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Offseason | 2024

QB coach on Dak "teaching the ropes" to Lance


FRISCO, Texas – Dak Prescott has been on both sides of the table when it comes to being a young quarterback, learning from the established vet.

Eight years ago, Dak was the rookie trying to learn the ropes and he was eventually thrown into action right away after an injury to Tony Romo.

While the Cowboys are hoping that won't be the case for Trey Lance this year, they definitely want him to play a lot in the preseason.

Cowboys quarterbacks coach Scott Tolzien was asked about the way Dak can help Lance this offseason.

"He's been great. He goes out of his way on a play that maybe he has a long history with, he can teach him some of the nuances with (Lance)," Tolzien said. "Beyond that, teach him the ropes – things that he's used in the past for him, both fundamentally and approach-wise. I'm really lucky that we have a really good quarterback room and guys help each other out and it's really natural and makes my job easier."

Tolzien, a former NFL quarterback in his own right, played five seasons, including three with the Packers under head coach Mike McCarthy (2013-15). In that time, he was in the room with Aaron Rodgers, so he knows the advantages of being a young quarterback and learning from the vets.

Then again, Lance isn't exactly a rookie. He's a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2021 and played two years in San Francisco (2-2 as a starter) before being traded to the Cowboys last year, at the end of the preseason. So while he spent the entire 2023 season as the third quarterback in Dallas behind Prescott and Cooper Rush, Lance was still learning on the run as the Cowboys were establishing a new offensive system.

"He was playing a little catch-up," Tolzien said of Lance last year. "But it's nice to start with a foundation and learn it as you go. It's no different than jumping into a math class when you move halfway through the year. It's nice to teach it from the grass roots so you can hear the origins of everything."

What Tolzien had heard about Lance was all proven to be true when he worked with him last year.

"Obviously, a high draft pick and everybody has raved about his work ethic," he said. "I couldn't agree more with that. He comes to work right mindset, right attitude. He's been a real pleasure to work with."

Coincidentally, that's the same word he used to coach Dak, who is coming off a season in 2023 in which he finished second in the NFL in the MVP voting, and led the league in touchdown passes (36) and completions (410).

"Every year I'm with him, I'm more impressed with the way he works and the way he leads," Tolzien said of Dak. "He's an elite player and his approach every day. He makes things go here. He's a pleasure to work with for sure."

Dak hasn't played a snap in the preseason since 2019, so it's unlikely that will change this year. As for Lance, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year, he is expected to get the majority, if not all, of the preseason snaps at quarterback this year.

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