Owner Jerry Jones said the Dallas Cowboys are extremely confident they can win games with rookie quarterback Dak Prescott starting place of the injured Tony Romo.
Romo is expected to miss at least six game with a fractured back. He missed 12 games last year and the Cowboys went 1-11 with three different quarterbacks starting in his place, including Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassell and Kellen Moore.
It was Weeden who came into the season as the team’s primary backup quarterback and based on that standard, Jones said the Cowboys are light years of head of where they were in 2015. He said Prescott has already shown to be better than Weeden ever was, despite a seemingly inferior resume as arookie fourth-round pick compared to a former first-round pick who had started games in the NFL before.
“Well, we’re just pleased with what Dak has been,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan. “Actually, when we did use Weeden last year, we were dealing with a more seasoned player. We were dealing with one that had started games. We were dealing with a player that was a first-round pick. We were dealing with a player that had really more credentials if you will. But he hadn’t played as well as Dak has played at any point since getting in the NFL. So, we are buoyed by the fact that Dak has played well in preseason. We all know the limitation of getting overly committed or overly enthused because of preseason. But Dak has shown his ability to compete at this level. And we’ll see. I know the coaches, his teammates, everybody is fully sold on him. And that’s a big plus.”
Prescott was the league’s best quarterback in the preseason, throwing five touchdown passes and rushing for two more in three games. He had a quarterback rating of 137.8.
The Cowboys believe they can win because they believe in what Prescott has done. But they also are believers because they have a different mindset than they did a year ago when they waited on Romo and receiver Dez Bryant to return from injuries.
Jones said the team has learned from last year. It is heading into the season focusing on winning with Prescott and not hoping to get by until Romo returns.
“I’d say that the experience we went through last year in not having Romo and not having Dez,” Jones said. “It has conditioned us mentally. And it’s all know what’s coming and we all know how important it is to approach this thing in a certain way. And that way is, look, he’s who we have. And we want to make that win with his skill set with his experience limited as it is we still have to figure a way to come out of here with a win. If I have any criticism, which I have many of last year of how we all handled last year, it is that we had this idea that help was coming. Let’s just get by. I don’t know that we really had it. Our team competed really hard all year long. But, still, we want to be sure we look at last year and try to make something positive of it as we deal with our quarterback situation.”
Jones said Prescott will not have a short leash. They are all in with him. And while they brought in veteran Mark Sanchez to have a veteran option, the goal is not have to play Sanchez at all.
“There’s no leash on Dak. There’s no leash on him,” Jones said. “Heck, he’s in. He’s going to be playing. We’re very comfortable with him. There’s no short leash. There’s no long leash. We got us a player we hope can win the ballgame for us.”