Dak speaks on Zeke return, Lamb and 2024 focus

May 2, 2024


FRISCO, Texas — One can only wonder what the future of Dak Prescott holds — an All-Pro quarterback and NFL MVP runner-up who couldn’t be more clear about his goal of retiring with the Dallas Cowboys, and the sentiment is mutual from the organization’s side of the equation, but currently without a contract beyond the 2024 season.

That’s now what’s on his mind at the moment, however.

“It’s still conversations,” said the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. “I’m aware of everything [owner and general manager Jerry Jones] said and everything he said is dead-on — communication has been back-and-forth. … At the end of the day, I’ve talked about [how] this is where I wanna be, but my focus is on helping my team. It’s as simple as that.

“… I’m just focused on helping this team and being the best I can [be] and get better.”

A large part of what will help Prescott and the Cowboys improve isn’t solely his arm though, but also in re-establishing a dominant rushing attack that was, to head coach Mike McCarthy’s admission, below the bar of expectation in the one year without Elliott on the roster.

As Elliott takes his newly-acquired No. 15 and puts a fresh face on his return to the Cowboys for 2024, he does so with plenty of motivation to help Prescott and the offense ascend.

And Prescott, a longtime close friend of his fellow 2016 draftmate, is elated Elliott and the team could come to terms on a reunion deal.

“I’m super excited,” said Prescott. “It’s from my experience as a brother but, in this case, as a teammate. What he brings to the team — the locker room alone, and the culture he sets — he’s a guy that does everything the right way. He’s a guy, with us bringing guys in, that people can follow and watch. I know the threat that he’s gonna provide.

“He’s a big-time threat.”

One of the items that will make Elliott valuable is his ability to mentor younger running backs, much like he did for several seasons with Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle — the latter re-signing on a one-year deal to ultimately be Elliott’s complement for the season to come.

“To see his focus, to see his intensity, to see the way that he practices, it’s something every young guy should follow — the way he goes about his business on the field is gonna be huge for this team,” Prescott said of Elliott.

Another side of the equation for the rushing attack is a fairly obvious one: the state of the offensive line.

With future Hall of Fame left tackle Tyron Smith now taking residence with the New York Jets, the Cowboys used a first- and third-round pick in 2024 to acquire left tackle Tyler Guyton and offensive lineman Cooper Beebe, respectively. They’ll be expected to step in and start immediately to resolve the losses of Smith and starting center Tyler Biadasz to free agency.

Prescott believes they can.

“When you get linemen who can protect, you get excited,” he said of the two rookie offensive lineman. “You see a guy like Tyler Guyton, you see how big he is, I’m excited to add that. Get him in there with guys like Zack Martin, guys for him to follow … and [then Cooper Beebe]. You get another guy inside in the third round that can help us.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things [about] him from the pros in the draft… I thought it was a good draft. We definitely handled things that we needed to.”

Things didn’t end the way Prescott and the Cowboys had hoped when the train flew off of the rails against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium during the wild card matchup, but it’s also true that it was a 12-win team that lifted CeeDee Lamb to historic heights and Prescott to a career-best season; and that was despite the struggles with the rushing attack.

So what is next for the offense as it enters Year 2 of McCarthy’s playcalling?

“To continue to get better,” said Prescott. “We scratched the surface, in the sense of this was our first year with Mike calling the show [on offense]. [We] continued to improve all year long. All the great things we had last year, to take it into game plan earlier in the offseason for things that may come up during the season.

“It’s gonna prepare us [better] in the details and prevent us from having to make adjustments late. Another year is gonna be special.”

And as for the elephant in the room — namely Lamb’s absence at voluntary conditioning as he awaits a new contract?

Prescott isn’t pressed over the matter, in any way, shape or form.

“We’re roommates all of July, so if that’s the case, that’ll be fine,” he said. “No worries. I know what he’s doing. I know how he’s preparing.

“… All confidence in the way he’s preparing and how he’s doing.”

With so much on the line for Prescott, McCarthy and many others going into the 2024 season, the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback seems locked in not on contract talks or even what happened this past January, but instead on the fact everything remains in front of him.

And he’s staring through the windshield with the pedal to the floor.