Jerry Jones relishes the idea of a quarterback controversy with his Dallas Cowboys. And signs point that one is coming sooner than later.
Rookie Dak Prescott continued to impress against his toughest test yet, dissecting the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense in a 28-14 victory Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.
Prescott finished 18-of-24 passing for 227 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and a 117.9 passer rating. He has posted a 100.0 or better rating in the past four games, the longest such streak by a rookie in franchise history.
He has not been intercepted in 155 pass attempts to start his career, only seven attempts shy of tying Tom Brady’s record of 162 to start a career.
Prescott also had a rushing touchdown in improving the team’s record to 4-1, a franchise record for wins by a rookie quarterback.
All of it has left people wondering whether Prescott isn’t the best option at quarterback for the team even when Tony Romo has recovered from a compression fracture in his lower back that will keep him sidelined until at least the Oct. 30 game against Philadelphia.
“I will tell you this is a wonderful position if you’re in my shoes,” Jones said. “To have Dak playing at the level that he is and know that Tony’s repaired ... we’re pretty good at quarterback as far as normal times for the Cowboys.”
Jones fielded multiple questions on the subject and eventually said: “Tony is our No. 1 quarterback.”
Jones said Romo will undergo a MRI exam Monday and expects it to show that Romo’s back is fully healed.
In the meantime, Prescott is doing what few thought he would coming into the league as a fourth-round draft pick out of Mississippi State.
“He’s able to play fast, he’s able to play poised, he’s able to read progressions and then he can put the ball on the money,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “To see a rookie do that is extremely impressive. It usually takes a couple years for quarterbacks to be able to do that.”
Prescott led the Cowboys on three consecutive touchdown drives to open the game. He completed his only pass attempt on the first drive, as fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line established the running game early on.
On the Cowboys’ next possession, Prescott went 4-of-5 passing and capped it off with a perfect zone-read run from 5 yards out.
Prescott followed that up with an impressive eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley.
At this point, does anything that Prescott does surprise his teammates?
“No,” Beasley said. “The guy has made so many exceptional plays you almost expect it now. You expect him to make a crazy play a game or something like that. He’s a great quarterback, and [I’m] just glad to be out there with him.”
Added left tackle Tyron Smith: “I’m just proud of the kid. He’s showing what he can do every week and he’s getting better every week. He’s mature about everything he does.”
For his part, Prescott is still saying the right things and doesn’t feel he’s exceeded expectations. He praised the offensive line, Elliott and the coaching staff for putting him in the right situations.
His only real blemish this season has been a fumble he lost on a sack Sunday. That marked his only turnover in 321 snaps.
“I beat myself up on it a little bit, but we’ll go get it fixed, whatever it is,” Prescott said. “I’ll go watch film and we’ll figure it out.”
That is a typical statement from Prescott, who prides himself in being prepared. It’s shown through the first five games and he’s created plenty of buzz about what the Cowboys might do when Romo is ready to return.
Coach Jason Garrett danced around the question afterward.
“The biggest things we try to focus on is what each of us has to do to be our best each day,” Garrett said. “Tony is working very hard on his rehab and he’s making progress. Dak’s done a really good job taking advantage of the opportunity. I think our team has embraced Dak.
“He’s come in and done what we’ve asked him to do. He executes ball plays, so he’s focused on that. Tony’s focused on coming back. We’ll process this game quickly and then get on to the Packers before you know it.”