FRISCO, Texas – With the bye week upon him, Dak Prescott traded in his helmet for a baseball hat.
He still went to practice and worked through various drills and reps, but the Cowboys' week off looked like a bit of a vet day for the quarterback. And to hear it from his quarterback coach, he probably wasn't thrilled about it.
"We're trying to give him days off. He won't take them," Jon Kitna said on Thursday. "There's times where -- coming back from the Jets game, Wednesday, I knew he was beat up and sore and hurting. But the dude just wants to work every day. He wants that immediate feedback."
Like most of his teammates, Prescott took the week off from his media session. But it was interesting visiting with Kitna for the first time since training camp, as the first-year NFL coach has had an up close view of Prescott's best statistical start to this point in his career.
"The good thing about Dak is you come back in on Mondays and the first thing he wants to do is look at the plays that weren't right," Kitna said. "His mental toughness, his resiliency is off the charts. I think he's playing at a high level, and I think our team is continuing to come to where he's at, honestly – mentally and physically."
It hasn't been perfect, but the work ethic is bearing out through the first half of the season. By almost any measure you want to use, Prescott's numbers are at career highs through his first seven games. He's completing 70.1% of his passes, which is a full eight points higher than the last two years. He's averaging 300 passing yards per game, which is easily a career best.
Arguably the only downside is the uncharacteristic seven interceptions, though the Cowboys will probably tell you that's a byproduct of his willingness to go downfield – which he is. Prescott's is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt this season, which is the best mark of his career by a full yard. It also puts him No. 3 in the NFL, trailing only Kirk Cousins and Patrick Mahomes.
"He does a great job leading – dealing with frustration, dealing with success," Kitna said. "That's just part of the deal. It's the NFL, it's a grind. A lot of times things that are outside of your control, you've got to be able to let those things go and do well on the things you can control. I think he does as good a job of that as anybody I've ever been around. His mental toughness is off the charts, to be honest."
So Prescott wore a baseball hat to practice this week. But it's a good bet, when the Cowboys return from the bye, he'll be ready to go. It's just who he is.
"His makeup, his mentality is the light switch is always on," Kitna said. "You don't want to mess with that stuff."