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3 Reasons Why QB Dak Prescott Will Thrive In 2017

Brian Martin

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3 Reasons Why QB Dak Prescott Will Thrive In 2017 1

To say that the Dallas Cowboys were fortunate enough to find their future signal caller in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft would be an understatement. Dak Prescott had arguably the best season for a rookie quarterback in the history of the NFL, but there are reasons to believe why he will be even better in 2017 and thrive as the Cowboys signal caller.

Dak Prescott finished his first year in the NFL throwing for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns, four interceptions, and an impressive 104.9 passer rating. He also accumulated 282 rushing yards and six TDs on the ground. Those numbers alone have him among the best rookie QBs to ever play in the NFL, but they also earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl and made him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It's hard to imagine that he will be even better in 2017, but that is exactly what I'm predicting. Continue reading below to see the three reasons why I believe Dak Prescott will thrive in 2017 for the Dallas Cowboys.

QB Dak Prescott

Reason #1 - Continuity on Offense

It's a rarity in today's NFL that teams are able to keep nearly all of their starters on offense or defense in consecutive years, but that is exactly what it looks like the Dallas Cowboys will be able do in 2017.

Doug Free and Ronald Leary are the only two starters on the offensive side of the ball that won't be returning in 2017. But, Leary's spot will be filled with La'el Collins, who was the starting left guard to kick off the season to begin with and Free's spot could be filled from within as well. Everything else should look almost exactly the same as it did in 2016.

There's a lot to be said about having continuity on offense, especially for the QB. Prescott should already have a really good understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of his offensive weapons and he can continue to build the bond with those players instead of having to start all over.

But, it's not all about the players returning. I think Prescott will also continue to get better because he will have another year in offensive coordinator Scott Linehan's scheme. The playbook should also open up more with a years worth of experience under his belt.

QB Dak PrescottReason #2 - Full Off-season to Prepare

What was most impressive about Dak Prescott's rookie season and what he was able to accomplish, was the fact he didn't have the benefit of receiving the starters repetitions during off-season practices. In fact, he was nothing more than the third or fourth quarterback on the depth chart until Kellen Moore and Tony Romo both went down with injuries.

All of that will change now that he is the signal caller for the Dallas Cowboys. He is going to get to really strengthen the bond with all of his offensive weapons and get to know Scott Linehan's offensive playbook even better.

Having a full off-season to prepare for the season could possibly be the biggest reason why I think he will thrive in 2017. Prescott is going to now get the coaching staff's full attention and the organization now has the time to figure out exactly how best to use him.

We may have just seen a glimpse of what Prescott was capable of last year, but with a full off-season to put his stamp on the offense, things should only improve in his second year in the NFL.

QB Dak Prescott

Reason #3 - No longer Tony Romo's team

I'm personally a big fan of Tony Romo's, so this is a little bit of a bittersweet moment for me. I love what I've seen from Dak Prescott so far, but I absolutely hate to see this is the way Romo's career is going to end with the Dallas Cowboys. But, there is no denying that this is Prescott's team from here on out as long as he continues to play at a high level.

Prescott no longer has to look over his shoulder and wonder if the coaching staff is going to reinsert Romo into the starting lineup. Romo will likely be continuing his career with an organization or joining the media side of the sports industry.

This is now Prescott's team and they will only go as far as he is willing to take them. Yes, there are 10 other players that complete the offense, but it's the QB that is asked to be the leader of the unit.

It was really impressive how he is able to step in as a rookie and get his teammates to rally around him. He is going to have to continue that leadership role if he is going to take the Dallas Cowboys where we all want to see them.

With Tony Romo gone, everyone will be looking to Dak Prescott to step up and take over as the leader.

Do you think Dak Prescott will thrive in 2017?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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12 Comments
  • Silver_Blue_Blood

    I think you nailed it. His work ethic and positive attitude seems to be things that will keep him in a place to succeed. I am also a fan of Romo but I clearly remember him sulking in his early years when things weren’t going well. I don’t see that kind of thing from Dak Prescott… so far.

