Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had the worst night of his 13-game NFL career. But that wasn’t enough to get the Cowboys to consider flipping the switch back to one of the best quarterbacks in franchise history.
Asked after the the 10-7 loss to the Giants whether the team considered benching a struggling Prescott for a healthy Tony Romo, coach Jason Garrett said this, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “No, we feel good about Dak playing quarterback for us.”
Owner/G.M. Jerry Jones was even more forceful.
“No. No. No. No,” Jones said, via Davison. “Not at all. Let me just say that.”
Still, it was only a few days ago that Jones said something far different about the prospect of Romo playing this year.
“I think Romo is going to get his opportunity,” Jones told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “I don’t want it to happen. But I think he may get his opportunity to get us a Super Bowl. While that’s a mixed bag when I think about it — that means you don’t have Dak out there — but it means, what a story, one for the ages, if he’d step in there and this year help us win a Super Bowl on the field with his skill. That can happen here. We’re not talking about a bus driver out there. We’re talking about a guy who can go out there and move our team.”
Is Prescott moving the team in the way Jones envisions? The rookie has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in three straight games, and his 165 yards on 37 passes from Monday night equate to 4.46 yards per attempt.
“First of all he’s got 13 NFL ball games at a high level under his belt,” Jones said after the loss to the Giants. “What’s he got four interceptions now? Is it four? OK, so he’s got four interceptions in 13 ball games. I feel good about our quarterback, and I like what we are at the quarterback position as well. We should have asked and wanted him to make the drive that might have won this thing for us tonight. We were within striking distance. I don’t want to make excuses. Most of what happened to us offensively tonight was a well coached [Giants] defense more than a failing of a player or players.”
The Cowboys would be smart to ride it out. They’ve already determined that Prescott is the future; yanking him at a time when he’s going through the normal growing pains of becoming a full-time starter could make it harder for him to reach his full potential.
Indeed, Prescott has 20 touchdown passes and four interceptions, with a season average of 7.9 yards per throw. He also has a passer rating of 102.7. Those numbers had him near the front of the MVP race before Sunday night’s game.
Jones nevertheless will get antsy if last night’s performance becomes a trend. Jones desperately wants to win a Super Bowl with a team that he built, and the brass ring is closer than it’s been since the last time the team won a Super Bowl with a team he didn’t build. At some point, Jones will become tempted to try to finish the job with Romo, confident that Prescott will recover from the actual or perceived indignity by 2017, when he’s the clear-cut starter without Romo behind him.