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Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy: 'Dak is the keystone of this team'

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was on vacation in Florida when he heard last month his club finally inked Dak Prescott to a long-term contract. The 57-year-old wanted to get his beach flips in.

"It's a lot easier to do cartwheels on the sand, I'll say that," McCarthy said during a news conference Thursday, via ESPN. "I was very excited."

The contract ensures that the Prescott drama won't linger for another season. The Cowboys paid prime value after seeing what McCarthy's offense looked like with lesser QBs last season.

"Dak is the keystone of this team," McCarthy said. "I'm excited about Year 2 on offense. In a lot of ways, we didn't feel like we got to have a Year 1."

The Cowboys owned one of the best offenses in the NFL when Prescott was healthy. However, that only lasted five games, and Dallas lost three of them due to a horrific defense.

When Prescott is healthy, he offers a playmaker who can win in the rhythm of the offense, outside the structure if pressured, and with his legs. He's an ideal modern-age QB.

After the ankle fracture on a scramble, McCarthy noted that Prescott would be "smarter" in how he uses his legs, but the coach noted how much signal-callers are protected today.

"Quarterbacks are clearly protected more, that's why you see wide-open offenses," he said. "I don't think it's going to be a huge adjustment for him. I don't think he needs to lower his shoulder and stiff-arm maybe as much.

"Jerry [Jones] probably wants him to run out of bounds every play. He just has to be more mindful of it. I don't ever try to make a statement to a player that may make him hesitate. Hesitation in the NFL, you're a step slower than your opponent and that can potentially put you in a worse position."

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