INDIANAPOLIS — The 2023 season will be Dak Prescott’s eighth as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback, and despite Prescott winning just two playoff games, executive vice president Stephen Jones still believes Prescott can take the franchise to its first Super Bowl since 1995.
“I’ve got all the faith in the world we can win this thing with Dak,” Jones said from the scouting combine in Indianapolis.
“Because we know him. We know what he’s about. His leadership skills are undeniable. Impeccable work ethic,” Jones said. “Other than he hadn’t won some key playoff games, he’s everything you want in a quarterback. From the day he walked in the door, he’s won a lot of games. We just got to get over the hump.”
With coach Mike McCarthy becoming the offensive playcaller in 2023, the Cowboys believe that will be a big help to Prescott, who tied for the most interceptions in the NFL with 15 last season despite missing five games with a fractured right thumb, in getting over the bump.
Kellen Moore served as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator from 2019 to ’22 and is now with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Cowboys finished 11th in yards and fourth in points per game in 2022. Brian Schottenheimer will be the offensive coordinator in 2023, but McCarthy will call the plays, similar to the setup he had during almost all of his tenure with the Green Bay Packers.
“Obviously he’s the head coach of this football team, and he made a compelling argument that making him the playcaller was going to help us,” Jones said. “I mean that’s part of the coaching, be one click better. He feels good about it. He’s had a lot of success as a playcaller. And he’s observed for three years. I think he’s been a super leader in that aspect in terms of having the respect for Kellen and the offensive group working with Dak, that that was the better way of doing it. I think he believes now, although they believe in a lot of things the same, there’s that 15-20% that they don’ t. And I think that Mike just thinks that they’ll do more with the way he wants to do it [and] that we’ll be a better offensive football team.”
Jones believes there will be a noticeable change in the offense, especially considering the Cowboys were largely in the same system from 2007 to ’22.
“I just think it’s some of it’s the fundamentals, how you block it, how you coordinate and marry the run game to the pass game, what your pass game is philosophically, what your run game is philosophically,” Jones said. “… I think people will notice. Now, we’ve been a good offensive football team. That’s the scary part. But we just hadn’t been able to make the plays when it got right down to it in the playoffs. “
Prescott is set to count $49.2 million against the 2023 salary cap. He is signed through 2024. If the Cowboys restructure Prescott’s contract this year, they can create up to $22 million in cap space. With an extension, they could create even more room.
“We’ve got to have a plan to ultimately extend Dak,” Jones said.
Jones believes the Cowboys have a high-level defense highlighted by coordinator Dan Quinn, edge player Micah Parsons, cornerback Trevon Diggs and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. On offense, they have questions either through the cap or free agency that they have to answer, with the likes of running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, tackle Tyron Smith and tight end Dalton Schultz.
“Offensively, we’ve just got to have, maybe add a playmaker to it,” Jones said. “Add a little juice. Add a playmaker to it and see if we can do that.”