Dallas Cowboys QB Wade Wilson is the guy who gets a great deal of credit for "discovering'' Dak Prescott -- though he clearly desires to low-key that credit with an organization that, from top to bottom, has been good and lucky in the transition from Romo to the second-year standout Prescott. Here, we go 1-on-1 with Wilson on Dak, Romo, Kellen Moore, Colin Kaepernick ... and much more ...
What’s your short explanation on how the project turned into a Pro Bowler?
Well, I’ll tell you it was a long process, but what I would say about Dak, is that he’s way committed to everything that he does. He doesn’t do anything half way, and he got in as a rookie, and was like “I’m taking over” as his rookie group, and then just his work ethic, and all of his leadership skills, all that stuff came to the forefront, and then when he got his opportunity, he won over the veterans.
What was your first impression of Dak Prescott?
I get way too much credit. It’s a collaborative effort. I just want to make sure everybody knows that. But what I would say is that, he kind of had the IT factor. He was not intimidated by anything. Nothing was too big for him. Everything in Starkville, from the coaches, to the staff, to the trainers, we went downtown and had lunch, everybody loved this guy. Like, what’s wrong with him? EVERYBODY loves him. There’s got to be a dark side somewhere. But as we got him, and got to know him, we brought him in and put him on the board in Dallas, and he passed every test.
But really just the IT factor, and the way he carried himself, his composure, all of his intangibles, and then he translated those on to the field.
On his quick transition to an NFL quarterback
We had him early on, and his feet were kind of crazy and goofed up a little bit, and had never been under center, never called a play and learned all these words and what they mean, and “What am I supposed to do with all of that?”, and he said “Give me a week”. And that’s my favorite story with Dak Prescott. “Give me a week, and I’ll get my feet right, I’ll master the verbiage, and let’s go to work.”
What is Year 2 going to be like for Dak Prescott?
Well I think he’s going to get a lot more offseason work. Last year he didn’t have that much exposure into our offense in the offseason for sure. In training camp and after the first two guys got hurt, of course he got a lot. Just getting more reps, getting more adept at the offense, We’ll give him more on his plate that he can change at the line of scrimmage. Coach Linehan does a great job of playing to his strengths, so we’re going to shotgun a little bit more, do the zone read a little bit more, and he’s going to do stuff that he’s comfortable with. And I think that getting all of these reps, and doing all of these things over and over again, he’s just going to react, instead of just thinking a lot.
On the value of Dak Prescott’s weapons
Well I think it’s key. I mean, we loved Carson Wentz coming out, and to be perfectly honest, does he have what we have (in terms of offensive personnel)? I don’t think so, but that’s not slighting Dak to any stretch of the imagination. He comes in and he works, and he demands respect of the group, but if you have an offensive line, If you have a running game, if you have a tight end, you’ve got a slot receiver, you’ve got Dez at receiver, you’ve got Terrance at receiver, that is a lot of weapons. So I’m not saying it’s easy on Dak, but it’s better than some situations.
On Dak’s durability and his running ability
Well we talked about smart running, that’s what we talk about. Run and don’t take big hits. He took a couple of big hits last year, and we’re going to be selective when we ask him to run, but get what you can. My motto in the room is “Get what you can and get down.” We value you too much, so get what you can and get down, and go from there.
On whether he’s seen a smoother transition than the one from Tony Romo to Dak
No I’ve never anything quite like that. Tony was such an Icon and Tony was such a professional guy, but for a rookie to come in, and especially a rookie to come in, and win over the team and the locker room the way (Dak) did, was unbelievable. The same thing I would say about Tony. The way he handled it professionally was hard on him. There’s no doubt. I love Tony to death, I’ve been around him forever. It was hard on him, but he was extremely professional.
Team concepts overrode all personal agendas that were going on, so it was just a phenomenal season.
On an emergency Romo return being the plan on anyone’s mind.
You know it’s hard to say. Those conversations about Tony and “What’s he going to do, is he going to Houston, is he going to Denver, is he going into broadcasting?”, they were way above my floor, where I’m at. It’s fun to speculate about that, if Dak were to go down in week 2, would Tony come back? I don’t know the answer to that. I just don’t know. Do I think he’s capable of coming back and playing? Most definitely. Does he want to or what his commitment is to the network? I don’t know that, so it’s fun to think about, and it’s fun water-cooler topics to talk about, (even without) information to make a definitive answer on that.
On what his thoughts are about Kellen Moore leading the team if necessary
Well, he was our No. 2 last year if you remember, so we felt comfortable last year, I think we feel comfortable this year. He has shown no signs of slowing down from the injury, he’s a smart guy, he knows where to throw the ball, he’ll thrown it on time, he’ll throw it with anticipation. He’s been in the league a long time, he just hasn’t played a lot of games, so there’s a comfort level there. I do think that we need to create competition for him, and that’s at every position, but especially at the quarterback position. So because he hasn’t played, if there’s a veteran out there that we want to bring in and compete against him, I’d be all for that, but if not, I feel very comfortable about him going out there and playing.
Do you have any notion as to why Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job?
Personally, I do think it’s because of some of the stuff that he has done that will turn some teams off. Now is that fair or unfair? I don’t know. But I think it’s real, and you can put your head in the sand about that all you want. But I think he’s a talented guy. He’s taken a team to a Super Bowl, he has a ton of talent. Now does his personal agenda get over the team agenda? I don’t know that, and I haven’t been around him enough to know. But like I said I do think he’s talented enough to deserve a chance to be on a team.
On his toe infection last summer
I’ve been a diabetic for 30 years, I have to take excellent care of myself. I let some stuff slide, and got my toe cut off, and got a major infection in there, and it took on this whole life, and it was just crazy. So I had to get antibiotics dropped into my body for 24 hours a day for about four days, and deal with it, move on and get back to work. Jason Garrett asks if I've got bounce in my step and I tell him, '90 percent.'
Which quarterback has the best arm in the NFL?
I’m a big fan of Derek Carr, so I’ll say Derek Carr.
Who has the best brains in the NFL?
I’d have to go with Tom Brady
Who has the best mobility of the quarterbacks in the NFL?
That’s a tough on with all of the turnover in the NFL. Maybe Marcus Mariota?
You’ve been in it for (a long time), how long do you want to do this?
I’m enjoying it. I’ve been in Dallas, and if it works out and I can stay, I’d love to keep doing it. I mean I loved Romo, I love Dak, and if I can keep doing it here, I would continue doing it here. If I didn’t get retained here, and I had to make a decision about going somewhere else, I don’t know. It would have to be the right situation, because I could retire, and my kids would hate me because I’d be around way too often. I enjoy the game. I’m passionate about coaching, about playing, and about winning on Sundays.