FRISCO, Texas – Throughout all the frenzy about his fantastic stat to the preseason, Dak Prescott has stressed the importance of an even keel.
If it wasn’t already apparent, it’s becoming quite clear that he’ll need it.
Veteran starters came and went as they pleased, mostly unbothered, on Monday in the Cowboys’ locker room. But when Prescott finished getting dressed, he was mobbed by a group of reporters that would rival any crowd at Tony Romo’s locker.
It might seem like a lot to deal with, but Prescott continues to take it in stride, insisting that he isn’t fazed.
“I’ve got high expectations for myself,” he said. “I’ve played pretty good games for the most part, but then you go back and look at it, I was saved by an interception. I did throw an interception, he just hit me late. I made a couple mistakes when it comes to calling plays and stuff like that, so a lot of it has to be cleaned up.”
It’s a bit of an understatement to call the rookie’s preseason “pretty good” to this point. Yes, he has made mistakes – highlighted by the aforementioned interception, which was negated by a flag. But he has also completed 81 percent of his passes for 338 yards and six total touchdowns.
Those numbers come with the caveat that it’s preseason – teams aren’t typically game planning for their opponents, and defenses aren’t exactly running sophisticated schemes. For his part, Prescott said he’s just doing his job, regardless of whether he’s doing it against vanilla defenses or not.
“I’m looking at it to go out there and put my best effort on film,” he said. “That’s on them if they want to throw vanilla or whatever they want to throw at me – Rocky Road or whatever you want to say.”
As has been discussed plenty already, Prescott is making all the right moves to earn himself the Cowboys’ backup quarterback job in Kellen Moore’s absence. Even as well as he has played, that’s still pretty startling given the original plan to shelve him as the team’s third, developmental quarterback.
Prescott’s answer to those types of questions are basically perfect. He brims with the confidence of a three-year starter in the SEC and a Heisman Trophy contender.
“I want to be the starter of this organization one day, and a starter in this league for a long time,” he said. “So I’m going to continue to push myself and make myself the best I can each and every day.”
At the same time, he has the deference one would expect to hear from a rookie situated behind a Pro Bowl quarterback – although the confidence certainly shines through when asked about his short-term situation, and whether he expects to be the backup.
“That’s on Jerry – that’s on whoever calls the shots,” Prescott said. “I’m just coming, like I’ve said, to prove myself each and every day. I think, if I put my best effort out there, it’ll say for itself.”
There’s no denying that the spotlight is bright, and why wouldn’t it be? But the attention just might turn away from Prescott in the games to come. As part of the much-discussed “dress rehearsal” game, Romo figures to play a healthy amount, leaving fewer reps for Prescott.
When the Cowboys welcome the Texans to AT&T Stadium the following week, it stands to reason that No. 3 quarterback Jameill Showers will see the lion’s share of the snaps, as the front office focuses on roster cuts.
Regardless of how that all shakes out, Prescott was adamant that his approach won’t change.
“It’s the same each and every week – the same each and every day,” he said. “It’s just to come in, whatever plays I’m given, the amount, the number – whatever it is. It doesn’t really matter. I’ve just got to come in and prepare myself the right way to do the best I can.”
That shouldn’t be surprising for Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to hear, but it’s still got to be pleasing to his ears. From the day Dallas drafted Prescott, Garrett has applauded his demeanor and approach, and he’s been pleased to see it hasn’t changed after such a hot start.
“In the research that we did on him and the time we spent on him prior to the draft, everyone shared with us, he just has these great intangible qualities,” Garrett said. “A big part of that is recognizing the importance of focusing on the task at hand, and he’s done that since he’s been here. And that has to continue.”
Judging by how Prescott has handled it to this point in the preseason, that doesn’t seem like something Garrett needs to worry about.