Skip to main content


Presented by

Jones, McCarthy all-in on Dak using his mobility


FRISCO, TX — As you watched the Dallas Cowboys battle against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6, you noticed something rarely seen recently: the mobility and escapability of quarterback Dak Prescott. It was on full display in the eventual narrow victory, a must-win outing that pushed the Cowboys to a 4-2 record heading into their bye week.

The only question now is a fairly obvious one, as it relates to the topic at-hand, and that's if the two-time Pro Bowler plans to use that ability more often going forward.

"It's not something you want to live in because that means something — the initial play or the gameplan — isn't working," said Prescott. "But when those plays present themselves, you've got to take advantage of it. It's something I've been [sic] in my career, getting out of the pocket and being able to throw on the move, so guys can work and get open, and it's just another weapon. When you practice it and put time into it as we've done this past week or so, it becomes a whole 'nother play."

It certainly gives the opposing defense something else to account for, as evidenced against the Chargers, and that allowed the offense to pick up big plays at the most critical points of the game.

Using his legs was something that made him a record-setting quarterback at Mississippi State, and while the 30-year-old version of Prescott isn't exactly the same rusher on the ground, he's also far from a statue in the pocket.

The offense is looking for any and every spark it can get right now and, exiting the bye week, knowing Prescott will take off to help provide it can only be viewed as a positive — as owner and general manager Jerry Jones readily admits. 

"We needed that game," said Jones. "We really needed that game, and Dak's legs were the difference. … I think that's there. We all know what's involved there when he has to make those kinds of calls, and the reason I'm saying this is that, not only do I agree with it, but there's nothing that I can do about it. 

"He's gonna play the game the way he's wired [to]. When you weight everything he's about, that's a good dynamic to have for your team, under center. … He'll turn it up and get it on when [we need] the win."

But, really, is there more to come of this? 

Prescott hints at that answer being a firm yes, but not often as the primary option, though he also understands that some of the more explosive plays have occurred when he's forced the opposing defense to break down due to the threat of his legs. 

"When you go back and look at it, and you look at big plays, you look at touchdowns … I guarantee you at least 30 percent of those were scramble plays," Prescott said. "Those are numbers and plays we've got to use in our favor. I don't want to say continue to build upon, because it's great when the initial play works but, when the opportunity presents itself … just being conscious of the down-and-distance and where we are on the field, and trying to make something of it." 

Thirty percent is no small chunk of change. It's nearly one-third of the entirety of big plays, and for a Cowboys' offense that's mostly lacked them through the first six weeks — it's all about the more, the merrier as the second trimester gets underway. 

"When I look at the quarterback running, you have called quarterback runs and then you have the runs that come out of the scramble phase," head coach Mike McCarthy explained. "We've spoken on the scramble phase, time and time again, and the majority of your pass game is that there's a second phase to every pass play. You look at concepts that are very successful in the league — I learned this back in the early 90s as a quality control coach — I think the average scramble back then was four or five a game. 

"It's probably north of seven now." 

When looking at the Cowboys' schedule this season, the large majority of their opponents are led by a quarterback with at least some sort of mobility or who can downright wreck a game with their legs, and Dallas' vaunted defense has, at times, struggled against such a QB.

That said, it only makes sense the Cowboys return the favor.

"Scrambling quarterbacks making plays with their feet, extending plays, we talk about the 2.3 [seconds to make a decision], it's how we train and how we play," said McCarthy. "I think it's not only beneficial from an offensive approach, but we do it in practice too, so that's really good for our defense. With our pass rush and the aggressiveness of our pass rush, if the quarterback can get out of there and extend the play we obviously got to be very good in our reaction from a coverage call plaster, the coverage element. 

"So to me, it's a big part of the game. If you look at big play opportunities, whether it's red zone production, big passes and everything, the scramble is probably a top-three concept annually in those situations."

Time will tell if Prescott is finally [again] out of his mobility shell, and not simply in the realm of extending plays to find the receiver downfield, but also to blast off and move the chains himself — as he did with an 11-yard burst against the Chargers that combined with an 18-yard rushing touchdown on an option play to make Prescott the team's leading rusher in Week 6.

Don't expect him to continue owning that designation, but if there's green to be had, he should continue to make defenses pay for showing it to him.

And it sounds like that's the plan from now on — situationally-speaking, of course.

Related Content