    • Brian Martin

      Prescott was also thrown into a better situation than Romo was early in his career. But, I agree I don’t think we will see #4 hanging his head very often.

  • deal with it

    I think Dak brings a lot more versatility to Linehan’s playbook than Romo.

    • Brian Martin

      It is definitely going to be interesting to see if the offense will change very much now that Prescott has a full year under his belt and an off-season to prepare.

      • deal with it

        I think the only real difference is,he’ll be under Center more from the beginning,maybe more use of a 2nd T.E. if Gathers has a good camp,& possibly more running himself but that depends on schedule & who our backup QB’s actually end up being.
        I know he can run,is big,& tough but I’m pretty sure we want to preserve him as much as possible- like my Dad told me as a kid concerning work-“Son,your brain will last a lot longer than your body”. evidently noone in Dallas ever told Romo that………

  • TreFKennedy88

    Truth Brian, I think Dak throws at least 4200 yards, 25-30 td’s and 6-7 ints, we have a baby Aaron Rodgers on our hands

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t think he’s going to air it out that much, especially with the way the Cowboys have focused on running the football. I think his numbers will improve, but maybe not as much as you predict.

  • George_Johnson

    I agree with everything you said. I do worry about such things as a sophomore slump, defenses adjusting to his strengths/weaknesses, the offensive and/or defensive teams not being as successful as last year, and Linehan adding too much to the playbook which actually decreases his effectiveness.

    • Brian Martin

      George, your worries are justifiable, but Prescott had a lot on his plate last season and excelled. I don’t see any reason why he won’t do so once again. He just seems to have that mentality to take things as they come and succeed regardless.

  • dallas1966

    Brian, excellent article. Dak, will improve by leaps and bounds, because, he will always have a chip on his shoulders, as being slighted by 32 NFL Teams, until the 4th round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

    After, it’s all said and done, Dak will go down in Cowboys folklore as one of the greatest quarterbacks, drafted in the 4th round.

    Dak, will be bringing home the Lombardi Trophy back to Big D, numerous times, before his career is over, in the same breath as Tom Brady.

    • Brian Martin

      That’s some high praise, but I’m not ready to anoint him yet. There are areas of his game that he can still improve, but his arrow is definitely pointing upwards.

  • Russ_Te

    Dak’s maturity & ability to attack NFL defenses right out of the box like he had faced them for years, was more amazing than him being that good physically and still falling to Round 4.

    As Brian mentioned one of his strengths is to take things as they come and stay level headed. Getting a promotion to the top job in sports & running off the old occupant, might test the ego some. He’s got to stay off that. Don’t read the media, keep watching film and making that next improvement that Linehan tells him to get after.

    While it was hard for fans to see an issue at all with it, Dak will with each year gain more of a grasp of what defenses are doing. His numbers will improve for years as long as the talent around him is kept up.

    A common misnomer last year was that Dak didn’t throw deep – not true. But if you consider that Butler was re-signed and Dez is healthy, and Linehan wants tweaks to stay ahead of DC’s, there probably will be more of an attempt to stretch the field and challenge DB’s for deep plays.

    RT is an issue, but with upside. We should get somebody better in pass block than Free was.

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Report: Austin Heading to IR: Deonte Thompson is the Next Man Up

John Williams

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Wide Receiver Deonte Thompson Making Preseason Debut Vs. Cardinals

Tavon Austin's stint with the Dallas Cowboys has been up and down through six games. He's provided some big play ability on the outside, but hasn't really had the running room on jet sweeps that the Dallas Cowboys would have hoped for when they acquired Austin from the Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 NFL Draft.

Now it's being reported by Brandon George from the Dallas Morning News that Austin may be headed to injured reserve for a groin tear suffered in the Dallas Cowboys week six win over the Jaguars.

Brandon George on Twitter

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said WR Tavon Austin will be getting a second opinion on his injured right groin in the next day or so. He didn't discount possibility of him being placed on injured reserve.

