FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys boss Jerry Jones loves the mobility that Dak Prescott brings to the quarterback position. And Dak enjoys it, too, recently waxing poetically about having been "a young bull.''
But the owner and the QB seem to be on the same page on the subject of Prescott as a runner.
They don't seem very bullish on it anymore.
“I’ve got to be smarter,” Prescott said last month after signing his new four-year $160 million contract. “Before the (2020 Week 5 season-ending ankle) injury, going back to high school I was told to be smarter on when I want to demonstrate my physicality or when I want to try to make a point in the game or change the momentum.
"(But) I have to be smarter. With this investment, with my health being jeopardized at a certain point, it makes a whole lot more sense to me about being smarter and why people have said that.''
So the "investment'' - the contract - means Dak is about to make more on-field "business decisions'' when it comes to running with the football?
We doubt that.
OK, so the Cowboys are going to suddenly retool their offense so Prescott doesn't run?
We doubt that, too.
Jones is worried, though, that if Dak continues to take hits, the Cowboys QB won't be around long enough to use all of his talents.
"I've always handicapped, to some degree, Dak,'' Jones told us, "because of the fact that he's so effective and has been in his career in the running game, and his ability to take it down and get the big play and get the yards. I've always known that he couldn't do that like that for long in the NFL.
"You can't do that.''
Jones cited one legendary quarterback of the past and one growing legend of the present to illustrate his case.
"Troy Aikman had a lot of mobility when he first came in his first couple years,'' Jones said of the Cowboys' three-time 1990's Super Bowl champion and Hall-of-Famer. "And, boy that stopped quickly (as) we got to where we had trouble just with his mobility, period, around the pocket.''
Aikman is an interesting example. He did indeed run less following his first couple of years in the league - but that's in part because he was running for his life. He still played like the "young bull'' Dak is now reminiscing about.
“Back in the day as a young bull, I guess it was very hard to understand,'' Prescott said of the instructions coaches gave him to be less reckless. "Now, on a (given) play like that, first down ... you’re sliding. But to say that the game’s on the line, it’s a first down or it’s the red zone, and I’m going there. That’s who I am. I don’t know if I can ever tone that down. And if I do, then y’all are changing who I am.''
So yes, the Cowboys will still use the read-option. And yes, Dak will still bust out of the pocket when there is an opening. And yes, he will still stand in the pocket and take a hit.
"But there are certain plays, there are certain times that I’ll be a much smarter player and decide when to not use my physicality during the run, just taking care of myself,'' he said, before mimicking exactly one of Jerry's favorite lines, accidentally suggesting just how much QB and owner are on the same page. "The best ability is durability, and I have to be there for my team.”