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Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

Quar­ter­back Dak Prescott en­ters his sec­ond sea­son with the Dal­las Cow­boys, who held their first prac­tice Mon­day in Ox­nard, Calif. Prescott took over for Tony Romo at quar­ter­back and led the Cow­boys to the NFC East cham­pi­onship a year ago. Dal­las faces the Ari­zona Car­di­nals in its first ex­hi­bi­tion game Aug. 3 in the Hall of Fame Game in Can­ton, Ohio.

OX­NARD, Calif. — Jerry Jones never looked for­ward to the day Tony Romo wouldn’t be part of the Dal­las Cow­boys.

Just a year ago at this time Jones talked about Romo ex­tend­ing his ca­reer an­other five years.

But life with­out Romo is far more com­fort­able than Jones ever thought. That is in large part due to Dak Prescott, who filled Romo’s void by putting to­gether ar­guably the best rookie sea­son by a quar­ter­back in NFL his­tory.

“A lot more com­fort­able than I ever thought I would be this time last year or be­yond not hav­ing Romo,” Jones said dur­ing his news con­fer­ence to open train­ing camp.

“So that has ev­ery­thing to do with the year that Dak had and more im­por­tantly the way Dak is ap­proach­ing this year. It is a re­ally good feel­ing. I am ex­cited about the fans ex­cite­ment about Dak. All of that makes this a lot more palat­able and a lot more com­fort­able than I thought I would ever be with­out hav­ing Romo in this short a time span not on the team.”

Romo, who walked away from the game and into CBS Sports’ broad­cast booth this off­sea­son, left the Cow­boys as the fran­chise leader in pass­ing yards (34,183), pass­ing touch­downs (248), passer rat­ing (97.1), com­ple­tion per­cent­age (65.3) and most 3,000-yard pass­ing sea­sons (seven).

But Prescott is the fu­ture and it is bright. Prescott is com­ing off a sea­son in which he led the Cow­boys to a 13-3 record with 3,667 pass­ing yards, 23 touch­downs and 4 in­ter­cep­tions.

The Cow­boys brass at the news con­fer­ence praised Prescott through­out and are ex­pect­ing him to be­come even bet­ter in Year 2. They have no con­cerns about Prescott’s new-found fame that in­cluded do­ing sev­eral en­dorse­ment

deals in the off­sea­son.

“I’m just amazed with how he han­dles him­self,” ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Stephen Jones said. “I would want to en­dorse him be­cause he rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing you want. At the same time, he’s very clear from my un­der­stand­ing with spon­sors be­cause I’ve talked to them be­cause he rep­re­sents some of the same com­pa­nies that spon­sor the Cow­boys that are our part­ners and he’s al­ways very clear with them that foot­ball is first. He’s got an in­sa­tiable ap­petite to want to get bet­ter.

“He un­der­stands more than any­body that teams are go­ing to study his tape, our tape up­side down all around in terms of un­der­stand­ing how we were able to have suc­cess with Dak. He knows he’s got to take his game to an­other level. He and the staff have worked hard to get bet­ter. He should. Look at any quar­ter­back in the NFL, usu­ally the great ones get bet­ter each year. I think he ex­pects that from him­self.”

AP/MICHAEL OWEN BAKER

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