Prescott to remain Cowboys’ starter after league-best 8-1 start
Throughout this NFL season, one of the biggest dilemmas has been the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback controversy.
The Cowboys’ fourth-round pick Dak Prescott shined during the preseason after veteran field general Tony Romo broke a bone in his back. Many thought Prescott’s performance would decline as he went up against starting defenses in the regular season.
After Prescott was thrust into the spotlight as Dallas’ opening day starter, it became clear the Cowboys struck gold at the quarterback position.
Prescott has helped the Cowboys reach a league-best record of 8-1. They are currently undefeated after their Week 1 loss to the New York Giants.
Despite their impressive record, there is still a big dilemma over whether the Cowboys will keep Prescott or return to Romo. Although Romo did not play because of his injuries, he became involved in practice sessions starting Week 10.
Earlier in the season, team owner Jerry Jones stuck by Romo when pundits speculated about Prescott becoming the permanent starter. Still, many questioned whether Romo would be able to fully recover from his latest of many injuries. In his career, Romo has broken his collarbone three times, broken his pinkie finger and had many problems with his back, including a recently broken vertebrae, two broken transverse processes and a ruptured disk.
After the Cowboys’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jones said that Prescott “obliterated” any concerns that he needed to be taken out. He also announced that Romo would back up Prescott in next week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
In a thrilling display of FOX’s NFL Game of the Week, Prescott led the Cowboys down the field for game-clinching touchdowns with just seconds left in the fourth quarter.
After Ben Roethlisberger perfectly executed a fake spike and threw a touchdown to gain a one-point advantage with 42 seconds left, Prescott responded firmly by completing three of four passes, capped off by a 32-yard touchdown run from fellow rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliot to steal the win. This adds to Prescott’s impressive list of victories this season.
On Monday, Nov. 14, with Cowboy nation still riled up over its spectacular win, Romo stood before the press and put to rest whatever doubt remained. Romo announced that he will be backing up Prescott for the remainder of the season, holding back tears as he recounted memories of his rookie campaign. A bittersweet moment for those who swear by the silver and blue, many applauded Romo’s leadership as they witnessed the Dallas legends’ passing of the reigns.
Still, some are not ready to completely buy into Prescott for the remainder of the season. Prescott has already shown some weakness in recent games and there will be more pressure on him to win big games in the future. He is also not used to playing the longer 16-game NFL seasons as opposed to the 12-game college football seasons. Teams playing him later in the season may start to figure out Prescott’s advantages and improve against him as time passes.
Now that Prescott is definitely the starter going forward, fear among teammates in his performance may become his biggest roadblock. Because they have now experienced Romo as a backup, the deeper they go into the season, the more they could be willing to play Romo in pressure situations where Prescott has not had the experience. Further, Jones said that Prescott will remain the starter for as long as he keeps up his great play, which further clouds the quarterback outlook for the team.
The Cowboys host the Ravens in Week 11 in the battle of division leaders. At 5-4, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense have come on strong as of late, despite a rough start to the season.
Still, the Ravens defense continues to struggle against the league’s premier quarterbacks, boding well for Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense. Despite the resurgence of Dallas cornerback Morris Claiborne, the defense has been mired by injury and have recently been in decline. Still, Prescott and Elliot have more than picked up the slack for the declining defense.
With a two-game lead over the NFC East division, the Cowboys are in a comfortable position heading into the second half of the season. Granted, the division is hot, with all teams beating their opponents in Week 10.
While the team does not show any sign of slowing down, it must keep its foot on the gas so as to not let its opponents back in the race. Dallas closes out the season with a series of division rivals, which makes for a fiery conclusion to its 2016 campaign.
As for the rest of the NFC East, the Giants are next in line to the Cowboys division lead, riding a four game win-streak. Week 10 was especially competitive for the NFC East, with each of the four teams recording impressive wins to up the ante as the calender turns to December.