The Dallas Cowboys are at it again. Soon after news broke that the Cowboys printed the Patriots’ trademarked motto “DO YOUR JOB” in their locker room, team COO Stephen Jones started to make more connections between the two teams.
The Cowboys have lost quarterback Tony Romo for an extended period of time with a back injury, which is unfortunate. When healthy, Romo is a top 10 quarterback in the league and all games are more fun when good players are available. The issue is that he struggles to remain healthy, and the Cowboys have started thinking about life without Romo.
This past draft, Dallas selected Dak Prescott in the 4th round with the expectation that he would sit for a year or two. In fact, the Cowboys didn’t even want Prescott- they wanted to draft Michigan State’s Connor Cook, but were unable to swing a trade to obtain him.
Prescott was going to be the #3 quarterback, but back-up Kellen Moore broke his leg in the first week of camp, and now the Romo injury has put him in the spotlight.
For his part, Prescott has delivered, with a wildly impressive 39 completions on 50 attempts, for 454 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions. His 137.8 passer rating is the best this preseason by far and the Cowboys are now thinking their future is now.
“[Prescott] has an insatiable appetite to learn football,” Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones said Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio's Movin' The Chains show, as transcribed by Dallas News. “Football's the most important thing to him. It's real important to him that he has success. He's put down his social life, he's put down endorsements, he puts down things that a lot of these young people like to do, and he's totally one hundred percent focused.”
“I know Mike Woicik, our trainer, said, ‘Hey, I don't decide how they play on the football field, I just try to get them prepared and see how they interact with the team,’” Jones, the son of owner Jerry Jones, continued. “And I want you to take this for what it is, but he said, ‘Obviously, I'm not saying he's Tom Brady on the field, but off the field, he certainly has a lot of his qualities.’”
Woicik served as the Patriots strength and conditioning coach from 2000-2010, so he is eminently able to speak to Tom Brady’s habits off the field and his work in the gym.
Normally I wouldn’t think twice of a team saying their quarterback is like Tom Brady off the field. Jones is simply saying that Prescott has ignored the endorsement deals in order to focus on being a good football player. That’s standard team-speech, right next to “no one works hard than...,” “I’m in the best shape of my life,” and “we all support our quarterback.”
But these comments take extra weight when Jones talks to multiple news outlets with a similar message. It elevates the statement from an offhand comment, to a talking point. (full statement abridged due to length)
“I can’t imagine a scenario where Tony’s not our quarterback when he’s ready,” Jones said via MMQB. “But things happen...You know what happened to Bledsoe and Brady. I’m sure Tony’s aware of that. But the reality is, Tony’s going to come back for us and play great, we believe...But I can tell you this time we’re not going to be sitting around worrying when Tony gets back...We gotta have a game plan to beat the Giants, and to win every game without him.”
You can feel Jones pleading with the football gods to bestow Brady-like ability to Prescott, by invoking the serious injury to Drew Bledsoe that opened the door for Brady to become the greatest quarterback in the history of the game.
It’s important to remember that the Jones want the Cowboys to be a good team and, if not, then they want them to be entertaining. It’s just good marketing to a fan base that just suffered through a 4-12 season after Romo was lost to injury. The Jones need to convince their fans that the 2016 won’t just be an encore.
And what better way to try and convince people that your team will be good, than just projecting the Patriots past 15 years of success onto the Cowboys?