While a number of NFL pundits have been high on the offseason the Philadelphia Eagles have had, there's been less public enthusiasm about their NFC East rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, heading into the 2022 campaign.
And Dak Prescott is using that as motivation.
"Where we are right now, it's all excitement. It is," he told reporters Thursday. "It's truly a privilege to be the quarterback of this team, to be a leader of these guys, offense, defense, this coaching staff that we have. And yeah, especially with everything being said about us—you know what I mean?—the lack of what we have, keep writing, keep talking. We're ready to go play."
Here's a smattering of what is being written and said about Prescott's Cowboys heading into the season:
NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL
As much as it hurts <a href="https://twitter.com/mspears96?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mspears96</a>, he's taking the Eagles in the NFC East 😂 <br><br>"Y'all know I be telling the truth when it comes to the Cowboys. It just seems like too much to overcome." <a href="https://t.co/mndjXdFWs4">pic.twitter.com/mndjXdFWs4</a>
John Clark @JClarkNBCS
“To me, the Eagles now would be the favorite to win the division”<br><br>-NFL analyst Ross Tucker after seeing Cowboys lose LT Tyron Smith after losing La’el Collins, Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory in offseason<br><br>🎧Podcast with <a href="https://twitter.com/RossTuckerNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RossTuckerNFL</a> on Eagles ⬇️<a href="https://t.co/2DH3zYwmfw">https://t.co/2DH3zYwmfw</a> <a href="https://t.co/kHWDG6gZoU">pic.twitter.com/kHWDG6gZoU</a>
RJ Ochoa @rjochoa
The Eagles last won a playoff game the exact same year the Cowboys did. Philly also won *a Super Bowl* the year before.<br><br>Philadelphia's roster is head and shoulders above Dallas' right now AND they have far more draft capital than them.<br><br>They are much more elite thinkers/doers. <a href="https://t.co/yNGw6pAGK0">https://t.co/yNGw6pAGK0</a>
It's hard not to acknowledge that, at least on paper, the Eagles had a better offseason than the Cowboys. Philly addressed major needs at wide receiver (A.J. Brown), edge-rusher (Hasson Redick), cornerback (James Bradberry), safety (Chauncey Gardner-Johnson) while adding solid defensive players in the draft like interior lineman Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean.
After going 9-8 and sneaking into the playoffs last season, the Eagles look poised to make a jump, at least if Jalen Hurts can take another positive step as the team's starting quarterback.
That's a position that isn't in question for the Cowboys, with Prescott under center, but the Cowboys lost a number of key contributors this offseason, including wideouts Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, guard La'el Collins and edge-rusher Randy Gregory, among others.
And this week's news that star offensive tackle Tyron Smith was going on injured reserve with an avulsion fracture to his knee, an injury expected to keep him out for months, has only caused additional concerns in Dallas.
Add in the uncertain return of wideout Michael Gallup from a torn ACL, and the Cowboys are a little thin at key positions.
The team still have has a talented young roster, with young stars like CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons ready to take on even bigger roles. This is still a core group that went 12-5 last season.
But it's hard to ignore that, at least on paper, the Eagles appeared to close the gap, if not surpass the Cowboys, this offseason.
Just don't tell Prescott that.
"It's definitely time for us to go back-to-back winning this division, getting to the playoffs, things that you said haven't been done in my career and hadn't been done in a long time," he said. "That's how you make those steps. You got to compile good years on top of good years to make those runs to give yourself a good chance. We got a good team. We got a great team, great coaching, great organization. Now it's time not to have any lapse, be better than we were last year and take the next step on top of last year."