OXNARD, Calif. – Dak Prescott is back for his third training camp with the Cowboys, and his second as the unquestioned starting quarterback.
Prescott touched on a variety of topics after Friday's walkthrough, including the national anthem policy and the improvements he wants to make as a player and leader.
Here are 6 takeaways from Prescott's interview with the media from Oxnard:
- Prescott believes the offense is moving forward without Jason Witten (retired) and Dez Bryant (released) – two of its longtime playmakers. "We're past that," Prescott said. "We had the whole OTA's and minicamps to kind of get over that stage. Those are guys that I've said before that you can't replace. But when you get out here, you just see the youthfulness we have, how young this team is, the energy. We're just excited for what we can be."
- Prescott believes he and the Cowboys' new receivers improved their on-field chemistry through offseason work and even after minicamp, when wideouts such as Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Lance Lenoir Jr. and rookie Michael Gallup joined him in Orlando to work out. "It (chemistry) is definitely not overrated," Prescott said. "It's something that you have get to and you continually have to work on and that's what we're doing all throughout practice. You'll see we're getting some extra routes in after practice. It's an area of our game in our offense that we want to make sure is there. When you have some new guys, you have to create that chemistry. We're going to work every day to get there."
- Asked about finding receivers to step up in Bryant's old role, Prescott said, "I think it'll just happen. I think in certain games against certain defenses, it'll be a certain guy. It'll be a different guy. So when you have a lot of different guys like we have that have a lot to offer and one can do something that the others can't do, and that goes for all of them."
- "In a way," Prescott said he tried to do too much last season instead of letting the game come to him. That's a big area for improvement as he enters Year 3. "It was just a lot of mental mistakes, a lot of things that I felt like I don't normally do," he said. "It's about just getting back comfortable in everything that I do – the run game, the pass game, knowing my defense. Just knowing everything so I can get out there and not think and just play. I feel like I thought a lot about different things last year within the games. It's something that I'm going to try to eliminate going forward this year."
- With only three guys on the roster 30 years or older, Prescott is one of the Cowboys' most experienced players. He's always viewed himself as a leader, but now he's trying to find new ways to lead with more responsibility. "That's something that as a quarterback of this team that you have to do," he said. "You have to be the leader and you have to get those young guys going, the inexperienced guys going and just let them know you've got their back we've got to continue to work."
- Prescott believes his close friend and teammate, running back Ezekiel Elliott, is maturing as a leader after a difficult second season that included a six-game suspension. Elliott is speaking up more in meetings and drills. "He just had his 23rd birthday, so the guy's still young," Prescott said. "We're a young team. For him to be just turning 23 and to be one of our leaders on the team, he's really taking that step of the things he needs to do on the field and off the field. I don't know if anyone necessarily practices harder than him."