Dallas Cowboys: How Dak Prescott is using his master’s degree in workforce leadership to captain Cowboys

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Kristi Scales, the sideline reporter for the Dallas Cowboys radio network, answered questions about the team during a live chat recently. Here are some highlights. 

On Dak Prescott’s leadership:

Scales: Dak Prescott is only a second-year player, but he’s already a team captain for the Dallas Cowboys. The fact that he’s a leader so soon in his career is not a surprise when you know that leadership is something he’s intensely studied for years.  In fact, he’s a master at it. He hold a master’s degree from Mississippi State in Workforce Leadership.

“My undergrad is in psychology and my master’s is in workforce leadership and obviously they work together,” says Dak. “Psychology is reading the mind and learning about how the mind works and learning about yourself and how to influence and motivate other people. And moving onto my master’s, the Workforce Leadership took those previous classes to another step of leadership in the workplace and leadership within in a diverse culture and diverse group.

“There are definitely things I learned either in my undergrad or my master’s in dealing with people from all different backgrounds, dealing with people from different beliefs, and people that are motivated differently. The easy example is that some people are motivated when you scream at them, others are motivated when you tell them ‘Let’s Go!’ and try to pump them up.

“That’s one of the main lessons I’ve used as a team captain and as a quarterback. Which guy can I scream at and kind of challenge him to do better? And which guy do I need to pick up and tap on the back and he’ll do better? It’s interesting finding those traits and applying what I’ve learned.”

On Dan Bailey’s accuracy: 

Scales: Cowboys’ team captain Dan Bailey played in his 100th career NFL game last Sunday versus the Rams at AT&T Stadium. He kicked a 34-yard field goal to give him 177 successful field goals in 100 games.  That’s tied with Dan Carpenter for third-most by an NFL kicker in his first 100 games behind only Jan Stenerud (180) and Mike Vanderjagt (179).

But when it comes to accuracy, nobody is ahead of Bailey.  His career field-goal percentage is 89.8 percent (177 of 197), just ahead of Justin Tucker (89.1%).

Nobody does his job better than Bailey.  So far this season, he’s tied for first in field-goal percentage (100 percent) and ranks 18th in points (28).

Question:  Which Cowboys player has been the biggest disappointment so far this season?

Scales: He is not a “disappointment” individually by any means, and credit opposing defenses for match-ups and making this receiver less of a factor through the first four games, but I think all of Cowboys Nation is ready for an extra helping of “sauce” from Cole Beasley in this Cowboys offense.

Getting Cole Beasley involved heavily again will help with the problem of third-down conversions.  The remaining schedule features weaker secondaries and Beasley will once again be the matchup nightmare, so his numbers will improve.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett noted in his Wednesday press conference that “Bease gets lots of attention” and “one of the ways to combat that is to take advantage with other guys.”

Question:  Will it be time to hit the panic button if the Cowboys lose to the Packers on Sunday? Yeah, they have Aaron Rodgers, but that team is BANGED UP!

Scales: It won’t be time to hit the panic button, but that’s only because the NFC East is so competitive that I don’t see any team running away in the division.  Also, the Cowboys have their bye week following Sunday’s visit by the Packers.  The bye allows for self-scouting.  There’s extra time to identify, address, and fix deficiencies.  

On Alfred Morris: Alfred Morris made the longest run of his career in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, a 70-yard scamper which set up a Cowboys’ touchdown.  It was a big play, the biggest of the season for Morris who has only sux carries in four games.

“I’m always ready,” Morris says of staying patient while waiting his turn as Zeke Elliott’s backup.  “You’re always one-play-away from playing, so you always have to be ready.  You have to prepare and approach every day as if you’re the starter. 

“I was just thankful for the opportunity.  That was the longest run of my career.  I thank God for the opportunity because the week before I got zero (run opportunities).  I wanted to make the most of it.”

One of the reasons Morris is a beloved teammate is his positive attitude.  That attitude serves him well as he waits for more carries/touches.

“I have fun whether I’m playing or not on the sidelines.  If you ever look on the sidelines, you’ll see a Kool-Aid smile on my face.  And it’s genuine, it’s real.  So I wouldn’t say my 70-yard run was a confidence boost, but I do appreciate the opportunity to get in and have a successful run.  I wish I would have finished it (with a touchdown).”

On the Packers’ red zone offense: 

Scales: The Packers offense is red hot in the red zone. They enter Week 5’s big matchup with the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium with the No. 1 red zone offense in the NFL. The Pack is scoring a touchdown on 78.6 percent of their trips to the red zone. 

But to borrow a phrase from Bill Parcells, there are two sides to that pancake.  The Packers’ defense is awful in the red zone. The Pack has allowed touchdowns on 77.8 percent of opponents’ trips to the red zone. That’s second-to-worst in the NFL (31).

The Cowboys offense, meanwhile, is managing touchdowns on just 57.1 percent of its trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line…that’s tied for 15th in the NFL.

The Cowboys defense is faring better in the red zone (I know it doesn’t seem that way, but they are). So far through four games, the Cowboys have allowed a touchdown on only 46.2 percent of red-zone trips; that’s good enough to crack the top 10 in NFL rankings (10th). 

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