 

Whether Austin goes to injured reserve or not remains to be seen, but we do know that he'll miss week seven and likely won't be able to suit up for a while. Though Austin hasn't been relied upon much, he has been a threat that opposing defenses have had to account for in both the passing and running game. Tavon Austin leaves a bit of a hole.

Enter Deonte Thompson.

Deonte Thompson, who was signed by the Dallas Cowboys this past offseason, hasn't been the same type of rushing threat that Austin has been in his NFL career. Thompson's only carried the ball two times in his career for -5 yards. However, Thompson has some skills that could bode well should the Dallas Cowboys decide to use him in the jet sweep role that Austin is vacating.

He's been a return threat in his NFL career, averaging 24.8 yards per return. He's had returns of 47, 64, and 74 yards. He's also had some good moments running after the catch in his career, though he hasn't gotten many opportunities.

Thompson's a former track athlete and before the 2012 NFL Draft ran a 4.30 40 yard dash. He has the speed and a bit more size than Austin to make some things happen if given the opportunities.

The jet sweep has become an important staple in the Dallas Cowboys offense. Even when they don't hand it off on the sweep, they use it in play action, to set up screens, and even to get the defense thinking about it on direct hand offs to Ezekiel Elliott. They aren't going to want to scrap that part of the playbook just because Austin will be sitting out. Deonte Thompson can be that guy. Much like Marquise Goodwin in San Francisco, Thompson has elite speed.

He's not just football fast. He's fast-fast.

When I was in high school, I played baseball. In the baseball program I was fast. The fastest on the team. That was my game. Infield singles. Stretching doubles to triples. Stealing bases. I was fast. I went out for track my senior season because I thought, "hey I'm fast, let's see what would happen if I ran the 100-meter-dash." I found out really quickly that there is a difference between baseball fast and track fast.

The same applies to football and track. Deonte Thompson is track fast. He's a guy that the Dallas Cowboys need to get the ball to on those jet sweeps to continue to threaten defenses sideline to sideline. When it's working, as we've seen with Lucky Whitehead in the past and Tavon Austin this year, it opens up a lot for the Dallas Cowboys offense.

It's likely that Cole Beasley gets those first jet sweep attempts, and as a trusted veteran for the Dallas Cowboys, he probably should. But, if Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan want to continue to use the jet sweep to the offense's maximum benefit, they need to start showing it with Deonte Thompson. He has the speed to get to the corner and take it to the end zone from any where on the field.

Here's an example of what Thompson can do with the ball in his hands.

NFL on Twitter

109 YARDS TO THE HOUSE!!! Deonte Thompson returns the missed field goal and runs it all the way back for a @ChicagoBears TD! #CHIvsAZ https://t.co/k9IfkZMoIY

 

With Tavon Austin set to be out -- possibly for the season -- it's time to see what Deonte Thompson can do. The Dallas Cowboys need to get a win here to get above .500 for the first time this season and set themselves up to make a run at the divisional crown. Deonte Thompson's ability with the ball in his hands will give them a good opportunity to do just that.



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Michael Gallup Showing Signs of a Breakout

John Williams

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Cowboys Roster: Dallas Made Right Decisions on Unproven Skill Players

We're only six games into the career of Rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup who was selected 81st overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft. It's been a slow start to his career, mostly because of usage. On Sunday, he took a step toward what many thought he could be for the Cowboys when he was drafted; Wide receiver one.

The numbers, one reception on two targets for 27 yards, may not indicate a breakout is coming, but if you look at the two targets he saw and the quality of the corner he faced, they're more impressive.

Marcus Mosher on Twitter

Look at this catch by #Cowboys rookie WR Michael Gallup https://t.co/lD1xJ2WemD

On the Dallas Cowboys first drive of the day, Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott looked Michael Gallup's way down the left sideline and hit him on a nice back shoulder fade that looked an awful lot like a Dez Bryant-like contested catch. It was a key play on 3rd-and-9 to get the Dallas Cowboys into Jacksonville territory on a drive that led to a Brett Maher field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Later in the game with the Cowboys driving to score a touchdown, Gallup made a tremendous catch when he got perfect depth behind All-Pro Corner Back A.J. Bouye and in front of the safety help. It looked to be an impressive touchdown catch just inside the end zone, but was overturned on replay. On review, Gallup wasn't able to get his second foot down after he made contact with the defender. Though the touchdown didn't stand, it was an impressive effort for Michael Gallup.

