Dak Prescott 'Is the Keystone' of Cowboys, Head Coach Mike McCarthy Says

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2021

Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott (4) is checked on by head coach Mike McCarthy after taking a hit from the Atlanta Falcons in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy knows how important it was for the team to lock Dak Prescott into a long-term deal.

"Dak is the keystone of this team," McCarthy told reporters. "I'm excited about year two on offense. In a lot of ways, we didn't feel like we got to have a year one."

McCarthy said the Cowboys are still looking for a veteran backup quarterback since Andy Dalton moved to the Chicago Bears, but the coach is pleased with Prescott's leadership.

"His presence and natural leadership ability is something that will continue to grow," McCarthy said. "You'll see that in the locker room."

Dallas was just 6-10 in McCarthy's first year, but Prescott's compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle were the primary reasons for the struggles.

He appeared in just five games, and John Keim of ESPN noted the Cowboys were first in yards per game and third in points with Prescott under center and 27th in yards and 23rd in points without him last year.

It comes as no surprise the team was so effective with Prescott, considering he already has two Pro Bowl appearances and an Offensive Rookie of the Year through five years.

He threw for 4,902 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2019, marking the fourth straight year he finished with more than 3,300 passing yards.

While it was fair to wonder about Prescott's long-term health following such a serious injury, the Cowboys signed him to a four-year, $160 million extension this offseason and ensured he will be the quarterback of the future.

McCarthy is clearly happy with that decision.