(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Ron Jaworski interview, log on to the following attachment: Ep 34: Ron Jaworski Joins TheShow (spreaker.com))
Ron Jaworski knows quarterbacks.
He played the position. He studies the position. And he once was the NFL’s highest-paid player at the position. So who better to consult on the latest highest-paid quarterback – the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott – than the former star quarterback and ESPN analyst?
Prescott this week signed a four-year, $160-million deal that includes $126 million in guarantees, making him the highest-paid player at signing – a spot once occupied (if only for weeks) by Jaworski after he gained a new contract with Philadelphia in 1981.
At the time, he was coming off a season where he was the NFC’s Player of the Year and took the Eagles to their first Super Bowl. By contrast, Prescott is coming off a season where he missed all but five games with a severe ankle injury, is 10-11 the past two seasons, and is in the midst of a career where he’s been to the playoffs twice, with a 1-2 record.
So the obvious question: Are the Cowboys wise to empty the vaults for him? Or, as Jaworski was asked on this week’s “Eye Test for Two” podcast, “Is this guy someone you feel confident could take you to a Super Bowl?”
“Yeah, I do,” he said. “I think he has that kind of ability. The only area that I question about Dak has been his repetitive accuracy. He can make all the throws, but I think he misses too many throws that you have to make to really be a world-champion NFL quarterback.”
When Prescott sat down in 2020 he was having the most productive season of his five-year career, averaging 371.2 yards passing per game, completing a career-best 68 percent of his throws and on pace to produce a career-high 38 TDs rushing and passing over a 16-game season.
That’s the good news. The bad: When he exited Dallas was 2-3 and never recovered, missing the playoffs for the third time in his career. Now that he’s back … no, now that he’s signed a gazillion-dollar deal … the expectations are enormous, with Prescott expected to stay in the lineup and drive the Cowboys to their first playoff appearance in three years.
Jaworski understands. Which is why he offers cautionary advice to the Dallas quarterback.
“I’d like guys to play from the pocket, to hone their skills from the pocket,” said Jaworski. “Sometimes we look at too much of the run-around guys … the Patrick Mahomeses (for instance). Not that it’s not the way to play the game, but Patrick Mahomes, as you guys know, in the Super Bowl got his butt kicked. That Buccaneer defense hit him on every play.
“Now, he makes all these incredible, Sports Center highlight films and all that; I just don’t think for the long-term that’s how you play the position. You are going to get hurt. Where did Dak get hurt? Running outside the pocket, going down the field.
“You get hurt when you play the game. But I like to see quarterbacks who eliminate those whacks that you get in the course of the game, and I think at times Dak may leave a little too early from the pocket. As his game goes on … and now that he’s had that year to sit and watch other guys play that position … I think he’ll benefit from it. But he clearly is a Top 10 quarterback.”