Brian Billick on what makes Cowboys’ Prescott so “special”


Talk of Fame Network

Before this season, former coach Brian Billick said he didn’t see where the Cleveland Browns would win a game. It wasn’t necessarily that he thought they’d go winless. He simply said he couldn’t find a victory on the schedule.

Now, months later, the Browns are 0-12, and Billick looks like Nostradamus.

billick-jpegSo we thought we would check in with the NFL Network analyst to get his take on Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott; basically, to have him explain how someone who was the eighth quarterback and 135th player taken in this year’s draft has won 10 straight games and put the Cowboys in the NFL penthouse.

So how do you explain it?

“You don’t,” Billick said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “Because Dak Prescott was taken where he was rated out. And it wasn’t just the Cowboys. I always half-jokingly say, ‘Look, before you give them too much credit, the Cowboys passed on him for three rounds, too.’

“It’s kind of like Tom Brady. You can give credit to the New England Patriots, but that means that they passed on a Hall of Famer for five rounds like everybody else. Dak Prescott was drafted where he was rated out, and the league saw it that way.”

Except Brady was a conventional drop-back quarterback who served one year as Drew Bledsoe’s understudy. Prescott is a rookie who wasn’t expected to play … much less start … until or unless the Cowboys ran out of options at quarterback.

25 August 2016: Ryan Russell (99) of the Dallas Cowboys during their 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

And when Tony Romo was injured in preseason, that’s exactly what happened. Like Brady in 2001, Prescott stepped in immediately and made an impact. After losing his first start, he won his next 10 and is the NFL’s third-rated quarterback, behind only Brady and Matt Ryan.

“How do you account for him?” Billick asked. “How do you account for a Russell Wilson going in the third round? What we didn’t see and what were now seeing with this young man … certainly he had physical tools coming out of the offense he had in Mississippi State … (but) you had no idea that this guy was going to, one, be so calm in the pocket; that his fundamentals were going to be so solid; (and) that he was going to have the vision that he does.

“Now, yes, it’s nice to have the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to have to hand the ball off to, but that doesn’t detract from the guy. He’s just special. And the calmness … the other day when we saw the big game that they had against Pittsburgh, everybody was still saying, ‘Well,  it’s because of the things he can do outside the pocket.’ He didn’t run for a single yard against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He did what he did from the pocket.

“And that’s what surprises me the most. Not that he would be productive and do some things with his legs, but the fact that he’s so proficient from the pocket … nobody could see that coming.”

(Brian Billick photos courtesy Baltimore Ravens; Dak Prescott photo courtesy Dallas Cowboys)
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