Jordan Schultz on Twitter

Michael Gallup with a near circus catch to ALMOST haul in his first NFL TD. Ruled incomplete. #cowboys #jags @CSUFootball https://t.co/SePSc3n1Yp

Michael Gallup led the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver group in snaps (81% of the offensive snaps) on Sunday, and according to Mike Clay from ESPN, he led the Dallas Cowboys in routes run as well. Both of Gallup's targets came against Bouye, showing an ability to beat one of the best corners in the NFL.

Mike Clay on Twitter

Michael Gallup paced the Cowboys in pass routes (25) for the first time in his career on Sunday.

As Michael Gallup sees more opportunities to play, his opportunities to make plays are going to continue to grow. With news coming down that Tavon Austin is unlikely to play for several weeks because of a groin injury, more snaps are opening up at the wide receiver position. Tavon played 18 snaps before getting injured on Sunday, so there will be increased opportunities for Gallup moving forward.

Gallup's only seen about 3 targets a game, but with the increased snaps he saw in week six and the potential for even more with Austin coming, the opportunities should grow. As he continues to come down with impressive catches like he did on Sunday (even if only one of them counted), it's going to increase Dak Prescott's and the coaching staff's level of trust in the rookie.

It's safe to say that more big time catches are coming for Michael Gallup and a breakout is coming sooner than later.



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Oakland Raiders’ Wide Receiver Amari Cooper On the Trade Block

John Williams

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Oakland Raiders' Wide Receiver Amari Cooper On the Trade Block

Aside from Wide Receiver Cole Beasley, the Dallas Cowboys haven't received much production from their wide receiver group outside of the occasional big play from fellow wide outs Michael Gallup or Tavon Austin. Well, the Oakland Raiders apparently are willing to listen to offers for Wide Receiver Amari Cooper and, according to Michael Rapaport, are asking for a first round draft pick in return.

Allan Bell on Twitter

Raiders want a first round pick for Amari Cooper, per @RapSheet.

 

The Dallas Cowboys could use someone with Cooper's ability, even if he has been a drop machine through his first four seasons. In his first two seasons in the NFL, 2015 and 2016, Cooper averaged 77 receptions on 131 targets, for 1,111.5 yards, and 5.5 touchdowns. Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Cooper averaged 11 drops a season, including 18 in his rookie season.

Any time you start a discussion about whether you should trade for someone, the question always begins with "what are you paying?" What would you be willing to pay for Amari Cooper? After back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to start his career, he only went for 680 yards in 14 games (48.6 yards per game). Though the yardage wasn't great last year, he did catch seven touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders.

So far in 2018, Cooper is averaging 46.7 yards per game on 3.67 receptions per game and has only scored one touchdown.

I wouldn't send a top 60 pick for Amari Cooper. He's a good player, but is he better than what Michael Gallup could be? Because if you trade for Cooper he's going to likely eat into Gallup's snap count and we need to find out if Michal Gallup is a player that the Dallas Cowboys could rely on in the future. But, if the Cowboys coaching staff brought Cooper in to replace Allen Hurns, then I'd be very happy to talk about acquiring the former first round draft choice.

A starting wide receiver group of Cole Beasley, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup would be a very difficult group to cover and Quarterback Dak Prescott showed on Sunday that he has what it takes to get the ball down field to his receivers.

The Cowboys probably wouldn't make this trade, unless Jerry Jones got involved, because they value their draft picks too much, but if the Dallas Cowboys could get him for a third round pick I'd do it in a heart beat. For a second round pick, I'd have to get a fifth or sixth back from Oakland in that deal. Cooper's a good player, but hasn't shown to be one of the best at his position.

There are a couple other players from Oakland that I'm more interested in trading for.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

What do you think? Would you trade for Amari Cooper, and if so, what would you be willing to give?

 



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