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Reliving Dak Prescott’s NFL Debut In LA

Sean Martin

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Reliving Dak Prescott's Preseason Debut In LA

The future of the Dallas Cowboys was altered greatly on August 14th, 2016 as rookie QB Dak Prescott made his NFL preseason debut in the bright lights of the Los Angeles Coliseum against the returning LA Rams. Football was back in the city of angels this night, but so was America's Team - and not because of Tony Romo.

With Romo harmlessly sitting out the first of Dallas' four preseason contests, Prescott took full advantage of the opportunity in front of him, elevated to QB2 in training camp after Kellen Moore suffered a broken leg.

Prescott attempted just 12 passes, completing ten of them for 139 yards and two touchdowns, but even re-watching this game last night captured the magic that Dak put together with some surreal accuracy, poise, comfort level, and confidence as the quarterback for the Cowboys.

With the Cowboys back in LA on Saturday, I thought I would help all of Cowboys Nation relive the moment that this 135th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft emerged as the eventual NFC East winning quarterback.

Beasley_First_Down - Streamable

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Early on, Prescott's connection to Cole Beasley looked in mid-season form as Dak comfortably targeted #11 on plays dialed up by Scott Linehan very similar to the throws he was asked to complete in the spread at Mississippi State. Even still, it is the decisiveness and dead-accurate throw from Dak that jumped off the tape in his first game and foreshadowed a career year for slot receiver Cole Beasley in 2016.

Beasley_Middle_Catch - Streamable

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Hitting Beasley in stride again here, Prescott quickly made the world forget he was just a rookie expected to take a red shirt season on ESPN by reading the linebacker against Geoff Swaim up the field before knowing the football should go to Cole. I can't remember ever turning on the tape to study a player and being as excited while watching as I was viewing the game live, but even seeing simple plays like these again had me on the edge of my seat.

Butler_Sideline_Catch - Streamable

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Dak proved pretty quickly as well that there was more to his game than the short and intermediate reads, as he not only hit on two memorable deep throws for touchdowns, but drove the ball with strength and accuracy to the likes of Brice Butler above. Play action passes like these became a key element to the Cowboys' offense in 2016, not just because of Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line but because of Prescott's ability to sell his fakes, climb the pocket, and deliver the ball with zip.

Seven quarterbacks were drafted before Dak Prescott, for those scoring at home.

Another surreal part of rewinding to the tape of this game was seeing players no longer with the Cowboys make an impact. Fortunately for Dak Prescott, the Dallas offense will have a scary amount of continuity carrying over into his sophomore season, but there was still plenty of Darius Jackson, Lucky Whitehead, and of course the forever-awkward imagery of Tony Romo with a headset on the sidelines.

Bryant_TD - Streamable

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The above moment might as well have cemented #4 as a fixture for the Cowboys for years to come though, as Dak nailed the back shoulder throw to Dez Bryant - who hauled in both Prescott's first preseason TD and regular season score against the Bears.

This touchdown is best described as electric, as the buzz of Prescott driving the Cowboys down the field right from the start of this game had silver and blue minds running wild with imagination - salivating at the very fact that the Cowboys were back on TV. A touchdown to Dez Bryant on a spectacular catch was a euphoric moment.

Williams_TD - Streamable

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Rational thought was very likely nowhere to be found in Cowboys Nation as Prescott's magic unfolded into the second quarter, but the amazing thing about this performance was how much room he showed for further development. Improvement would become evident with Prescott after each and every week, as he'll likely tell you himself this touchdown strike to Terrance Williams needed to be led farther into the end zone to hit Williams in stride.

However, I let the tape roll after the reception to show some emotion from Dak - who was otherwise just cool, calm, and collected on this night and every Sunday for the Cowboys. It was almost as if, in this moment, Dak Prescott realized that all he needed to do was give his guys a chance to make plays and they would come through for him - something this cast of receivers did to the tune of 13 wins and a division title a year ago.

Smith_Screen - Streamable

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It is likely that Dak Prescott will see some action again against the Rams to start his 2017 preseason on Saturday night after sitting out the Hall of Fame game. Nothing he can do will be able to top his jaw dropping NFL debut, but Prescott has publicly set very high goals for himself and his team this season.

A year later from the LA Coliseum, it is time for the very same Dak Prescott to make good on performing to these standards - and is there anyone really doubting him now?

Tell us what you think about "Reliving Dak Prescott’s NFL Debut In LA" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Can we Believe General Manager Jerry Jones?

Entre los aficionados de los Dallas Cowboys, pocas cosas son criticadas tan frecuentemente como la administración de la franquicia que no ha ganado ningún Super Bowl en más de dos décadas. Se ha convertido en un equipo que, a pesar de ser el más valioso en el mundo deportivo, no ha sido nada relevante en el emparrillado. Lo que alguna vez fue una dinastía se ha convertido en una unidad que rompe frecuentemente los corazones de los fans.

Jerry Jones y Stephen Jones, siendo los operadores del ámbito deportivo del negocio familiar, son criticados semana tras semana y en gran parte por justa razón. Pero en gran parte, por cosas no muy válidas.

