FRISCO, Texas – For a guy with Dak Prescott’s resume, this really is uncharted territory – and not in a good way.
It’s bad enough to fall two games below .500 in the hyper-competitive NFL. But for a guy that’s used to winning at the high school, college and professional level, it’s got to feel even worse.
“I don’t like to lose. To be 3-5, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a record like that in my career, ever,” Prescott said. “It’s not something I’m used to and it’s not something I ever plan to get used to.”
He’s not exaggerating. Prescott won a state title at Haughton High School, and he famously lifted Mississippi State’s football program to new heights as a starter. His rookie accolades with the Cowboys and his 25-16 record as a starter are well-known facts.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that this losing record, not to mention the Cowboys’ struggles across the board on Monday night, would weigh heavily on their starting quarterback. Frustrating as it might be, Prescott said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Yeah we were pissed, and I would have been even more pissed if I came in here and guys weren't,” he said. “That's the competitive nature of this locker room and the players we have.”
It might not be an ideal scenario from a rest standpoint, but the short week created by a Monday night game doesn’t give the Cowboys much time to dwell on the past. With only four days to prep for this trip to Philadelphia, it’s the type of situation where the Cowboys can’t afford to let the Titans beat them twice.
“We got to stay positive, locked arms and just be together and I know if we do that it will serve us well,” Prescott said.
For his part, that can start with playing a cleaner game against the Eagles. Prescott’s red zone interception and his fumble near midfield swung Monday’s game wildly, and those two turnovers continued a troubling trend for the young quarterback.
In his first season, Prescott’s play was marked by his ability to take care of the football, as he threw just four interceptions and lost four fumbles as a rookie. Those numbers have climbed recently, though. Monday’s game gave him four lost fumbles and four interceptions already this year – with the second half of the season still to go.
“Yeah, it's frustrating,” Prescott said. “I know I was trying to make a play. That has been the biggest deal for me. It's trying to weigh in my options of when to make a play and take that sack. And trust in the defense, knowing they are going to get me the ball back and stay within the game.”
That would be a step in the right direction. But there’s also the matter of the Cowboys’ struggling passing game, which saw signs of life after adding Amari Cooper but still couldn’t maintain any consistency. And then there’s the challenge of the Eagles’ run defense, which is allowing an average of just 83 rushing yards per game.
“These guys we know what we’re getting,” Prescott said. “They have a great defensive line. They have a great rush. I give them a lot of credit, so we’ll see.”
It’s not a fun place to be, but the Cowboys have been insistent that their season is still out in front of them. So while it’s understandable to be pissed off, Prescott said the only solution is to re-focus and get back to work.
“I'm just optimistic at the end of the day. The only thing I know I can do is come in and work and get better,” he said. “Work in the film room, work on the field, get better with my teammates, work on our chemistry and at the end of the day it usually pays off, and that's what I'm going to continue to do.”