Dak Prescott is at a defining moment in his career. After playing a shockingly amazing rookie season for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, 2017 presented multiple challenges for the quarterback who took the starting job from Tony Romo.
Now, heading into his third year in the NFL, it's time for Dak to prove what he's all about. By the numbers, one could say Prescott regressed a bit during the 2017 season. However, the factors that go in when evaluating a quarterback are way more than simple stats.
2017 was not a good year for the Cowboys. While missing some key players should not be an excuse at all, we can't deny that Dak was in a very tough spot in his second NFL season. Specifically when it came to playing without his star running back Ezekiel Elliott and his blind-side guardian Tyron Smith.
Cowboys Nation has high expectations for the young quarterback, but that shouldn't bother Dak. Truth be told, nobody sets the bar higher for him than himself. Just last Thursday, he said he wants to be the greatest quarterback to ever wear the Star.
@Dak has big goals.
For some Cowboys fans, who have had the great opportunity of watching Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman take the field, this comes as a complicated objective for Prescott. But it sure would be amazing to see him establish himself as just that in his career.
This is exactly the attitude any quarterback in the NFL should have. If the objective is not be the best, be a champion and be the greatest to ever play, they're doing it wrong. Dak not only says he wants to be the best QB in Dallas Cowboys history, but he acts like it.
His work ethic and his leadership have shown us the best of him and will continue to do so further in his career. Since his rookie season, we've known how special he is. Not any rookie quarterback finds himself in thriller shootouts versus Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers to come back in the last second and win the game.
The loss to the Green Bay Packers in the 2016 was one of the most painful defeats in recent history, but Dak leading the Cowboys to come back from a 21-3 scoreboard to tie the game at 28 is proof enough of how special he actually is.
While it's not contract year for Dak Prescott yet, he could very well earn himself a big-time extension if he has a very good 2018 season. This could be the money year for #4.
But for him to be considered the greatest Dallas Cowboys QB to play the game it's clear there's something else he needs to accomplish. Something that, despite the fact that he was a great player, Tony Romo never had the chance to do.
The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the most successful teams in the NFL, holding five Lombardi Trophies. But that was a long time ago, and the younger portion of Cowboys Nation still doesn't know what it feels like to see their team become the NFL champions.
The team has hope in Dak Prescott to become the player who finally puts an end to a playoff drought that's lasted more than two decades. It's time for it to end. And for Dak Prescott to fulfill his desire of becoming the best QB in franchise history, bringing more rings to Dallas is a must.
Kicker Matt Bryant Should Be the Final Piece of Cowboys 2019 Offseason
The draft is done, DeMarcus Lawrence is re-signed, and the bulk of free agency activity has passed. The 2019 Dallas Cowboys have more than enough talent to compete this season, but there is still one last move I'd wish they'd make. Veteran kicker Matt Bryant, still one of the NFL's best even at almost 44 years old, could be the final piece to this offseason puzzle.
The Atlanta Falcons' longtime kicker, and franchise scoring leader, was not retained this year despite another standout season. He made 20-of-21 field goals, with a long of 57, in 2018.
Why Atlanta didn't keep Bryant hasn't been confirmed, but perhaps the team was just looking to avoid hanging on one year to late. But Matt, who ranks eight all-time in FG accuracy (86.2%), doesn't think he's done. He tweeted the following from his personal account in February:
"Over this past year I’ve been asked numerous times about retirement and how I feel. Well, I’m not retiring and I feel fine and plan on feeling even better with some changes to my offseason program!
As of now Matt Bryant remains a free agent, and I think the Dallas Cowboys should be very interested.
If you go up and down this Dallas roster, kicker is arguably its biggest liability. Brett Maher had some highlight moments in 2018, and won two Player of the Week awards, but he also was one of the league's worst kickers in overall FG accuracy.
The problem with Maher is that you can't teach his best skill; the accuracy from the high 50s and even low 60s is incredible. It's a true weapon that you have a hard time letting go of, which was evident last year when Dallas dumped Dan Bailey for Maher at final cuts.
But Matt Bryant might be the best of both worlds. He's been a 91% FG kicker overall this last three years and has made 18-of-22 attempts from 50 yards out or more.
Maher only made 80.6% of his kicks in 2018. He went from 6/7 from long range, but that tells you how shaky he was from closer in.
Those closer kicks are worth the same three points that the longer ones are, and how'd you like it if Dallas lost a critical game because their kicker couldn't make a 35-yarder?
I get the fear factor with an older guy like Matt Bryant. Heck, the Cowboys let Dan Bailey go when he was still just 30. But Bryant hasn't shown the red flags that Bailey did; he's still kicking as well as he ever has.
If nothing else, Dallas has the cap space and circumstances to bring in Bryant for a true competition with Maher. If Brett has improved his game and keeps his job, then that's awesome. But why not add some pressure now, though a position battle with one of the all-time greats, and see what Maher's really made of?
Seasons have been made, and shattered, by one kick. Unless the Cowboys have good reason for confidence in Brett Maher's development from last year, they could be carrying a significant liability into a year where they're trying to push for a Super Bowl.
If Matt Bryant could provide even a small amount of additional security, isn't he worth it?
Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend
Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.
One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.
Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.
A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.
Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.
If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.
The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.
Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.
This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.
Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.
But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.
Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Graduating From Notre Dame
The 2019 season is right around the corner for the Dallas Cowboys, with OTA's and training camp getting ready to kickoff in the coming weeks/months.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith made the most of his offseason, going back to Notre Dame to finish out his college degree. Smith is set to graduate from Notre Dame this Saturday, and will walk to earn his degree in Film & Television.
Smith talked to DallasCowboys.com's David Helman about why it was so important for him to graduate and finish what he started at Notre Dame.
“When I left after my junior year, I promised my mom that I would go back and finish...Finishing my third year with the Cowboys, it was time.” - Jaylon Smith
2,025 @NotreDame undergraduates will receive degrees during Commencement Weekend. That contingent includes @thejaylonsmith Yes, the current @dallascowboys & former @NDFootball All-American linebacker, who took 21 credits this spring #4for40 #GraduatingChampions #CEV
Smith continues his leadership on and off the field, and we all send our congratulations to the Cowboys starting MIKE linebacker!
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