This Is Dak's Team Now

View previous topic View next topic Go down

This Is Dak's Team Now

Post by Cowboy1959 on Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:49 pm


Of all the things that occurred to me after Sunday night's win over Philly, the one that stood out the most is that the 2016 Dallas Cowboys have become Dak Prescott's team.

How can you argue otherwise?  Except for a small handful of plays in the second preseason game, 11 weeks ago, this team has had only one man under center for meaningful snaps, one voice in the huddle and on the practice field during this campaign, one leader on the field and in the locker room.  The young rookie who everyone thought was a year or two away from being ready to play has led the team with almost preternatural skill and maturity.  His performance, as well as his poise under pressure, has turned this from a team of hopefuls into a team of believers.

I believe that he crossed an important threshold on Sunday.  It may not be the last one he needs to cross (we have yet to see him respond to sustained adversity, and to see if he has the mental and physical stamina to get through this entire first season), but it was a crucial one.  Any player who can shake off a bad outing and gather himself to fight back and lead his team from behind to victory over a key division rival is bound to make his teammates take notice, and to inspire their confidence and trust.  And once that happens, it seems insane to think that you would--or even CAN--take him out of the lineup.

I think even the Cowboys, hide-bound as they can be on personnel matters, are starting to see that.

Tony Romo is a fine player, and he's well-loved within the organization.  But he's also the known quantity.  At this point in his career, does he have anything new left to show us?  Is there anything we don't already know about him that's likely to make a difference in a must-win game?  Even discounting the concerns about his health, durability, and age, is he still the player who gives the Cowboys the best chance of winning?

I'd argue that he is not.  And I think his teammates are starting to come to the same conclusion, whether they quite realize or not.

Of course, if Tony comes back next week and is named the starter, I have no doubt that the players would, at least on the surface, welcome him back with open arms.  But I wonder how many of them would, consciously or subconsciously, have the slightest bit of doubt creeping in around the edges that they're going into battle without their best general.

That's what happens when a player like Dak performs as well as he has, week in and week out.  The team has jelled around him, and you never stir up the Jell-O after it has set, unless you want a mess.

Now, it's possible that Dak will hit a wall at some point, and will have maximized his advantage.  Maybe we saw some signs of that on Sunday.  Teams are starting to get a read on him, and the Eagles certainly seemed to have an answer for him for most of the game.  He left a lot of plays on the field that Tony probably wouldn't have, and that's not insignificant.  Nevertheless, Dak seems very much like a guy who learns quickly, and he doesn't seem to make the same mistake twice (I'm guessing that some of those strange short throws were a reflection of his not being entirely confident in the throw, and taking something off of them to make sure they didn't get intercepted.  That may be an overly generous interpretation, so it bears some watching).  In spite of his less-than-stellar performance over the first 50 minutes of the game, his final 17 were the stuff of a budding young superstar.

If Dak reaches a point of diminishing returns, it sure will be nice to have a Tony Romo standing by ready to take the reins.  In fact, when he returns I'd really like to see the Cowboys work him back in slowly. Maybe give him some reps in the late stages of a blowout win (if they can manage one) or even having a set of unique offensive packages that each QB can run.  Experience has taught me that a QB shuttle system doesn't work, but why not give each QB a few series of unique plays that will challenge a defense?  It might make them hard to be game-planned by their opponents.

But unless and until Dak proves that he can't carry the team anymore, I just don't see how the Cowboys can take the reins away from him without it being disruptive of the rhythm this team has achieved. Maybe the best contribution Tony can make at this point is to recognize that he can serve the team best as an elder statesman, staying ready to take over if and when he's needed and sharing his experience and insight with his eventual replacement.  It's not Tony's fault that he hasn't been there, but it is what it is, and maybe the time has come for a graceful transition.  

At least you have to let Dak run the team until he shows that he can't.

It's not a question of fairness.  It's a question of what's best for the team.  Dak's team.


avatar
Cowboy1959

Join date : 2016-08-16
Posts : 84

Back to top Go down

Re: This Is Dak's Team Now

Post by MRich on Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:22 pm

You know, I don't want to look too far ahead, but I could realistically see the Cowboys going at least 12-4 this season with Dak at the helm. Assuming we minimize injuries from here on.

We have some physical defenses coming up, so we'll see how we play then. But I think every game Dak comes out and plays a game where he overcomes adversity, he builds confidence with himself, and amongst his teammates.

I don't know if it's too early to go out on a limb and say this, but I think Dak is going to be the starter next season, too. Romo's time as a starter here may be over.
avatar
MRich

Join date : 2016-08-16
Posts : 134

Back to top Go down

Re: This Is Dak's Team Now

Post by caddy4bp on Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:02 am

It's a tough situation to deal with. For one, Dak showed me the other night that he can still be a raw rookie. What you should realize is that he showed that to the coaches as well in big bold letters. But they've seen that through all 7 games. He's missed a lot of plays that Romo and other top level QB's wouldn't. On the other hand, he's done extremely well for a young player and shows me a higher level than guys like Dalton or Flacco. I mention them because they are franchise QB's, but with limited actual ability. Guys like them or an Eli, Palmer or a guy like Osweiller aren't going to become elite any time soon.

The Cowboys are willing to ride the wave for now as the momentum is like a steam roller now. We as fans, can look at it probably best that we not mess with that momentum. As stated the coaches know what the tape shows them. They see some great things and they see some bad things as well. But W's don't come easy so they'll be on board until something tells them to go a different route.

