Dallas Cowboys

Here’s what Dak Prescott said after big day in big win over New York Giants

Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns on 25 of 32 passing in Sunday’s 35-17 season-opening win against the New York Giants.

After the game he was asked about new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, having Jason Witten back and find wide open receivers for touchdowns:

How did it feel to have three guys running deep down the field that you could choose from?

Just three? I think it’s more than that. I mean, I’m surrounded by talent and this offense is full of it. You said it, it’s fun. It’s fun to be a part of, it’s fun to be a quarterback of this group. We gotta go out there and lead these guys. The offensive line and the way they played, the receivers making plays and the backs obviously, it’s just fun to be a part of this group.

What was the key to 405 passing yards?

Great play calling. Credit [offensive coordinator] Kellen Moore for that, and then once again as I said, I’m surrounded by great players. The offensive line did a great job on protection. I was able to throw some short passes and the receivers would go get the rest. Then you open up the run, and we were able to hit them with the run action. Credit the play calling, but as I said before, we have talent on this offense and it’s fun to be a part of.

On converting long drives throughout the game:

During my time here, we’ve had some long drives. We’ve had some 90-yarders and some 80-yarders, so that’s something we talk about when we’re backed up. As soon as I get in that huddle, we all discuss it ‘hey we’ve done this before, we’ve done it a number of times so lets go do it.’ All it takes is the focus and the concentration of one play at a time and everybody doing their job. So just focus on that and we look up and see we’re converting 13- or 17-play drives and getting touchdowns. It’s just great.

How were you guys able to get [Blake] Jarwin and [Randall] Cobb for wide open touchdowns?

Run action. When you have a great run game like that, that’s what happens. The linebackers step up and they leave their zone of the field and that’s what happened on both of them. It was great play calling and great timing by Kellen. Those were easy touchdowns.

On playing the run against the Cowboys:

You better play the run when you’re playing this team. I don’t care if he’s been out or if he’s not been out. That’s what we’ve done for a number of years, and we’re going to continue to do that. As I said, you have a back like that [Zeke] and an offensive line like we have, you’re able to run the ball like we have in the past. That’s our history. You’re going to play the run, and you better respect the run because we’re going to continue to do that. Once we’re able to run the ball, it just opens up other things.

How did it feel to help Jason Witten in the end zone again?

It was great. It’s been great just to have him back and being able to get him a touchdown. The first play call we had, the one Jarvis scored on, is one of his favorite plays. So the moment I hear that play call and see he’s not in the game, I’m just like ‘he’s not going to be too happy about this one.’ Jarvis caught the touchdown, and to be able to fast forward and get him [Witten] one was great.

Favorite throw on the day?

I mean, I don’t know. I’ve got to go back and watch film. But off the top of my head, I think the first third down conversion to Cobb. That’s just an option route for him. That shows the trust that we have. He broke in, and for me to be able to trust him and put the ball, which still wasn’t a great throw, and for him to go make that contested catch. The reason is that I think that got me in the zone. I think that got me going to convert that first third down. That drive ended up being the first touchdown we had. Then it just rolled from there, so that’s what I can point to right now.

Did you play more freely and comfortable today? You looked really patient and comfortable.

Yeah, I think I’ve spoken to you about the latter part of the year last year and just being able to see the defense and see the things that I wanted to see so much quicker. This offseason, this spring and this training camp it was just continue to grow. Obviously, studying film and playing these guys for a number of years has just allowed me to come in and do exactly that. With our offensive line protecting like they do and when players make plays, it’s hard not to be comfortable.

What is Kellen like between offensive series?

He’s great. We obviously talk about the plays we just ran, both the good and bad. But then we turn the page quickly. It’s about where we’re going and what he’s planning on calling and where my eyes and reads should be for the most part. It’s great. It’s also great when we get a call down from [Jon] Kitna, he’s always coached me up as well. We’ve just got a great group of guys and coaches who always try to get better and are always paying attention and focused on the little things. It makes it fun to go out here in these games and just continue to get better.

Was it as easy on the field as it looked to us in the press box?

It’s the NFL, nothing’s easy. I will say it felt like a well-oiled machine though. I talked about it last night to the offense. We’ve got so many great players on that offense. Whichever 11 is out there, if you handle your one job then that’s what happens. You’re a well-oiled machine and you’re able to just go and go and go. It doesn’t matter if it’s first and 10 or third and 10 or third and eight, you just focus on your job and focus on executing that. We’ve got a bunch of guys that take pride in doing exactly that no matter what the situation is. When you have that and continue to grow, you get a performance like tonight.

Do limited snaps in pre-season help you come out and perform like this in game one?

I mean, I practice hard. I think if you ask anybody that watches me practice, I’m always trying to get a game rep. I’m always putting myself in a game situation. Pre-season, practice, training camp reps, all those reps are always meaningful to me. It’s just allowed me to grow and be more comfortable.

In terms of the offense as a whole, what was most different about what you were doing and how did it suit your offense’s skillset?

Just the timing of some of those play calls. I don’t know if we ran one play tonight that hasn’t been in our offense for some time. But as I said, credit to Kellen for dialing them up at the right time and knowing what the defense was going to give us. A few of those resulted in some wide-open touchdowns. As I said, you saw tonight we were going to change things up in different places and do the things that we’re good at.

When did you realize Kellen is an intelligent offensive mind?

From the very beginning. As I said, when I first became a Cowboy my job was to compete against Kellen Moore for the backup position. It was demoralizing to watch him make those throws, read the defenses and see the defenses the way he did. It was tough, and I didn’t like it. But I also admire that part of him, and I wanted to be that someday. The moment he transitioned into the coaching role, he’s one of these geniuses. It’s great for him to just be calling the plays and we have a great relationship.

On if the Cowboys are presenting the plays any differently than last year:

Yeah for sure. Definitely different the way we are presenting them. There may be a little tick or change here from receiving routes, don’t get me wrong there. There are some changes, and there are some differences. It’s about how we’re presenting them, what we’re making the defense think it is and where we’re actually getting to. We’re getting our best athletes in open space and getting them in areas they’re most comfortable with. Again, it’s fun to be a part of.

How fun is it to spread the ball around to so many different guys around the field?

Fun. Those guys are great. When you get the ball in their hands and get the ball in their hands quick, the result is a bunch of long plays like run after catch and broken tackles. We’re talented. As long as we just stay focused and keep getting better and take pride in doing our one job and lean on the other 10 guys, we’ll continue to do that. This will be a good offense and a good team. I’m excited for the rest of it, but we’re going to turn the page and get focused on the Redskins tomorrow.

How much better can this offense get?

So much better. We talked about it to the team in there. We’re never going to be satisfied, and we’re never going to be complacent with what we’re doing. There’s a lot of errors in that game on offense, defense and teams that we can get better at. One is just about finishing the game. We could’ve put our foot on the pedal, as you say, and done a better job. I think it’s mentality. All of us have it in there, so it’s about staying focused and making that mentality be contagious. We’ll do better at that.

Jerry Jones said the contact was imminent. What are your thoughts on that?

As I said, I’m turning the page and I’m worried about the Washington Redskins. I have people that handle that. My focus is on this team and on the football game. As long as I keep continuing to do that, this team will do things like we did tonight. That’s been out of my focus for the last week, and I told you guys that.

On what Jason Witten said in the huddle at the end of the game:

The victory huddle is something special. You gotta be in it to be a part of it.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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