a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back in the backfield. Even though Prescott had performed well in the preseason, people were asking can he do that against defenses that aren’t vanilla, how much will transfer into the regular season, and can the Cowboys win just two or three games until Romo gets back.
To answer those questions and silence the haters, Prescott went out and won 11 straight after their season opening loss to the New York Giants, lead the cowboys to their second division title in the last three years posting the best record (13-3 in the NFC), and won rookie of the year with some all-time records mixed in.
Prescott showed an ability to avoid turnovers, while not just being a “dink and dunk” quarterback. He threw for 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions, with a 104.9 quarterback rating, which is the highest rating in NFL history.
Now the question comes, where can Dak improve heading into his second season?
The connection with his top wide out, Dez Bryant. Far too often in 2016, the two were not on the same page. The back shoulder fade that Romo and Bryant had mastered was not there with Prescott and Bryant, which was somewhat expected because they had not had the reps they needed to be on the same page in some situations.
With OTAs having just been completed at the star, news came out that the new “Big 3” Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Bryant were staying late watching film with each other. When asked about the film sessions, both Prescott and Bryant said they have been very helpful with being on the same page and knowing what each other is thinking versus certain defenses.
“Some man to man coverage, down the field, and some back shoulder fades, we just want to make sure we are on the same page,” Prescott said of the film sessions.
Bryant, who signed a five-year, $70 million extension before the 2015 season says this is the best team he has been a part of since coming into the NFL in 2010.
Bryant finished his 2016 campaign with eight catches, 125 yards and two touchdowns against the Green Bay Packers, which was probably Bryant’s best game of the season. His health and the growing relationship with his second-year quarterback will be big if the Cowboys want to make a return trip to the postseason and get this franchise back to the Super Bowl.
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