Long, long ago (1969), in a stadium that no longer exists, an alliance called the Dallas Cowboys was formed captained by a Navy veteran named Roger Staubach. Starting as a mere private, Staubach earned his status with epic, deep bombs to destroy the opposition in the final moments of battle. Thus, Captain Comeback was born. He’d lead those Cowboys to championships in 1971 and 1977, but other great signal callers would come after the legendary captain.
The three time Super Bowl winner, Troy Aikman, led the Cowboys for the next 10 years. The alliance fell on hard times after the departure of Aikman in 1999, calling on names like Cunningham, Testiverde, Hutchison, Henson, Stoerner, Leaf, Wright, Carter, and Bledsoe in an effort to find the next great Cowboys quarterback. They’d find their heir in an undrafted kid named Tony Romo. For the next decade Romo would shatter every passing record in the Cowboys book, though late season victories evaded the team. Then, on that fateful day about two weeks ago, number 9 scrambled to his left in a pre-season game against Seattle and Romo took a hit from behind with a new season approaching. As Romo grasped at his back and later ruled out for at least a month, the galaxy of Dallas turned their eyes to a rookie to lead them. Enter 4th round draft pick from Mississippi State, Dak Prescott.
The first year quarterback lit up basic defenses during the pre-season, but as it is known, the regular season brings different challenges. Can Prescott keep the ship right until Romo returns? We won’t know the full answer to that question on Sunday when they open the season against the New York Giants, but we will have a good idea of what to expect over the next month or so all while getting a glimps into the future. Make no mistake, coaches won’t put all of the pressure on Prescott to lead the offense, that challenge will fall on the shoulders of the offensive line, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and receiver Dez Bryant, but Prescott is essentially interviewing for a spot as the future quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys when Romo officially retires. With that said, who really knows what happens to Romo? He could return as early as week four, or he could be done for good as far as we know. The good news is Prescott seems to be much more advanced from where the Cowboys expected him to be. Let’s all hope that translates to the regular season when Prescott sees more complex defenses, especially coming from a talented and expensive Giants defensive front. One thing you can take to the bank is the success Elliott will have behind Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Doug Free. Prescott’s job, basically, is to be just enough of a threat to keep extra defenders out of the box.
Prescott has talent. He’s a big, strong kid who overflows with confidence, but before we knight him as the next great Cowboys quarterback let’s have put some skins on the wall, starting with the Giants on Sunday.