LOS ANGELES – “I said it on draft night,’’ Dez Bryant told me Saturday night after Rams 28, Cowboys 24 in preseason game 1 at the LA Coliseum. “I told coaches: This Dak is special.’’
“This Dak’’ is Rayne Dakota Prescott, a fourth-round rookie who 14 days ago was not thought to be good enough to serve as Tony Romo’s caddie and Dallas’ No. 2 QB … but now, is.
This was a “Preseason Super Bowl’’ for a lot of reasons, including a nationally-televised exhibition opener recording the NFL’s return to LA after a 45-year absence. But to Prescott, it was just another game…or even, just another practice. Just another day at the office in front of 89,000 people, the largest preseason crowd in U.S. history.
“I surprisingly wasn’t nervous,” Prescott said. “I didn’t know if that was bad or not, me not being nervous, but when you have great players around you, and you get to go out there with the 1’s, it makes the game a little easier.”
So the Cowboys haven’t developed a legit backup QB in 14 years…but suddenly, in 14 days, they’ve developed not only Prescott but also Jameill Showers, who looked cool in relief of Prescott’s near-perfect outing? “I think the best thing about Dak is that he is extremely calm,” Bryant said. “It’s like he’s been here before. He’s not playing like a rookie. He is going to be very good; he’s special. Having him behind Tony, a future Hall-of-Famer, that’s a blessing.”
So Dallas is done with the notion of trading for a veteran QB? Well, if it costs a third-or-fourth-round pick like we hear Cleveland was asking for Josh McCown, yeah, probably.
This was going to be Kellen Moore’s job until he broke his ankle. But even before that unfortunate occurrence, there were doubts. Would Dallas have a capable bus driver at QB should Romo go down, as a 36-year-old quarterback just might do?
Here, Prescott completed 10-of-12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns with the two incompletions coming on drops by tight end Geoff Swaim. Two of the completions went to Bryant, and both were beauties, including a 10-yard touchdown. Prescott also dropped a gorgeous pass into the TD-waiting grasp of Terrance Williams, and on top of all that, looked calm in recording a 14-yard run to set up a field goal.
This wasn’t a win for the team (as if that matters). This was a win for the organization, though, and for Prescott, who has labeled himself a “winner’’ and clearly is developing that same reputation with his new teammates.
“I just went out there with a clear mind,’’ Prescott said, “and had fun.’’ The Cowboys have made developing a young QB look so hard. “Clear mind’’ and “fun?” Cowboys Nation hopes this time, is really is that easy.