Cambios de Coach

A mi parecer, lo más criticable para la administración de este equipo viene cuando hablamos de los coaches. Muchos se burlan de los Cincinnati Bengals y de la manera en la que están atascados con el Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Con Jason Garrett al volante, la situación para los Cowboys no es nada diferente.

A mediados de la temporada 2018, no parece que esta narrativa vaya a cambiar. Una vez más, los Cowboys arrancaron de una manera muy inconsistente y ya no sabemos que esperar de ellos. Gran parte de las derrotas, la mayor parte, es el coacheo.

Sin duda el equipo no será exactamente el mismo en 2019, pero ¿serán suficientes los cambios como para decidir quedarse con el mismo capitán que no ha podido mantener el barco navegando por años?

El Draft

A diferencia de como se manejan muchos equipos en la liga, los Jones fungen como general managers de su propio equipo. Con la ayuda de Will McClay han logrado superar varios de los fracasos de los Jones de antaño, pero actualmente, siendo sinceros no han hecho un mal trabajo.

A pesar de las critícas de Abril, Leighton Vander Esch está probando haber valido más que la pena. Siendo objetivos, aparte de Taco Charlton en el 2017, todas las selecciones de primera ronda de los Cowboys han sido valiosas. La línea ofensiva, el corredor, un cornerback que por fin se está perfilando como uno de los mejores en la liga.

En cuanto a la segunda ronda, ha habido varias críticas, muchas con razón. Pero el mejor caza cabezas del equipo, DeMarcus Lawrence, el linebacker Jaylon Smith, Randy Gregory y más están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte en el equipo.

Decisiones difíciles

La administración se ha visto en la necesidad de tomar decisiones bastante difíciles después de una temporada de nueve victorias en 2017. El LB Anthony Hitchens fue liberado, Dan Bailey se fue inesperadamente, se confió en Byron Jones para tomar su opción de quinto año.

Hasta ahora, pura decisión digna de aplaudirse. Pero ninguna como la más reciente de todas: Amari Cooper.

Por más caro que haya salido, los Cowboys merecen bastante crédito por haber mejorado muchísimo su posición de WR. Si el equipo llega a tener una oportunidad esta temporada, será en gran parte por él.

No cabe ninguna duda en mi cabeza de que los Jones han cometido errores a lo largo de los años, el más evidente siendo la resistencia de dejar ir a Jason Garrett. Pero a pesar de esto, la administración ha tomado excelentes decisiones y ha realizado el draft muy bien. En ese aspecto en específico, les aplaudo.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Evaluando la Administración" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Star Blog

Sack Numbers Don’t Tell DeMarcus Lawrence’s 2018 Story

Kevin Brady

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Breaking Down DeMarcus Lawrence's League High 5.5 Sacks Through Week 4

Coming off of a career year in 2017, many fans expected DeMarcus Lawrence to continue his ridiculous sack production this season. After all, he is once again in a "contract year" due to the franchise tag, and fans are hoping the Cowboys can secure him longterm this offseason.

Through the first four games of 2018, Lawrence looked as ridiculous and unstoppable as ever. He had 5.5 sacks, tied for the league lead, and was dictating the pass protection schemes of every offense the Cowboys were facing.

Since that hot start, though, DeMarcus Lawrence has recorded just 1 sack, falling behind some of the league leaders he was once ahead of. This has some people scratching their heads and wondering if Lawrence's career year in 2017 was just that, a career year. One which he will never replicate again, and one which the Cowboys should factor out when talking contract extensions.

Here's why those people are wrong.

Let's first talk about what makes DeMarcus Lawrence so good, and then we'll get into the full context of the Cowboys defense and how that explains some of the drop in sacks.

Lawrence, unlike some of the league's other top pass rushers, is a complete 4-3 defensive end. He is one of, if not the best run defending defensive ends in football, as shown by his 12 tackles for loss on the season (only Aaron Donald and Danielle Hunter have more).

Much of the year, the Cowboys run defense has boiled down to Lawrence making splash plays, as we saw against the Washington Redskins. Adrian Peterson was gashing the Cowboys during that game, and the only one who did anything to stop him was DeMarcus Lawrence, as indicated by his 3 tackles for loss that Sunday.

There's also the point that 6.5 sacks through half the season is, well, good. It's really good! And when you couple his sack numbers with his solid pressure and QB hit stats, you can see that Lawrence is having a very good season.

Then there is the context of this entire Cowboys defense, specifically their defensive line and pass rush. To put it bluntly, DeMarcus Lawrence has been their only consistent rusher this season. Though we came into the year with high hopes for Randy Gregory, and cautious optimism about first round pick Taco Charlton, neither have been all that impressive this season.

Somebody, anybody, has to step up and become a threat opposite of Lawrence. David Irving could help matters with his interior pass rush ability, but he has been unavailable for basically the entire season.

Without another pass rusher for offense's to even think twice about, Lawrence is getting double teamed and/or chipped by a tight end or running back on just about every rush. It's becoming rare that Lawrence is in a true one-on-one pass rush situation.

Of course, if you are elite, offenses are going to shift protections to you in this way and you still have to find ways to be productive.

And thus far in 2018, DeMarcus Lawrence is doing just that.



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Star Blog

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin

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Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?



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