Oxnard, California – As I sat in the sun pouring down on us here on the tennis courts at training camp, 70-degree heat, and listening to him on stage ask questions from the media for the first time at training camp, this is what happened to me:
How lucky it is that the Dallas Cowboys have Dak Prescott in the middle today.
As if this little genie landed on their shoulder here early in training camp six years ago, presenting the cowboys with a gift that keeps on giving.
And just how lucky they are. At the time, 2016, Tony Romo was the current veteran quarterback, 36, but he still has a few years to go. Kellen Moore was the expected reserve quarterback. And rookie Duck, well, was late in the fourth round, somewhat battling for third QB on the 53-man roster.
Then the dominoes from above, or maybe that was the genie dust, started falling off. Unfortunately Moore sustained a season-ending injury early in camp, which initially caused the Cowboys to start looking for available, experienced NFL agents, though they didn’t overreact.
Then in the third pre-season game, after a Mississippi kid starred during his first inning against the Rams at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, Romo suffered a compression fracture of his L-1 vertebra in the game’s third play, eliminating him for a period of six to 10 weeks.
Prescott went up that night in Seattle, and in his first play, third and eighth of his 38-yard streak, he hit Cole Beasley for 12 yards and a first touchdown. And in his second possession, Duck runs a Cowboys 81-yard run in seven plays, nails Jason Witten on a 17-yard touchdown pass, and the rest is history.
It’s hard to believe that Duck would be twenty-nine years old today at the twenty-ninth. It’s hard to believe this is his seventh season in the NFL. How time passes. It’s hard to believe he actually rose from these rookies to signing last year a four-year, $160 million contract with a $126 million guarantee.
From those humble beginnings, remember that Duck was the Cowboys’ fourth-round pick that year—they took a defensive end against Charles Tapper 24—until now veteran Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin says, “He has the lead.
“It really sets the tone for the football team.”
Duck is why this Cowboys team, not to mention former important contributors like Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, Cedrick Wilson and La’el Collins, still hopes to become the first NFC East team to defend the division title since the Eagles in 2004. The sponsors Cows have a duck. Others in the East do not.
“I feel like we have one of the best people in the position,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said during the camp’s opening press conference on Tuesday.
Understood, Jones didn’t say “quarterback.” thats understood. He said “people”. This position requires that the quarterback be “good people”. Anything less broke the locker room. This guy proves it.
Just hearing about Duck’s handling questions on Thursday during his first media meeting at camp made me think. He does it easily. of course. With such charisma and such an unfavorable smile that he would melt his harshest critics.
When we see other teams struggling as a quarterback, Jones has to walk out with a big smile. He didn’t have to give up The Ranch to trade in the first round to snatch Duck in the draft. He didn’t have to spend years of venture capital trading for someone else, then pay out a guaranteed $230 million.
Jones didn’t have to put a separate “study” clause in the midfielder’s contract to ensure he was doing what good midfielders do on a daily basis. He didn’t have to take multiple shots to find just one franchisee man, as the Cowboys did from 2001-05 until he got equally lucky developing Romo.
Think about this: As the 2022 season approaches, 13 NFL teams have either traded or signed up for free agency who are expected to start their quarterback. I think Cleveland (we believe), Denver, Tampa Bay, Washington, Minnesota and New Orleans to name a few.
And as we’ve learned, it’s nearly impossible to win consistently and big in the NFL with only a man as quarterback. You must have _the_.
Or, as McCarthy put it, “This is Dak Prescott’s offense, and I think you really see him taking the reins on that.”
After a brief pause, McCarthy shook the hornet’s nest by saying, “At the end of the day, the defense wins championships but the Super Bowl wins the quarterback. … That’s my opinion.
“This is how I visualize the journey of how you prepare your team and the shape your team needs. And I think he’s a guy who is exactly what you’re looking for.”
Oh boy. Thanks Mike. _Super Bowl won by the midfielder. Put those three words into one sentence, Super Bowl and The Querback, and what do you think of the first question Duck had on Thursday?
“Earlier today, Mike said while defenses win trophies, he thinks quarterbacks win Super Bowls, and I’m sure he mentioned that to you. What do you think about that?”
Duck approached the perceived hard-ball issue with blunt confidence, turning it into a softball, but first thanked Cowboys Director of Football Communications Scott Agullnik for his guidance on what is sure to come after McCarthy’s statement. He went so far as to thank him, saying with a big smile, “Scott warned me that, yeah, he’s doing a great job.”
“I feel like we (he and McCarthy) have talked about it in a lot of conversations. …You obviously know the old adage that defenses win trophies, and it’s true. And when he said quarterbacks win the Super Bowl, he meant they did I have to do missions. Big on the big moments of the game, and things like that.
“The way this game has evolved into something like this that’s now prevalent in the NFL, where you have to make a big throw, whether it’s third or fourth, to win games. And those are the biggest and biggest moments that happen in that game. One hundred percent understand. What he’s saying and just trying to do everything I can to get to that moment, really.”
Is he thinking that in the back of his mind? How is a quarterback judged by winning the Super Bowl?
“A lot, a lot,” says Duck. “It’s clear that knowing the quarterbacks who played specifically for this team and their legacy, the people we hold on to at a high level are the ones who won the Super Bowl. It starts for me because I’m trying to fill in the shoes of those guys who came before me and did something for this organization that hasn’t been done. For a long time “.
Do you understand what I mean? Absolutely honest. faithful. Violet is not squeezed under the center of this panel. Broad shoulders. But don’t assume traits like those are short-lived fruits. They are hard to get.
And he certainly seems ready to take it one step further until the one he took last year, when he came back from a terrible ankle injury and the ensuing surgeries to score 11 wins, a third-best QB rating in the NFL (104.2), and fourth-best percentage Achievement (68.8), fourth-highest touchdown thrown (37), which in turn set the record for one franchise season, raised his career QB rating to 98.7, and tied Drew Price to the all-time fifth-highest quarterback among quarterbacks trying to win. With a minimum of 1,500 passes, a record for the Cowboys heading into his seventh season.
These rare guys simply don’t grow on trees, or as Bill Parcells was known, they can’t go down to Texaco and buy one. And if you can, the shelves are probably empty these days.
Yes, I knowingly shook my head, how lucky the cowboys were to have this guy Duck.