FRISCO, Texas – See Dak run.
If ever there was a theme for this weekend's trip to Washington, it might be that. After all, the biggest wrinkle in the Cowboys' 40-point breakout last week against Jacksonville wasn't Dak Prescott's contributions as a passer, but his 82 rushing yards – complete with a touchdown.
For an offense that's still trying to find its way without Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, Prescott said it's something he might need to do more often to maintain that momentum.
"It's an element that we probably need to explore more – just in the simple fact of, in the past years we had different things that were necessarily go-to's that aren't go-to's now," Prescott said. "So maybe using the run game, using my feet can serve that benefit to us."
From the time he carried the ball seven times for 45 yards in Week 2 against the Giants, there has been a call for Prescott to return to the read-option roots of his college career. Last Sunday against the Jaguars, he came awful close. Prescott's 11 attempts and 82 yards were easily career highs, and they spurred the Cowboys to 200 total rushing yards and a dominant win.
Simple as it sounds, though, Prescott said there's more to it than simply scheduling a handful of running plays. After all, only four of his 11 attempts last week were designed runs – the rest of them coming as off-schedule scrambles.
Finding the right mix between the two sounds more like a feeling than a pre-game plan, to hear it from Prescott.
"It's about finding that right balance, though. You can't just go into a game saying 'I'm going to run this many times' or 'I've got to run this many times to open the offense,'" he said.
Prescott's offensive coordinator seemed to agree with that. Scott Linehan was asked extensively about Prescott's dynamic as a runner on Thursday. While Linehan allowed that some defenses are capable of scheming the quarterback run out of a game plan, he added that it can only help the offense to present that threat.
"Each week is a little different. I think some teams will say 'You're not running your quarterback today,' or they'll try," Linehan said. "But when other things are working, that should make the opportunities in our passing game and in our run game more presentable."
Linehan agreed with his quarterback that it's not necessarily about a pre-game snap count, so much as taking advantage of opportunities. Not many NFL teams would prefer to have their quarterback carrying the ball 15 times or more – the Cowboys included.
But it's clearly an element that gives the Cowboys a boost, and it's something Prescott has extensive experience doing. For an offense that needs all the added production it can get, maybe it really is that simple.
"I want to do whatever it takes to win," Prescott said. "If there's a number that we can get to one day and say 'This is the amount of times that allows our offense to be at its best,' then sure we'll make sure I get that many attempts at running. Whatever it takes to win."