Cowboys' Dak Prescott Isn't Your Average Rookie Quarterback

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The Ravens chased Browns third-round rookie quarterback Cody Kessler out of the game just after halftime last Thursday night.

It won't be that easy this week – even if Tony Romo is waiting on the sideline. 

The Dallas Cowboys' Dak Prescott is not your average rookie starting quarterback.

Prescott is under center for the team with the best record in the NFL (8-1). He's thrown just two interceptions to 14 touchdowns and has the league's fourth-best quarterback rating.

While the Cowboys' ground game has been their calling card, Prescott has efficiently piloted a passing offense ranked 17th in the NFL and the league's No. 3-ranked unit overall.

"I don't know after nine games if he is considered a rookie anymore," Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said.

"This guy has seen a bunch of stuff now. They played three divisional teams that you know throw everything at them at they can throw at them and nobody has rattled him. I don't even look at him as a rookie. I look at him just as another quarterback that's an excellent, excellent talent."

Prescott became the Cowboys' starter after Romo suffered a preseason back injury. It's somewhat similar to how quarterback Joe Flacco became the Ravens' starter back in 2008. A preseason injury gave him his chance, and Flacco didn't give the job back.

That's the case in Dallas, where Romo gave a speech this week about how Prescott has "earned the right to be our quarterback."

The Ravens defense will want to make Dallas Head Coach Jason Garrett ponder whether to give his veteran Pro Bowler a chance if Prescott starts to struggle versus the Ravens' No. 1-ranked unit.

While Prescott has done a good job of protecting the football, Baltimore's defense has morphed into a turnover machine thanks to their improved speed. The Ravens notched a league- and franchise-low six interceptions last year, but already have 11 this season, tied for the second most in the league.

"They are a great defense," Prescott said. "I don't think the stats lie when you watch the film. I don't feel like they do anything crazy schematically, but it is because they have great players and they can keep everything in front of them."

When a reporter asked Prescott about how he's balanced being aggressive while not having many turnovers so far, Prescott chuckled a bit.

"Did you say we have not had many turnovers yet?" he said, emphasizing his final word. "I know you are with the Ravens and all, but it is just that we have a great offense.

"It starts with our offensive coordinator [Scott Linehan], and Coach Linehan does a great job of putting me in plays that I am comfortable with and allowing me to play within my strengths. I have playmakers all around me and Pro Bowl guys who have been doing well in this league for a long time. My job is easy when you have those guys around you."

Prescott is right. The Cowboys have three first-round picks on their offensive line. He has fellow standout rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott behind him. That group has combined to become the league's No. 1-ranked rushing attack, taking pressure of Prescott's shoulders.

Prescott also has two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant and 10-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten to throw to.

In the end, it may be more about taking away Prescott's targets, and putting it on the rookie's shoulders to beat the Ravens defense.

"I think they have an offense that fits the way they play; that fits their game," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said of Dallas' leading rookies of Prescott and Elliott.

"They are having success with it. Like you guys said, they have a very good offensive line. It is a very good thing to see, and it is going to be fun to play against; to compete against."

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