Rodney Guin’s presence motivated Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott to explode on Sunday. And each time he saw Prescott run, Guin was taken back to Haughton, Louisiana, where the young quarterback went to school and where Guin was a coach. Prescott could always throw the ball, but since he was “bigger than our linemen” as Guin says, he could run better too.
The Cowboys played against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and Prescott had the most rushing attempts behind star running back Ezekiel Elliott and led Dallas to victory. And perhaps this victory will give the squad from Texas the boost they need. As for Dak, he finished the game with 11 carries for 82 yards, while his 17-yard TD run was impressive and it opened up the doors for the other Cowboys players to step up as well.
“He’s a little bit faster than when he played for me,” Guin said. “They got him in a little better shape than what we had him.”
With 82 yards on Sunday, Prescott has made the team history. It is the second most rushing yards by a quarterback, and he is just 8 yards behind Staubach’s 90 he achieved against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 14, 1971. Meanwhile, Dak had 11 carries which tied Steve Pelluer’s carry total against the Miami Dolphins. This record sits at the top position in Dallas history.
His runs differed through the entire game. Some of these were in the zone-reads, which was the one when he added six points on the scoreboard. The other ones were scrambles away from a collapsing pocket – the biggest of this kind was when he covered 28 yards in the third.
“They gave me the opportunity to [run],” Prescott said of the Jacksonville defense. “Honestly, we got a couple of good zone-reads in, breakdowns, and I was able to go. The guys did a good job blocking the perimeter. Other than that they played man coverage and I was able to get out of the pocket and get some green grass and just have some success out of it.”
At the beginning of this season, the Cowboys struggled. Ezekiel Elliott is indeed one of the best runners in the NFL, but his penetrations didn’t help Prescott with the passing game. Playing conventionally isn’t an option for the Cowboys, or so it seems. They need both Dak and Zeke to be running threats for the things to open up. In the second week against the Giants, the Dallas quarterback had another notable game when he recorded 45 yards from seven carries.
“Ever since he’s been here he’s been a guy who’s been able to make impact plays with his feet by design but also when plays break down,” head coach Jason Garrett said.
On Sunday, his running opened up passing opportunities which Prescott was glad to use. He had 17/27 passes completed for 183 yards, and 2 TD passes caught by Cole Beasley.
“Dak was unbelievable,” right guard Zach Martin said. “Running it, throwing it, controlling the offense. He was outstanding.”
Nobody expects Prescott to do it all, but can he keep it up with good performances? So far in the season, he had 34 carries and 203 yards. Just for comparison, he had 57 carries in each of the first two seasons and recorded 282 and 357 yards, respectively. Obviously, with Prescott running, the results are much better.
“We’ve got templates for that,” owner Jerry Jones said. “We had it last week there in Houston and then we had it in Carolina. They were able to have the quarterback make rushing yardage, and it compromised our defense, and we got a good defense.”
Jones is happy to see Prescott run.
“Yes, I am. I’d rather see him running like that and sliding than getting chipped and nipped away at the ankles and the sacks that come in with what’s in that pocket,” Jones said. “I’m fine with that. That will basically cause us to open it up. We don’t have to rely on that because we’ve got Zeke when we’re at full bore out there. Our antidote for [Dak] is really directly Zeke. We don’t have to depend on a lot of downfield connections for those two. You can hand it off to him or you can keep it.”
Meanwhile, Prescott and Guin still have an excellent relationship. “I wouldn’t be in this position without coach,” Prescott said. And Guin will continue to support the up-and-coming star.