Mac Engel

Cowboys’ Prescott should take every fake football season snap

The only other time this century we were this excited about a backup was the undrafted kid whose biggest ally was none other than renowned quarterback killer Terrell Owens.

Ever since Troy Aikman retired in 2000, this town has had one legit QB prospect to justifiably be excited about, so you will pardon any Lochte-like “over-exaggerated” responses on the part of the masses when it comes to Dakota Prescott.

The last time we were this giddy was 10 years ago when Mr. Happy, Bill Parcells, let the obscure Tony Romo start and play an entire preseason game in Seattle.

In homage to that surprising evening, and thoroughly boring 10-point win on Aug. 12, 2006, when Bill kept starter Drew Bledsoe on the sideline, Jason Garrett should let Dakota start and play the entire game Thursday night, also in Seattle.

Then he should let Dakota play every snap of the Fake Football Finale, too.

If the Cowboys are not going to sign a veteran backup because they are justifiably smitten sorority girls over the #DakAttack, then they better let this kid play as much as possible before the veterans start to care.

Coach Process has been coy to name Prescott as the No. 2 QB behind Romo because he can be. He doesn’t have to announce a depth chart, so this unsuspenseful mystery will play out as long as Garrett permits. The Cowboys expressed some interest in a few veterans, but nothing ever materialized, and now every single sign points to Prescott as the man behind the most fragile starting quarterback in the NFL.

By any measure, it is difficult not to be impressed by what Prescott has done in two fake games: nine scores in 10 possessions. He is 22-of-27 passing for 338 yards with four touchdown passes and two rushing scores. Two of his five incompletions were drops.

The footwork needs help and he is rather raw, and you know he would be exposed in a legit game, but the Cowboys should keep him in for every snap until everybody is playing for money.

We are talking about Fake Football, and there is absolutely nothing Romo can gain by playing any more of these meaningless next two preseason games. Let him sit on the sidelines and read a good book.

The real preseason for the NFL is September rather than August. September is the first real month when the entire team is trying, and rolling out what it wants to do at full speed.

If Prescott continues to show something in the next two exhibition games, this will be the first time Romo has ever had a young guy behind him that people will want to see. It would be a fascinating development to see how Romo, should he struggle, would respond if people called for Prescott.

Since Romo was handed the job in the middle of the ’06 season, he has never had a flavor of the month on the bench. He’s always had some old dude playing out the string.

Once the regular season begins, there should be no calls for Dakota this season, but the Cowboys seem to have found a guy worthy of following (and this hurts to write) the same plan enacted by the Cincinnati Bengals. Other than breathing, it’s generally never a good idea to follow any plan by the Cincinnati Bengals.

The day before the start of training camp, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones referenced the Bengals and their drafting and development of AJ McCarron.

The Cowboys wanted to develop their own version of AJ McCarron behind Romo. The only difference was Stephen Jones was talking about Kellen Moore, who a few days later suffered a broken ankle.

Like Prescott, McCarron is a former SEC quarterback who played, and won, a lot of college games.

When the Bengals selected McCarron in the fifth round in ’14, there was zero expectation he would take the job from the pride of TCU, Mr. Andy Dalton. But when Dalton suffered a broken thumb in ’15, McCarron came off the bench and was effective.

In January, McCarron had the Bengals in a position to win their first playoff game since 1990 until their defense committed some of the stupidest plays ever recorded to lose against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A young quarterback could not ask for a much more ideal situation than the Cowboys. Prescott has been here since the day he was drafted, and he has the best offensive line in the NFL to provide him plenty of air space. He also has a veteran tight end and wide receivers who have been around and know what they are doing.

It’s only two games, but it looks like Prescott can play. It looks like he is a young quarterback to be excited about, which we have not had in these parts in a long time.

Other than Romo, whose development and ascent was a shock, our smorgasbord of young quarterbacks have been Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Henson, Clint Stoerner and Stephen McGee.

To demonstrate just how wrong longtime veteran football people can be, it was former Cowboys offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet who gushed about Hutchinson and said, “This kid’s got it.”

In fairness to Coslet, he never specifically defined the “it.”

It’s too early to say whether Dakota Prescott has “it,” but in two fake games, he has shown enough to give him more playing time and more snaps. At this rate, with two exhibition games remaining, he should have all of them.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

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