Sullivan: Random Thoughts Include Playing Dak, Frederick Deal & More

Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

• That's the most impressive performance by any quarterback not named Tony Romo in the eight years I've been covering the team. No one is saying rookie Dak Prescott is the right-handed second coming of Steve Young or he's going to replicate the immediate success of Russell Wilson. Some folks take individual game praise to mean something else entirely. But look, if they are going to play preseason contests, that's what we have to write and talk about, and that was fun to see. That was stunning to see.

• These weren't dump-off throws either. And yes, the majority were first-read throws. Again, I don't care. Here's what I care about. There was an NFL defense on the field, and the players were giving their all. Also, Prescott looked better in that first half than Stephen McGee or Kellen Moore ever has. One player told me this offseason that when Matt Cassel first threw in practice last year, everyone was looking at each other like, "Is this for real? He can't throw anymore."

• We have no idea where the career of Prescott is headed. Vince Young and Robert Griffin III both won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and neither ever came close to replicating that success or promise. Maybe we're making a *Deep Blue *documentary 20 years from now about Prescott's brilliance in the first half and this ends up being the mountaintop. I don't think so. No, no, no, I don't think so at all.

• With quarterbacks, there is an eye test. Can watch film until the most diehard geek finally stops watching The Matrix, but playing quarterback successfully is more than footwork and arm strength. Joe Montana was fifth string or whatever he was at Notre Dame for a reason. Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick for a reason. Tony Romo wasn't drafted for a reason. When each was given the opportunity, though, their intangibles emerged.

• Nowadays, "intangibles" is a dirty word around the new-age statistics driven crowd. Not supposed to exist, much like being "clutch." Here's a word I believe in quite deeply, have my entire life around sports as an athlete, coach and reporter. A "gamer," a guy who just performs better when the game starts. And I think Prescott is one of those guys. I'm all in on the kid. I'm the same guy who has written negatively about every other quarterback they have brought in since Romo became the starter. None of them looked the part. This kid does.

• Here's what has to happen next. Stop with the splitting halves. If Romo needs a series in the third preseason game, fine, although I wouldn't let him near the field if it were my call. Let Prescott play the entire game on Friday, every single snap. Then outside of a series or two, I'd play him the entire game at Seattle, then give Jameill Showers the entire game in the preseason finale.

• Quarterbacks play full games when they count, so why shouldn't they prepare that way. Don't we always hear about practice like you play? Well, Jason Garrett should make that a reality for his young quarterbacks.

• My favorite throw by Prescott was the first timing pattern to Dez Bryant on the sideline. That was a big boy toss. Really liked what Dez brought to the game and really all of camp. He wasn't himself last season, long before the injury and/or the monkey. It was just a lost year, from the contract holdout on. Dez is back, and I for one was worried if that would be the case as of a few months ago. Good to see.

• Let's make this clear for those who enjoy mock rosters. Stop writing Lucky Whitehead's name in pencil. Use ink. Somehow, someway, the Cowboys find another Dwayne Harris, who for a three-year stretch was simply a top-three all-around special teams contributor who could also catch a few passes and pick up first downs on reverses and the occasional end around. Whitehead hustles and his ability to change direction and cut on the run is second on the team to only Zeke Elliott.

• Also, the Devin Street Era is a couple of weeks away from its conclusion. At least here in Dallas. Rest assured there won't be any docs on his nine career catches.

• Those who I was impressed with, besides Dak: Brice Butler, David Irving, Cole Beasley, Cedric Thornton, Shaneil Jenkins and Mark Nzeocha. If this defense ends up being better than any of us envisioned, we are going to hear a lot about Irving and Thornton.[embeddedad0]

• Like signing Travis Frederick long-term, and he deserves to be the highest paid center in the game. Some will immediately think this means the team can't sign Zack Martin and La'el Collins, which of course is nonsense. Cap space can always be manufactured, and we're seeing its highest two-year increase on record. This line is going to be together for a good six or seven years, outside of Doug Free. Just a question of who eventually replaces him as the fifth Beatle.

• Want to repeat this, and really, plead for this to become a reality: Play Prescott at least seven of the next eight quarters of the preseason. Give him the entire game on Friday. Commit and invest in his future. Reps, reps and more reps. There's a real chance the Cowboys have finally found the successor to Romo, and more importantly in the short-term, a serviceable backup for the next couple of years.

Check out Jeff Sullivan's column each week in *Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. Find out more at DallasCowboys.com/star. You can also f*ollow Jeff on Twitter, @SullyBaldHead, or email him at jsullivan@dallascowboys.net.

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