FRISCO, Texas – Evolution, says Drew Brees, is “day and night.”
The 20-year-old NFL quarterback who retired this spring to join the NFL broadcast and NBC college football team sees quarterback Dak Prescott and thinks: He’s a quarterback among the first five. He is a quarterback whose game has flourished since his rookie year in 2016.
“He’s now at a level where he feels like he’s in complete control,” Brees told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday, speaking about the Mexico Lawyers Big Game campaign. “There isn’t a look he’s going to see that he hasn’t prepared or that he hasn’t seen before. So when you get to that point, there’s just a whole new level of confidence. “
Confidence is a trait the Cowboys have attributed to Prescott on several occasions this season. His allure coming back from a fracture and dislocation of the ankle to start the year? Confident. Teammates’ belief in their ability to win – the Cowboys have won six in a row – with Prescott on the field? Confident.
With Prescott returning from a one-game absence due to calf strain, offensive and defensive players are confident.
“It brings a lot of confidence, honestly,” said cornerback Trevon Diggs, who leads the league with seven interceptions. “We follow him. All. When he’s there you know it’s time to go. When he trains he is going to train at a high level, so the defense has to train at a high level. It brings everyone together.
“He’s our leader. Our leader.
Prescott enters Sunday’s game with Denver 4-4 on a four-game streak to throw at least three touchdowns. His 73.1% completion percentage leads the league while the Cowboys have the most yards per game (454.9) and the third most points (32.1). Prescott threw for 1,813 yards and 16 touchdowns on four interceptions in six games.
“I admire the way he plays the game,” Brees said. “Tough. Physical.”
It was that physique, Prescott admits, that caused him to miss last week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings as he rested his calf. Prescott remembered how unbridled he played on Wednesday, when he rushed and rolled in his first snap despite the alleged period of his calf ramping up.
“I thought about it and thought to myself, ‘I probably shouldn’t have done this on my first rep,’” Prescott said. “That’s why I didn’t play last week. Because I don’t think about it and I’m not going to think about it. I will think about everything it takes to win the game.
Instead, Brees said, Prescott has recovered from the devastating injury to play with more precision and efficiency. Panthers coach Matt Rhule compared Prescott’s notoriety to that of Brees.
“You have an injury like him, and I think it forces you to play the game a little bit differently, but I see that as being positive for Dak,” Brees said. “I see a guy who has a great mastery of offense in the caucus, a great understanding of offense, protections, guys he throws at. So everything he does is very decisive. The balloon comes out on time, it goes to the right place. “
The Cowboys hope these benefits extend to playoff success, with the franchise conference championship drought dating back to the 1995 season. Brees, whose partnership with Avocados From Mexico Big Game will give consumers a chance to give a home a makeover. $ 100,000 smart, knows how hard the leap is to make. He played 18 playoff games in his career and won nine. But only once did Brees win a championship. How can the Cowboys go from regular season success to the playoffs?
“You want to play your best football by the end of the year,” Brees said. “You want to try to stay as healthy as possible. And you try to take breaks along the way.
Brees burst out laughing.
“That’s the best way to describe it.”
Next in the march to the playoffs: The Cowboys host the Broncos, who have the league’s second best defense with 17.1 points allowed. Broncos safety Kareem Jackson acknowledged Prescott’s “great arm talent” and his ability to “keep the game alive as well.” Head coach Vic Fangio wondered how Prescott’s physical and mental abilities had not been more clearly identified before his entry into the league.
“How does this guy hold up until the fourth round?” Fangio wondered to Prescott. “There you go. Someone is diving into it.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein