After the rousing 41-35 win over the Seahawks in Dallas on Thursday Night Football, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had a clear message on one of the key players from that game, a guy who—like Prescott himself—has been through the wringer in the last year but appears to be hitting his stride. That would be starting tight end Jake Ferguson.
There have been some shaky times for Ferguson, a blocking tight end who has developed as a pass-catcher, as he replaced solid veteran tight end Dalton Schultz this year. But Prescott has consistently had Ferguson’s back. And it paid off with a go-ahead touchdown with 4:37 to play in the big win over the Seahawks.
Prescott’s message: Keep those expectations high.
“He’s a baller,” Prescott said in his postgame press conference. “His mentality, first and foremost, is the reason he is the guy that he is, having the success that he has had. He expects—when I talk about my expectations—he expects to do what he did in tonight’s game. He’s no different than me.”
It helps, too, that Feguson has one essential quality of a tight end: He has a screw loose.
“He’s a little crazy but you have to be playing his position. He’s a big-time guy for us,” Prescott said.
Cowboys’ Luke Schoonmaker Pick Raised Questions
It was presumed that Jake Ferguson, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2022, would take on a bigger role in the Cowboys offense this season with the departure of Schultz, but the confidence that the organization had in him appeared shaky.
That’s because the Cowboys used their second-round pick last year on Luke Schoonmaker, another tight end, rather than addressing several other roster needs.
But Ferguson has shown he is up to the job. He remains among the best blocking tight ends in the NFL but his performance against the Seahawks is a reminder of what a weapon he can be underneath against accomplished opposing defenses. He had six catches on eight targets for 77 yards and the big touchdown.
Ferguson also had a confrontation with a big portion of the Seahawks defense after a first down in the third quarter.
That was reminiscent of the performance he put up against the last difficult defense the Cowboys faced, the Eagles. In that game, he had seven catches for 91 yards and a touchdown from Prescott, and kept the Cowboys in contention early on when the Eagles threatened a blowout.
Dak Prescott on Jake Ferguson: ‘I Have Had His Back’
It is not only Prescott who has backed Jake Ferguson this season, but he has maintained his confidence in the 24-year-old’s ability to be the kind of versatile and reliable tight end we’ve come to expect from the Cowboys.
Dak Prescott said he has faith in Ferguson because he’s seen the work he puts in and, again, knows the expectations he has for himself.
“I guarantee he could pull two or three plays up and say he wants to get better at that,” Prescott said. “A guy that’s not satisfied, loves the game of football, and just as important, loves his teammates, loves who he is doing it with. He puts a lot into this game and we expect a lot out of him. And he has taken responsibility for that and he is going out there each and every week and continued to get better.
“That’s why I have had his back and continued to preach on his bright future because I see what he does week in and week out.”