For Dak Prescott fans, Sunday night feels like it’s taking forever to get here. The changes made to Dallas Cowboys players and personnel during the offseason reinforced the belief among many that the quarterback can redeem himself from the turnover issues faced last year.
There is also belief that with additional weapons on both sides of the ball, the best and deepest wide receiver room the Cowboys have seen in years, and an offensive system designed to limit mistakes and encourage cohesion, Dak Prescott should make a deeper playoff run than he has at any other point in his career.
For the doubters, however, questions abound.
Was 2022 an anomaly for Dak Prescott? Or is Dak regressing?
There have even been questions recently about whether or not Trey Lance, an under-developed third-year quarterback with only 262 regular season snaps under his belt, should replace Dak Prescott, a 2x Pro Bowler with 20+ franchise records.
Along those same angst-imbued lines are questions about whether or not Dak Prescott or Mike McCarthy might approach this game too conservatively or whether Cowboys star players should have gotten some preseason snaps in.
According to Dak Prescott himself, though, the only thing to question is what new looks the Giants might throw at the Cowboys on Sunday. And even then, he’s already prepared for whatever that turns out to be.
“WE’LL BE READY” – DAK PRESCOTT
While speaking to the media on Thursday, Dak was asked about preparation for Week 1. Earlier in the week, Mike McCarthy estimated that 35% of the plays they’ll see early on will be unscouted looks.
In his answer, Dak talked about the purpose of using rules and scenarios during training camp before saying, “Our defense presented us great opportunities all spring that no matter what’s thrown at us, we’ll be ready.”
He went on to explain that if he does see something new, addressing it will require communication and planning on the sideline.
But even that process of communicating and adjusting is something with which Dak Prescott is more comfortable this season. As a matter of fact, he says his “comfort level is at an all-time high.”
COMPETITION, COMFORT, AND CONFIDENCE
Dak actually used the phrase “all-time high” three times during this conversation. He said it referencing his comfort level, his confidence level, and the level of competition that exists at practices.
The competition level was brought up earlier in the conversation than the other two qualities mentioned. From listening to Dak’s explanation it seems that they’re related.
“Iron sharpens iron,” he said referring to practicing against the Dallas CObwoys defensive unit.
“I mean, you look at the guys we have on the other side of the ball, and the way that they attack, the way that they rush, the way that the back end guys play the ball, the linebackers flying sideline to sideline. It’s been tough. It hasn’t been easy at all.”
Dak continued, “The competition is at it’s all-time high since I’ve ever been here. Just the practices alone. And that doesn’t go just for the starters.
“It goes for the guys on the show team. It goes for the backups. Anybody that gets a rep on this team is ready and primed and practicing to a standard to make the other guy better.”
RESPECT FOR THE GIANTS
All of Dak Prescott’s comfort and confidence hasn’t led him to make assumptions about the outcome of Week 1.
The quarterback acknowledged the improvements the Giants have made during the off-season as well as the skills and experience of Giants Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale.
And that respect is mutual. When asked about facing Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, Martindale said, “[Dak Prescott] is one of the best competitors at the quarterback position, I think, and leaders. He’s mastered this offense… I think it’s gonna be a tough challenge just like it is every time you play him.”
When asked about the Giants’ improvements on the defensive side of the ball, Martindale responded with, “You’ll see the difference in our speed.”
Despite his pride in the speed of their defense, he acknowledged that their execution is not quite at the same level as that speed.
From the sound of it, Sunday night fans will see a fast-paced, high intensity matchup between two confident teams that are very familiar with one another.
Hopefully, in addition to his confidence, Dak Prescott’s performance will be at an all-time high this season as well.