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Patrick’s POV: Cowboys QB Prescott entering MVP conversation

The Dallas Cowboys are sticking around in the NFC playoff picture due in no small part to quarterback Dak Prescott blossoming into one of the NFL’s best.
Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott signals scrambles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


When addressing the play of Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott this season, and more obviously in recent weeks, to paraphrase Dan Patrick from from his days on the anchor desk for ESPN’s SportsCenter: ”Dare I say, en fuego.”

Saying the Dak has been on fire might be an understatement at this point. The Cowboys’ fourth year QB has been everything that this team could have asked for from the standpoint of providing Dallas with the level of play they expected. But it’s the added steady improvement to his game this season that has allowed Dak to reach heights far exceeding even the most generously optimistic. 

Before this season, Prescott was considered safe and reliable. In 2019, he’s looking like an upper echelon quarterback who might need some Most Valuable Player vetting if his team can hold up around him.  

Given that the Mississippi State product was the 135th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft – a fourth-rounder that even Dallas admitted to being a consolation third or fourth option for middle-round QB picks – Prescott had blown away all expectations even before this season of transformation had begun. The Prescott we’re watching now has taken the tall tale even further to add to his legacy as one of the NFL’s more surprising success stories. 

Prescott was phenomenal during his rookie campaign when he was thrust into the starting role before he had ever even taken a regular season snap following preseason injuries to franchise stalwart Tony Romo and current offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Prescott grabbed ahold of that role and hasn’t looked back becoming a near-immediate locker room leader who won his teammates over by prying an NFC East title out of a difficult situation. 

After several solid seasons, it was the addition of Amari Cooper in the middle of the 2018 campaign that has given Prescott the weapon that had been missing to become explosive in the air. But Dak deserves plenty of praise for making optimal use of what Cooper brings to the table to help transition a plodding offense into one that has become a top threat to win with the passing attack.

At this point in his career, the former Offensive Rookie of the Year looks to be the best of the group that were drafted ahead of him in the spring of 2016. Carson Wentz and Jared Goff were both viewed as franchise quarterbacks to build around but it has been Prescott who has stood head and shoulders above the rest with sterling play in 2019 being something of a tiebreaker. 

Even though both have performed on teams that have made it to the Super Bowl, neither Goff or Wentz are having anywhere near the impact that they enjoyed in their first couple of seasons while Prescott has only improved his game.

What Prescott is doing this year is miles ahead of where many thought he could be. The additions of Moore calling plays and Jon Kitna as QBs coach can’t be glanced over. Prescott is in a great position with three former quarterbacks – including his head coach – to help mold him. 

Prescott, with an offensive unit that appears to be adapting, has been asked to carry this team on his back and he has stepped up to the challenge. Prescott is the first quarterback in Cowboys’ history to eclipse 3,000 yards in his first 10 games. He also has the most passing yards ever for the Cowboys in a three-game span. 

The accolades just keep adding up.

Obviously “on pace” stats don’t always become fact as there will be weeks where the running game is going to be leaned upon where Prescott might be asked to take a backseat. Nevertheless, the lofty numbers so far show you just how locked in Prescott has been. 

As Dallas has learned painfully in recent weeks, the run game isn’t what it has been in the past. Thankfully for the Cowboys, Prescott has been able to keep the offense moving in the right direction as he has been called upon to make more plays with his arm as part of a new identity for the offense. 

For that reason alone, and with his career-best production, Prescott should be in the conversation of the league’s MVP discussions. As the Cowboys look to cling onto their division lead deeper into the season, it will likely be on Prescott to get them into the playoffs. Should they get there, with the flaws they’ve shown in other areas, it would be hard to come up with a more valuable player in the league.

With the defensive inefficiencies and the special team’s blunders, it is amazing that the Cowboys have been able to weather the storm as well have they have. The number one reason for that has been Prescott. In the end, all that should matter for voters is that when Dak Prescott gets under center, he is leading the league’s top-rated offense in terms of yards per game and the vast majority of those yards are coming thanks to the league’s leading passer.

For the Dallas Cowboys, Dak Prescott may not have been the quarterback that many wanted but he is definitely the player that has most risen to the occasion.

Do you think Dak Prescott should be considered a contender for the NFL MVP even with Dallas sitting at 6-4? Share your thoughts on the award with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.

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