Frisco -- When Cowboys quarerback Dak Prescott suits up for the so-called dress rehearsal game against the Raiders Saturday, it will be his last chance to prepare under game-like conditions before the opener against the Giants.
"All I've ever known is hard work and hard work pays off," says Prescott, looking forward to another chance to sharpen his skills before the games start to count.
The approach has always been fundamental, even though the upcoming task will be anything but.
Especially considering Prescott will start his second season without the Cowboys number one offensive weapon. Even so, there is zero fear of a sophomore slump.
"That's never been anything in my mind." says he Cowboys signal caller in a matter-of-fact manner. "I don't think anyone around me would think that. It's just the preparation that goes in eliminates that for the most part."
Prescott is locked into playing the game "from the neck up," as he likes to say.
"Line one with him is his poise, his composure and his focus," says Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, "regardless of what the circumstances are he gets himself ready, gets himself prepared to be his best."
Prescott's approach to preparation in training camp might strike some as odd, but there was a method to it. Knowing he'd be relied on to make more game-changing plays, he made it a point to take more risks, knowing he'd throw more interceptions. He was willing to make more mistakes, to help make himself better.
"I'm happy with what I've learned," said Prescott of the risk versus reward work in camp.
"I mean I threw a couple of picks. I probably threw more picks this camp than I did last year, but they were all worthy picks, and I knew when it left my hand there was a chance of it getting picked. And that's something that I know going forward, going into games that I won't [take] that chance or I won't make that throw."
Prescott's diligence and attention to detail have won over everyone in the locker room. And as the season begins with more on his shoulders, those around Prescott are confident he can handle whatever the game may ask.
"It's not going to be perfect going forward," said Garrett. "It hasn't been perfect up to this point, but he's handled the situation and you keep moving forward and he's done a great job of that."
And figures to do more of the same, as long as he sticks to his fundamentals.