The sad thing is that if they go 12-4 and fail to get to the SB under Dak, we should all wonder if Romo could have gotten us over the hump to face the Pats or whomever. If Romo comes in and takes over, he can only win out and hold a trophy not to be vilified by a large portion of the fan base. So its really SB or bust for the team not to have a split among the fans. As its looking we have to be considered a team to beat. To me, the Seahawks appear to be the target to get past. The injury's to Mo & Church could alter the season as they were a fair part of the success of the defense thus far.

It's pretty clear that they have a huge decision to make on Tony, partly in how his game sits after the latest injury, but mostly now its the money. It's a huge bite with his cap for next season, one which they never thought would be subject for discussion. A week ago I was thinking that the cap savings could have been used to sign guys like Terrell McClain, Mo, Terrance and Leary to name a few names of for FA after this season. Let alone locking up Martin. So there's a lot to consider. Also, they drafted Zeke to maximize the offense and get the most out of Dez with an offense that would look like the Triplets II. Not playing Romo this year or cutting him next year will always have them wondering.

With how Dak played for 3 quarters the other night, it appeared a certainty that Romo would have been warming up in the next week or two. Now, ride the momentum, but remember this from me, if we don't win the SB this year, it will be a very big disappointment and have people arguing Dak or Romo positions on why we didn't win the big one when we "had" the chance in many opinions. IMO, we don't have a defense to make me feel a SB win is in the cards. I can see a 1st round win, but not ready to think we can get beyond that after just 7 games. So for me, I'll ride the momentum behind Dak, then we'll discuss why we didn't win the SB when we had the chance this year. To me, it won't be because of who the QB is so much as the state of the defense! But many will look at the QB ......

caddy4bp

Join date : 2016-08-18
Posts : 97
Age : 65

Back to top Go down

Re: This Is Dak's Team Now

Post by Cowboy1959 on Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:16 am


There's no question that Dak is a rookie and sometimes plays like one.  And no doubt the coaches are seeing (and compensating for) the weaknesses in his game.  But the other side of the equation is that he seems to learn quickly and rarely makes the same mistake twice.

There's also no question that he hasn't exactly been facing the Steel Curtain or the Fearsome Foursome out there, and that sooner or later some defensive coordinator is going to find a way to confuse him enough to keep him off his game.  That's one reason why I thought Scott Linehan's game plan was poorly thought-out, as it required Dak to carry way too much of the load for a team with their running game.

And so there are risks in rolling with Dak.  But what I keep coming back to is, what is it about Romo's game that we don't already know and haven't seen dozens of times already?  He's more or less proven that he has a ceiling, and it's the divisional round of the playoffs.  We know Dak has to have a ceiling as well, but we have no idea where it is.  And that's enough to keep me intrigued.

The other thing that seems to keep getting forgotten in this conversation is that we have absolutely no idea whether Romo's experience can come into play in a live fire situation since we don't know whether he is still physically able to make his body do what his mind tells it to.  The recent evidence suggests that he isn't.  If you want to be generous and exclude the Panthers game, his 2015 stats were roughly comparable to his career stats, though his interception percentage was over twice his career rate, and his TD percentage was significantly lower than his career average.

He's also been out of action for over a year, and has only played in 4 games in the past 14 months.  To expect him to return and not have an adjustment period is unrealistic.  And what happens to the team while he grooves in?  This is why I suggested a phased return, giving him his own package of plays to run and letting him mop up if the Cowboys have a big lead.

You simply can't stop the momentum of an entire team for one player, especially since we don't know what his true status is.

We get way ahead of ourselves when we talk about being a Super Bowl contender, and any talk of "Super Bowl or Bust" is WAY overdoing it.  For the Cowboys to become a contender, a lot of things need to fall into place, not the least of which is their defense.  And if Dak is the QB of a 12-4 Super Bowl contender, I will not spend a single second wondering if Romo could be doing any better, because it will mean that Dak truly is the man of the moment.  If, in 1971, the Cowboys had failed to win Super Bowl VI, I would never in a million years have wondered if Craig Morton could have put the team over the hump.  We knew Morton's ceiling then, just as we know Romo's now.

That's not to shovel dirt on Romo's grave.  It's simply a realization that a QB who leads a team to a 12-4 mark is unlikely to be the lesser QB on the roster.

I'm not discounting the possibility that Romo can return at some point and lead this team this year.  But I don't know when and under what circumstances that can happen.  Nor do I think that Romo's return will necessarily translate into more victories, especially in the playoffs.  So I still can't make an argument for Romo's automatic return to the lineup when he's deemed healthy enough to play.

At the end of the day, this is not just about Romo and Dak.  Not anymore.  It's about an entire roster of guys who are learning how to win.  Team chemistry is very volatile, even on a team as seemingly harmonious as the Cowboys.  No player--and certainly no coach--wants to risk rocking the boat when the water's calm and the sailing smooth and easy.  And for now, at least, Romo represents risk.  It would be a disservice to all the players and coaches who have worked so hard to get to this point to throw all that out the window for the sake of one man.  That seems to me to be antithetical to the concept of team.

avatar
Cowboy1959

Join date : 2016-08-16
Posts : 84

Back to top Go down

Re: This Is Dak's Team Now

Post by MRich on Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:31 am

Great points from both of you, as usual. I meant to include this in my other post, but a "talking head" on sports radio the other day was saying that even when Romo is ready it's still going to take a couple of games (at minimum) for him to get used to things again, since he hasn't done it in a while, and practices are different under the CBA, with one padded practice per week. Not that he gets hit in practice, but you almost have to get used to wearing the pads and throwing in them as a QB.
avatar
MRich

Join date : 2016-08-16
Posts : 134

Back to top Go down

Re: This Is Dak's Team Now

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum