The injuries to the wide receiver position are all everyone wants to talk about right now. However, we may look back on this event as the catalyst for Dak Prescott taking over the leadership position to lead the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl. Let’s break it down.
When I tell people that I write and am the managing editor for the Primetime Cowboys, usually their first question is something along the lines of what has Dak Prescott been doing all preseason?
I usually say something close to he’s been extremely busy teaching the new corps of wide receivers that injuries have left him with. Dak has been teaching them the offensive playbook, getting his timing with them on point, and getting them to block for each other. Plus he’s been working on running when he needs to run with the offensive line. Most of all, he is becoming a true leader and stepping up to be “the man” of the Dallas Cowboys.
Yes, I know a lot of you are saying, “HUH?!?! Come on, Sam…he’s been the leader of the Cowboys. Where have YOU been?” Well, I agree with that to a point. Dak has been a reluctant leader because there has been no one else. However, this preseason he has really stepped up and been taking over more because he wants to than he has to. Dak knows that for the Cowboys to win then he has to choose not only the correct plays on the field but also show his confidence in the team.
The Cowboys are really happy with this and have asked a lot of him in the past, but probably even more so this year. They are expecting their $40 million-a-year man to be a playmaker, but also to make some playmakers out of the wide receiving corps that has been bitten by the injury bug.
“I don’t know if somebody sat down and asked me to do more necessarily but I know what’s expected,” Dak Prescott said. “I know being the quarterback of this team, I know being a quarterback of whatever team you are, what’s expected in your role and responsibility.”
This season has already been different with the injuries that the Cowboys have had at wide receiver. Most fans know about James Washington’s broken foot that he got in the first couple of days of camp. However, most don’t remember that Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson are gone. Cooper was traded to the Cleveland Browns and Wilson is with the Miami Dolphins. With his torn ACL in his left knee, Michael Gallup is going to at least miss the first couple of games of the season.
Who’s Here Right Now?
The Cowboys are planning to change their passing game to use their tight ends and running backs differently. Dak has CeeDee Lamb to help him with the young unproven wide receivers. They have worked to get the receivers to keep their heads up and stay ready to take advantage of opportunities. Fans have already seen the quarterbacks in preseason games targeting the third-round pick Jalen Tolbert. He has to gather himself and get the confidence to make the plays that the Cowboys need from him.
Undrafted player Dennis Houston has been the surprise talent that Dallas has been using on the first team beside of Lamb and Tolbert. Sixth-year Noah Brown has been asked also to step up. Simi Fehoko has been turning coaches’ heads in his practice.
Even though Dak isn’t playing in the preseason games, he is playing in the dual practice scrimmages that have been taking place with both opponents so far. Both Tolbert and Houston have said that Dak works with them on seeing the field and getting open for him to get them the ball. “He gives me something every day,” Jalen Tolbert said. “Honestly, consistency. You do one thing, it’s over. So the next day you come out, you got to continue to keep doing good and good and good. One good day is not good enough.”
Deals Being Made?
Nope. I was shocked about this in the beginning. I thought for sure that they would be doing some deals, but Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner and general manager, has been saying that he’s fine with what the Cowboys have at wide receiver. Dak Prescott is the reason. “He can do that. I especially think he can do it with what we’re trying to do with (running back Tony) Pollard or what we’re trying to do (tight end Dalton) Schultz,” Jones said. “You know Dak’s going to take it to the right guy. …Dak’s going to go as good as anybody there is out here throwing the ball at what the defense gives you.”
Thankfully, so far it isn’t looking like the 2018 season of receiver-by-committee and no tight end because Jason Witten had retired. However, the Cowboys finished that season 10-6 and won a playoff game. However, expectations are higher this season. Can they reach higher with this injury bug biting them in 2022? Dak Prescott has said this season’s receiver group is “very, very different” than 2018.
“We’ve got a guy that, in CeeDee, to start the camp off that we didn’t have like that that year. That’s a big difference there just to begin,” Prescott said. “As well as my growth and my maturity as a quarterback and just this whole game, as well as elevating these other guys. …
“Tight ends that can bring these other guys up with me as well — and it’s not necessarily just on me. That’s also where our passing game is going to evolve. We got a guy like [Pollard] that can get out there as well, so yeah, we’ll be fine.”
Dak has been working hard even though most fans aren’t getting to see it yet. They will see the effects of it during the season. After one play, he talked to three different players walking them through what they should be doing. “Details,” Prescott said. “Maybe it’s what I saw. Maybe it’s what they didn’t see or asking them why they did that so we can be on the same page. We’ve got to be focused on the details and our discipline.”
I’m looking forward to seeing what Dak Prescott has been doing and I hope it pays off. However, I can’t wait until he gets Michael Gallup back and we see that explosion happen. I think we see a different and more confident CeeDee Lamb this season. Plus, I know what Jerry Jones has been saying, but I still think that Dallas makes a trade for another wide receiver soon. I know everyone is excited about their season at this time of the year, but I think that the Dallas Cowboys fans have reason to be excited.