Cowboys offense evolves, but for Dak Prescott these are plays of last resort
FRISCO, Texas — With so many reliable offensive options, Dak Prescott is not exactly looking to tuck and run.
But as was evident in the Dallas Cowboys’ 36-28 win last week against the Carolina Panthers, Prescott is not adverse to taking what is available. In fact, that is exactly how the Cowboys’ high-octane offense is designed to work when it’s firing on all cylinders. It has been able to do that through all four of this season’s games, even in the 31-29 loss to the Bucs in Week 1.
“He’s finding the weak spots in the defenses and attacking them,” Prescott said of offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Prescott rushed for 35 yards on four rushes last week, the majority of those yards gained as a last resort. “He’s finding different ways to get us all involved using our strengths and I’ve said it time again, y’all haven’t seen it all and I don’t know if we’ll ever see it all because his mind’s always rolling like that. He’s bringing up new things and adding new tricks to the plays that are only going to help.”
Prescott, of course, is back after missing the last 11 games in 2020 when he fractured his right ankle against the New York Giants in Week 5 on a play when he tried to extend a run. The Cowboys (3-1) host the Giants (1-3) at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
“It’s about durability right now. It’s about being there for your team,” he said. “And being healthy and being able to be at your best. That is where the whole risk vs. reward comes into play.”
His performance in 2021 has shown no limitations to his game, however, especially when he takes off running. But as a six-year veteran, Prescott knows his keepers should remain plays of last resort.
“Get what I need to and get down and get out of bounds,” he said of his philosophy when he’s forced to run. “When it presents itself I am going to take it, obviously. The first one [last week] I had to make a guy miss and I realized I could get some more yards.”
Prescott said he was trying to figure how many yards he needed before heading for the sideline. Another example last week came on fourth down.
“[The Panthers] had done a great job in coverage. But any time you got man coverage, no one is accounting for the quarterback, usually,” he said. “Once again, I got out and went and got as much as I could and got out of bounds.”
Prescott and Moore have grown together, he said, and their shared experience — along with explosive options such as Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb — have led to what we’re seeing on the field so far in 2021.
“That [experience] allows us to make in-game adjustments, fix things and roll off that, something we did earlier in the game to come back and make it a big play later in the game,” Prescott said. “I think that’s just experience from Kellen all the way down to all the people who have been in this offense. We’ve had a lot of time on task and have grown together.”
Prescott said as he’s matured in the NFL and in the wake of the injury, he’s learned to pick his spots to keep the ball.
“It’s the time of missing 11 games last year that allows you know the importance of which play or what situation you are in to go and get those yards as opposed to going and getting those yards and taking a hit,” he said. “Or throwing the ball away. My whole deal is not creating negative plays. I am going to do that as much as I can. And get a positive play and protect myself.”