The offseason practices are in the rearview mirror as the Cowboys are heading towards training camp, which begins on July 24 in Oxnard, Calif.
That's usually the place where many of the questions regarding this team start to get answered.
The staff writers at DallasCowboys.com – Rob Phillips, David Helman, Nick Eatman and Bryan Broaddus – are attempting to answer 20 pressing questions as the team gets ready for camp and the 2017 season.
Today, we continue the series discussing how Dak Prescott can build on an unprecedented rookie season for a Cowboys quarterback.
2) 20 Questions: Can Dak Take Game To New Level & Avoid Sophomore Slump?
Helman:This is one that I'm genuinely buying in to. Maybe I'm too close to the situation, but it's hard to spend time around Dak Prescott and not buy in. He cares very deeply, he works incredibly hard and he is fantastic at winning people over. Whether it's coaches, teammates or anyone else, he just has a knack for getting people to follow him. And the people in his life will tell you he's been that way all along. Because of all those things, it's hard for me to think he takes a significant step backward this year – especially when you consider the weapons around him. Even after losing two starters, his offensive line is still fantastic. He's got a Pro Bowl receiver, a Pro Bowl running back, a Hall of Fame tight end and several other great complementary players. He doesn't have to be Superman to raise his level of play. He just has to continue to make good decisions with the football and continue to develop as a downfield passer. I think he's well capable of both of those things, and I think he'll be a better overall player in 2017.
Phillips:Fans should be excited that we're even discussing this. Why? Because Prescott feeds off skepticism. Some thought he couldn't play quarterback at the college level. Same thing last year as he slipped to the fourth round. Talking to people close to him over the last year, he's honestly one of the most motivated players I've covered in this organization. It's not an outward chip on his shoulder, more of a quiet strength. I think he'll be a better player this year. The stats might not show it – it's really hard to throw fewer than five interceptions in two straight seasons – but I believe he'll develop into a more well-rounded passer inside and outside the pocket. He's too committed to his job. He's not one to force throws. And he has the pieces around him to be successful.
Eatman: If Dak Prescott doesn't take a step back, the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl this year. Maybe that sounds like a bold statement. But a bolder one is saying he will have a better year in 2017. Hey, I'm not saying he won't be a more polished, improved player. He has to be. But that doesn't mean he'll be 13-2 as a legitimate starter with a quarterback rating better than 100.0. A lot of things had to go right last year and it's hard to assume it will continue. Judging from the offseason with the recent setbacks, it certainly seems like there will be more challenges this year. I don't think it's fair to say Dak is having a sophomore slump if the team starts off 2-2 after the first month. So no, I don't think he'll have a slump. But I also think it'll be tougher for him to duplicate what he did last year. But if he somehow figures out how to improve everything he did, he'll hoist the trophy at the end of this season.
Broaddus: There is no question that Dak Prescott can take his game to a higher level. Just go back to that playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Game on the line, high pressure situation going toe to toe with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play says a lot about him. He will not only build on the successes that he had during his rookie season but he will grow from that game where he came up a little short. With the talent around him and his own ability, I don't expect Dak Prescott to take a