You gotta believe in Dak Prescott, high school coaches say
Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson only won three games as a starting quarterback, but has fond memories of his initial victory.
It happened on Oct. 10, 1999 against the Dallas Cowboys.
“The next week was like, you couldn’t do anything wrong,” Pederson said. “Everybody was on a high. The community, the city was on a high.
“It’s definitely a good time.”
Yes, the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry is among the best in the NFL and it has signs of being that way for years to come.
Everyone within both organizations only see it getting better with each team entering new quarterback eras with budding superstars in Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz.
“This rivalry is going to be good, really good, for a long time,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “Those are two pros. They’re talented, have great instincts, intangibles that you want, and even better than that they’re great leaders. Good people. They work at it. They study it, constantly trying to get better.
“It’s great for our game to have young players at that position that approach it that way, so it’s going to be a great rivalry. There’ll be some great matchups between those two as the years come.”
The next matchup happens Sunday night.
Here’s a look at the two quarterbacks and what others are saying about them.
Prescott and Wentz will forever be linked together as 2016 draft classmates and have similar stories of being overlooked at parts of their career.
Prescott had a standout college career in the Southeastern Conference — who else can say they put Mississippi State football on the map? — but pro scouts were worried about him transitioning to the NFL and he slipped to the fourth round.
Wentz wasn’t overlooked as the second overall pick, but had been earlier in his football career when he ended up at North Dakota State, a Football Championship Subdivision school.
But both have made their presence felt quickly in the NFL.
Prescott had arguably the best season by a rookie quarterback in league history a year ago, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and NFC East title. Prescott completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,667 passing yards with 23 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 104.9 passer rating as a rookie.
Prescott has continued to impress by being the most consistent Cowboys player this season. He has a 16-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has rushed for five touchdowns.
Prescott has a record of 18-7 in his first 25 games as a Cowboys starter.
Wentz didn’t have as much success his rookie season. The Eagles went 7-9 and he threw 16 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, and had a 79.3 passer rating.
But Wentz has found his stride his sophomore season. The Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 8-1, and Wentz has thrown 23 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He also has a 104.1 passer rating and has found himself in the league MVP conversation.
Wentz has posted a record of 15-10 in his first 25 games as Eagles starter.
What the coaches are saying
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett: “We’re all fans first. That’s why we do what we do. Whether we play or we coach, we all love football. If you don’t love everything about it you’re probably not doing what we do. So we have a great appreciation for what Dak Prescott has done for our team in such a short period of time, how he stepped into this leadership role and has played as well as he has and really goes about everything the right way. He’s a guy you certainly pull for. I’ve gotten to know Carson Wentz a little bit for our time together at the Senior Bowl and he has a lot of the same attributes, a lot of the same qualities and he’s certainly doing a great job for their organization. It’s a marquee position, there is no question about that. When you have a chance in an organization for a guy you feel good about for now and into the future it’s really good for your team, for your organization and for the league.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson: “It doesn’t matter who’s coaching the Eagles or who’s coaching the Cowboys, those two guys are going to be around for a long time. It makes for not only a great rivalry, but it makes for a great division in the NFC East with these guys. These guys can play and stay in this division for a long time.”
Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan: “You’re talking about two, young budding stars in this league. It’s exciting for the league to see these kind of guys. We worked a lot with Philadelphia’s quarterback in the Senior Bowl a few years back. So we got to know him as well as any of the guys we play. Everybody’s different, unique, but they seem to have a similar impact on both the teams. I’m sure it’s exciting for them as much as it is for us to have a good, young guy at the helm.”
What Prescott and Wentz are saying
Prescott: “I guess I keep up with him here and there. When you are playing as hot as he is and as hot as the Eagles are, you hear the stats and all that stuff is hard not to see. He is a friend. We created our relationship through the Senior Bowl, through the Combine, through all off that. Just in doing that, I saw a guy who paid attention to the details, who was really talented and I have the most respect for him going through the process.”
Wentz: “I don’t pay much attention too much to other guys, personally, but we naturally get a lot of crossover tape because we play a lot of the same teams, so I mean I see him on film here and there. I’m impressed. The guy, he’s done well, lot of respect for what he’s done, and I know him personally. I know he’s a great dude. I think it’s cool to go up against him, hopefully for a long time.”
Here’s a look at the quarterbacks who accounted for at least 50 touchdowns in their first 25 career games since 1970:
^Pro Football Hall of Famer