Talk of Fame Network
There is no one making more of an impact this season than Dallas rookie Dak Prescott. Since stepping in for the injured Tony Romo, he's won nine straight starts, helped guide the Cowboys to the NFL's best record, thrown 17 touchdown passes and two interceptions and ended speculation about a quarterback controversy.
Prescott is the starter. Romo is the backup. Period. End of sentence.
Just one question: How did someone this talented, this poised and this good last until the fourth round and become the eighth quarterback chosen and the 134th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft? We don’t know, either, so we asked our resident football analyst – former Super Bowl coach Jim Fassel – on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
"Coaches and scouts aren’t perfect," he said. "These guys get passed through. When I want a quarterback what I always looked for was his intelligence and everything else. You know, spend some time with him and see what kind of personality he has. You know, Russell Wilson was the same thing when he came in. I mean, they (the Seahawks) put a lot of money in another guy (Matt Flynn), and, next thing you know, this guy is starting and he's playing good.
"So you find quarterbacks that come in, and I want to know about their personality and their leadership qualities. Sometimes you hit; sometimes you miss. You never know. And the other thing is: You're looking for a guy who has a lot of self confidence because stepping into the NFL from college is a big step. But for a quarterback it's huge. That game is so much faster, there's so much more to it. And if you don’t work at it, and if you don’t have a lot of confidence in yourself you won't get done what he's doing."
Fassel conceded what is going on with Prescott – the numbers he's putting up and the interceptions he is not – isn't normal. In fact, he termed it "highly unusual." But it tells him something about the quarterback now running "America's Team."
"All the quarterbacks that don't make it," said Fassel, "the high draft picks ... they don't have leadership qualities. They don't apply themselves to the game -- and it is not about the physical (ability) to play the game.
"I've never met Dak, (but) I've watched him play, and I admire what he does. But I'll guarantee you (this): The guy probably went in there and worked harder than anybody on the team to learn the offense. He studied it, and he studied his opponents. And he has leadership qualities ... and he works at it so hard he has the respect of the team. And they have confidence in him, and it just all comes together.
"He is a talented guy. I mean, he's got a great throwing motion. He's a good athlete. He looks like he's brilliant (too) because he doesn't hesitate. He knows where he's going with the ball, and you have to be able to know where you're going with the ball right now. A rookie quarterback who just stands in the pocket trying to find somebody ... he's going to get murdered and not do very well."
"Jim Fassel photo courtesy of the N.Y. Giants; Dak Prescott photo courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)