Jimmy Johnson saw the quarterback. He just didn’t see the Dak Prescott that lay inside the rookie’s college uniform.
Speaking to a media gathering at Super Bowl 51, the FOX analyst and former Dallas Cowboys coach said, "Besides [Prescott’s] talent is his poise.
"Terry Bradshaw and I have watched college football together every single Saturday for 20-something years. And we watched Prescott when he was at Mississippi State and were concerned about his accuracy.
"What we did not see at that time was his decision making, his poise. It’s unbelievable."
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Johnson praised the job that the Cowboys coaches did with their two high-profile rookies, Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
"A lot of it has to do with Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan," Johnson said. "They did a great job of coaching Dak. The way they brought those two rookies in and the way they handled them, the amount of stuff they gave them. They did a great job of coaching those two kids."
In Prescott’s case, Jimmy said, Dak actually benefited from being a rookie and not set in his ways.
The older they get, sometimes they think they know more than the coach.
Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson
"I think because he's a young player, he listened to his coach," Johnson explained. "Jason Garrett and Linehan said, ‘Here's the way you do it.’
"Had it been a veteran, he'd have been locked into the guy who's going to make a lot of great plays for him. So it was a benefit for him to be a rookie.
"The older they get, sometimes they think they know more than the coach. Being a rookie fit into the plan – he did exactly what the coach told him to."
Johnson also said Tuesday that he has taken some criticism for his opinions on the Cowboys’ Elliott.
"I said he's the best running back in the league, and I caught a lot of flak for it," Johnson said. "A lot of people said Le’Veon Bell is the best running back in the league.
"Le’Veon Bell – the Steelers have had a few years to evaluate what all he can do. But Ezekiel Elliott, there's no telling what he can do. I know when he hits that line, all of a sudden that pile goes about five yards. And when he breaks it into the open, nobody wants to tackle him.
"Like I said, he’s the best running back in the league."