With Dallas returning to Coliseum, a look back at Dak Prescott’s debut

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Updated: August 12, 2017

Aug 11, 2017

OXNARD, Calif. — Perhaps as quarterback Dak Prescott walks down the tunnel at the Los Angeles Coliseum he will take a moment to reflect on how things have changed since playing there a summer ago.

On Aug. 13, 2016, Prescott was a fourth-round draft pick trying to make the Dallas Cowboys’ roster, trying to convince the powers that be he could be Tony Romo‘s backup and there was no need to look for a veteran even with Kellen Moore out for the season.

As he returns to the Coliseum to face the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Prescott is the Cowboys’ quarterback of the present and future, coming off one of the most historical seasons a rookie has had in the NFL.

If the Cowboys knew any of this then, of course, they never would have flirted with the possibility of trading back into the first round to take Paxton Lynch or trading up in later rounds to take Connor Cook. They would not have waited until the 135th overall pick to take Prescott.

But on that night at the Coliseum, Prescott gave the Cowboys a glimpse of what was to come.

The atmosphere

Prescott’s night ended after one half. He completed 10 of 12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. His two incompletions were on drops. The Cowboys lost 28-24, but Prescott was the story.

Prescott: “I think it was important. I think it showed some significance in the fact it was the first game experience they got to see me play with the offense. I mean, I had plenty of scrimmages and live reps out here, but the first game experience with the crowd, a huge crowd out there in the Coliseum, it was a pretty good performance and I think it gave them confidence in believing in me and pushing further.”

Executive vice president Stephen Jones: “We just felt really good about our situation there after Dak did that. He was going to deserve to have every opportunity to have that backup spot, short of him not continuing to at least play pretty well the remaining preseason games. We were going to be real comfortable with him being No. 2 for us.”

The aftermath

Not two weeks later, Romo suffered a compression fracture in his back and Prescott was the starter. He played so well that the franchise’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes played just one series in the regular season.

The Cowboys had the NFC’s best record at 13-3. Prescott threw 23 touchdown passes and was intercepted four times. He ran for six scores. He was named to the Pro Bowl and earned the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

The walk down the tunnel Saturday night might not feel different for Prescott but it will for just about everybody else.

Witten: “I don’t know if there’s a better example of how quickly you can have an opportunity and take advantage of it like Dak did last year. I’ve been really pleased with his approach so far. He’s continued to focus and understand that, ‘Hey, there’s things I need to try to do better at.’ When your quarterback has that approach and going into his second year it really is motivating. It pushes you to want to do better, and he deserves a lot of credit for his approach.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/dallas-cowboys/post/_/id/4761286/with-dallas-returning-to-coliseum-a-look-back-at-dak-prescotts-2016-debut