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How Has Dak Prescott Taken This Next Step?


(Editor's Note: With the Cowboys on the bye week, the team is taking a much-needed break to rest up for the final nine games of the season. But football analyst Bryan Broaddus is taking a look back to the first two months, analyzing some of the key aspects from each phases of the game. Today, we focus on the offense.)

Leading By Example: Dak Prescott

For Dak Prescott, it all started on the practice field last March. While his teammates were away enjoying those final few weeks of the offseason, Prescott was out there throwing passes to whoever was in the building that day. Practice squad players or starters, it just didn't matter. Prescott knew he had to improve, and he did it the only way he knows how: through hard work. Day after day, I could look out my window and see him throwing countless routes until his receivers had to stop to catch their breath. Prescott knew it was an important season with his contract situation looming, but I don't believe that's what drove him. Deep down inside, it's about winning to Prescott and the responsibility that he has -- not only to the organization, but his teammates as well. Leading is in the DNA of most athletes, but in some like Dak Prescott it's a little stronger.

Better Than Expected: Travis Frederick

I honestly didn't know what to expect from Travis Frederick this season. I could only trust him when he told us that he was regaining strength and feeling better overall. There was still that unknown until he padded up for the first time and went out there to handle one of the most important jobs in the NFL. I don't feel like Frederick is at his All-Pro level, but that doesn't mean he hasn't played well. Sure, there have been snaps where he's been overpowered or been knocked off balance, but from where he was last season to now is nothing short of remarkable. Frederick has had to teach himself how to once again play the position. His motor skills were adversely affected and that's been the biggest obstacle for him to overcome. The mind has always been sharp and we're starting to see signs of those skills returning, as well.

Still Haven't Seen: Explosive Plays from Randall Cobb

When the front office signed Randall Cobb in the offseason, I was totally on board with his addition. I thought it would lead to more downfield plays due to his ability to get open and how he finishes. What has been disappointing is that's he averaging around five targets a game, but he has only found the end zone one time -- and that was against the New York Giants all the way back in Week 1. My hope is that we see more from Randall Cobb in the second half of the season. He's always been one of those receivers that functioned well in poor weather conditions and with outdoor games against the Giants, Patriots, Bears and Eagles on the horizon they're going to need more from him when others might struggle.

Don't Be Surprised If: They Have Success against the New England Patriots

To beat the Patriots, you almost have to play a perfect game. Their personnel and coaching staff defensively are outstanding. They create confusion and issues with their scheme. It's hard to prepare for them week to week because they will work hard to take your best player away and make you beat them with the others. Teams that have had problems with them have not been able to block their front. If the Cowboys can go into that game with the overall health of their line intact, I believe they can move the ball. This matchup against the Patriots is one of those games that could propel the season going forward if they can handle their business in a difficult environment. The Cowboys offensively have the personnel to go get that victory, but how well they block will be the difference in this one.