'It's For Real Now': Cowboys & Dak Move To Regular Season

Mike Fisher
August 31, 2018 - 3:05 pm
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sport

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HOUSTON (105.3 The Fan) - The visitor's locker room door remained closed for an unusually long time following the Dallas Cowboys before the media was allowed in to quiz the participants of a 14-6 preseason-ending loss to the Texans.

Maybe the extra moments was required so quarterback Dak Prescott could deliver a message.

"It's for real now," the young leader told his teammates.

Let's not waste too much time what happens in the regular season when a team goes 0-4 in the exhibition season (answer: nothing, necessarily) or what happens in the regular season when a team fails to score many points in the exhibition season (answer: nothing, necessarily).

A winless Dallas preseason has a recent historical precedent of being literally meaningless. The Cowboys went 0-4 in 2014, and followed that up with a 12-4 regular-season roll.

For fun, it's worth nothing that one preseason ago, the Browns were 4-0 in the preseason but finished 0-16 in the real games.

So, no, this Dallas preseason had its substance. There is Saturday's cut to 53 and the shuffling that will ensue. There was the bubblewrap protection of stars like Ezekiel Elliott (who didn't play at all) and Tyron Smith and Sean Lee -- Lee mostly missing from a first-team defense that was superb in its limited exhibition game work and in training camp in Oxnard as well.

Prescott being the guy who spoke in the locker room is not insignificant. The torch has been passed, from an era that once featured DeMarcus Ware leaving and then Tony Romo leaving and now Jason Witten and Dez Bryant being gone.

Prescott was the  2016 Rookie of the Year and needs to reclaim that level of performance for Dallas to succeed this year. But he'll have All-Pro running back Elliott back and no six-game suspension this year, he'll have a mostly healthy compliment of offensive mates (sadly, though, no Travis Frederick due to that autoimmune illness), and he'll have the best defense the Cowboys have boasted in a decade.

Earlier this spring, Cowboys COO Stephen Jones made very clear the team's desire for Prescott to blossom into a superstar who will deserve to be paid that way.

“I just want Dak to go out and be MVP this year of the NFL," Stephen said. "That’s what I want."

The opportunity for that level of accomplishment, for this player and his team? It's for real now.