Preseason is kicking off this Thursday and the Dallas Cowboys’ season opener is only a month away. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also time for us to have a serious conversation, Cowboys Nation. Dak Prescott is heading into a defining third year in his career. What happens in 2018 could determine his future in Dallas and in the NFL. A dominant, solid season would probably result in a juicy long-term extension for the young field general while a poor performance will leave the Cowboys’ coaching staff and front office thinking about how to address the quarterback position.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk strictly about the 2018 season. Through 32 starts, Dak Prescott has yet to win over a large portion of Cowboys’ fans. After last year’s 9-7 campaign, #4 has many doubters.
Playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys comes with a spotlight so bright that not even a 22-10 record through his first 32 games will convince some fans that he deserves to be this team’s definite starter. In fact, some have even gone as far as suggesting taking a closer look at Cooper Rush and Mike White, and giving them an opportunity to fight for the starting job.
I’m not going to say this is surprising, because it’s not. Heck, some fans will only remember Tony Romo as the guy who botched the snap in Seattle. After more than 20 years without a ring, it’s very hard to satisfy some in Cowboys Nation.
I will say, however, that Dak Prescott is and should be the 2018 Dallas Cowboys’ unquestionable starting quarterback. Forget about any “QB controversy” taking a hold of the team’s quarterback room. He’s earned the right to prove himself.
2017 was tough, sure. It was for the entire team. Ezekiel Elliott was suspended, and Dak had to play without his offense’s most dangerous weapon. Tyron Smith‘s injury forced him to deal with pass rushers without his premium bodyguard, playing constantly under pressure.
That said, Dak deserves the criticism. There is no denying that he did, in fact, suffer from a sophomore slump, regardless of the circumstances. That doesn’t mean that there should be controversy at the QB position in Dallas. It means something much, much more simple.
Dak Prescott needs to get better.
He needs to work on his game and get ready to operate an offense with a lot of new wide receivers and tight ends. He has to be able to prove he can take it to the next level when his team needs him to do so. While 2017 was barely a winning season and one that didn’t result in a playoff berth, Dak improved in various areas of his game, even while the team as a whole struggled.
There is no reason to believe he won’t continue to improve in 2018. There is a learning curve for NFL quarterbacks. Even guys like Peyton Manning – who threw 23 interceptions in 2001 – go through this.
Dak deserves the opportunity to play with a secured starting job in 2018 for him to prove he’s the franchise quarterback the team is looking for. Forger about Cooper Rush and Mike White for now. This year is all about Dak Prescott.
If Dak fails to deliver and has a disastrous season, then the team should start thinking about how to proceed in 2019. In that case, the position should be seriously evaluated. But now? Why move on from a quarterback who just two seasons ago saved the Cowboys’ season after Romo went down in preseason? All because he struggled during his second season? I mean, there is a reason why the “sophomore slump” term even exists.
Don’t forget how hard it is to find capable quarterbacks in this league. Prescott is not a top 10 QB in the NFL. He’s not Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. But he has the potential to be the franchise quarterback the Cowboys need to get the much desired sixth Lombardi Trophy.
2017 will serve Dak Prescott as a humbling experience. For him, it’s all about returning America’s Team to its glory and put them in position to make a Super Bowl run. Before discussing benching him for a guy who has played three preseason games, let Dak show what he’s got in his third season in the NFL.
Cowboys Nation, it’s high time we all trust #4.