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Prescott responds to Irvin, says Cowboys close to Super Bowl

By Alex Butler
Prescott responds to Irvin, says Cowboys close to Super Bowl
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, the 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist, told UPI that he thinks his team is close to playing in a Super Bowl. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

ATLANTA, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin said earlier this week that quarterback Dak Prescott needs to "take the next step" in his game.

At 25, Prescott completed 67.7 percent of his throws this year for a career-high 3,885 yards. He also threw 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions, leading the Cowboys from a 3-5 start to a 10-6 finish and NFC East crown.

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Still, Irvin said that he wanted to see Prescott controlling the football game, showing he has command of the offense and show that he is really growing.

While the quarterback initially said he didn't see Irvin's comments in the Dallas Morning News, he responded to them on Saturday.

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"It's about taking the next step in my game in every aspect of my game," Prescott told UPI. "Don't know necessarily what Michael or someone else sees when they say that or what they are looking for. For me it's about continuing to progress my game and being cleaner, being faster and being more confident and precise in what I do in decision making."

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"I know if I do that, I'm going to play my best ball and we are going to have a hell of a team."

Prescott slipped into the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The 2016 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year helped the Cowboys go 13-3 in his first season, throwing for a career-best 23 scores and just four interceptions, while completing 67.8 percent of his throws.

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he thinks his team is "close" to playing for a Super Bowl. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI

Despite his fast start, two Pro Bowl appearances and 32 wins in three seasons as the Cowboys' starter, Prescott often is blamed for when the offense falters.

Bell-cow running back Ezekiel Elliott gets the most respect from analysts and fans. The All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection led the league in rushing for the second time in three seasons in 2018. He leads the league in rushing yards per game since being taken with the No. 4 overall pick in the same draft as Prescott.

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That draft also included Jared Goff as the No. 1 overall pick and Carson Wentz as the No. 2 overall pick. Goff is playing for a Super Bowl ring on Sunday while Wentz already has one in his trophy case.

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Connor Cook, Cody Kessler, Jacoby Brissett, Christian Hackenberg and Paxton Lynch were also drafted before Prescott in the 2016 NFL Draft. None of those quarterbacks have a starting job.

The Cowboys recovered from a poor start to have a successful season, but again it wasn't Prescott who received the credit. It was a ferocious defense. But the quarterback is fully supportive of that stout secondary. Prescott said the defense is good enough to win a Super Bowl.

Dallas boasted the No. 5 rush defense and ranked No. 13 against the pass in 2018. The unit ranked No. 7 in total defense and allowed the sixth-fewest points in the NFL. The Cowboys also committed the second-fewest penalties in the league.

"We are close," Prescott said. "That's what was tough about this loss this year. I know we are close. I know we have a really good team. I know we have the right mindset and the right people. Just to turn around a 3-5 season we did and to even be talking about having a chance to play in this game, just shows that we had a chance."

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"We had a real team and defense wins championships. We had the defense to do that."

Prescott said his team needs to continue to grow while retaining its key players and also bringing in new talent.

"I'm so thankful for our defense and I'm glad I don't have to play against them," said Prescott, who is working with Tostitos this week as the company attempts to set a world record for the longest livestream of a tortilla chip bowl. The record will be 53 consecutive hours and end one minute before the kickoff of Sunday's showdown in Atlanta.

The Cowboys quarterback said he hasn't done much different so far this offseason, including not meeting with coach Jason Garrett sooner than in the past. He also said he is excited about the team hiring former quarterback Kellen Moore as its offensive coordinator and Jon Kitna as quarterbacks coach.

Moore is expected to call plays for Prescott in 2019. Both former Cowboys gunslingers have familiarity with Prescott.

"We are doing the things we need to do to progress," Prescott said. "It's always great and makes a healthy environment around the workplace. From the front office all the way down to the players and the starters and the practice squad, we all have the same mindset. It's about getting better and doing what we have to do to play in a game like this."

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