It’s no secret that Dallas found a key to success in the 2016 season with Dak Prescott. However, Dak used his rookie year to shape the image of a determined, poised, and unshaken young man who can undeniably forge the future of our franchise. From 135th pick to first in his class, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback is more than just an unexpected fit for the League with a phenomenal start; he has proven that can lead a team of veterans and that he is here to stay.
Here are just a few of the countless reasons to be optimistic:
Prescott decisively crushed all doubters of his ability to stay calm and poised under pressure. From the pocket, he was almost flawless with the best completion percentage, 67.8, by any rookie in League history. As the season progressed, many successful games for the quarterback were labeled products of facing lower tier NFL teams and were sometimes even attributed to luck. For a large portion of the season, each upcoming game became “the one where the rookie will finally crack” or “the one where he will definitely start to feel the pressure of true professionals,” but that game never came.
If Dak felt the pressure, he never showed it. Each week, he showed up calmer and more ready than the week before. Even in the starter’s measly two losses, he displayed great intelligence with the ball and executed a professional. In playoff-like atmospheres as well as in the actual playoffs, he was able to make strategic plays and maintain his remarkable accuracy. His unbelievable poise is backed up by the numbers in almost every way: he logged 23 total touchdowns (6 of them rushing), gained almost 8 yards per pass, and only threw 4 interceptions throughout the entire season. His first year proved that he came ready with the composure he needs to succeed, and no amount of pressure we have seen thus far has altered his mindset.
Dak’s poise and composure has led to an even more impressive feat in the NFL, which is consistency. Whether asked to face a formidable Minnesota defense or simply perform against a barely existent Cleveland pass rush, Prescott remained the same quarterback. His accuracy and execution never wavered, which is notable even for a veteran of the position and is very promising for the future of the team.
The final testament to Dak’s longevity is the simple fact that he held the position even over a healthy veteran, our beloved Tony Romo. As heartbreaking as it is to see the pride of Dallas elsewhere, there is no question Dak has earned his place as a Cowboy as I am sure Tony would agree. While holding a team of veterans and rookies together, our quarterback tied for the most regular season wins in his first year and surpassed the highest ever passer rating for a rookie. His leadership has established his role and there is no doubt: he is built to endure.
(Photo: Tim Heitman, Tim Heitman)