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Dak Prescott focused on wins, not stats: 'I don't want to throw for 6,000 yards'

It takes less than 20 minutes into the first episode of Hard Knocks to realize just how badly Dak Prescott wants to succeed in 2021.

His time away from football has built up a desire to be on the field and to take all of the reps available. When removed from practice due to overuse early in camp, he was audibly angry, as seen in Tuesday's debut episode. Getting hurt again hasn't helped, either.

But don't confuse a desire to play with a goal of completely owning the show for the Cowboys. Prescott isn't out to reset passing records -- he's out to stack victories and chase a title.

"I don't want to throw for 6,000 yards to be honest with you," Prescott said Wednesday when asked if he'd like to replicate the pace he was on before his season-ending ankle injury. "That means we're not running the ball. That means we're not probably doing the things that we need to do to be a balanced, winning team. Sure, it'd be great to have those numbers and to break that or to have that record or whatever it is. But that's not something I put into my head.

"As I say, I want to be the best offense in the NFL and I think the best way we can do that is if I'm not throwing that many yards and our run game is working, we're playing complementary football and we're winning a lot of games. And I think if that's the case, then hopefully I'm not playing as many fourth quarters trying to come back and do the two-minute drill as we were doing in those first five games that got me a lot of those numbers."

Prescott was doing plenty of that in 2020, being forced to try to throw the Cowboys back into games and make up for a sieve-like defense that struggled to stop a nosebleed in the first quarter of the season. By the time Prescott was knocked out of action for the year, the Cowboys had developed a reputation for being a team that leaned heavily on its offense and needed more than a simple adjustment in gameplan.

Out went defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, and in came former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. A handful of personnel changes followed as well, giving the Cowboys hope they can provide more resistance to opposing offenses than they could for a good part of 2020.

We know Prescott values wins over numbers. But if he were to play at a clip similar to where he was before his injury, it would be difficult not to give him the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Just don't ask him about it.

"That's not something I think about honestly. I want to be the best quarterback and a winning quarterback for this team," Prescott said. "There's so many other team goals and team awards that I put well ahead of any individual award that I could receive. Not to only mention there's so many guys that were injured, not only just with our team, but in this league that whoever gets that, I mean, that'll be special, that'll be great for them.

"But that's, I don't think anybody necessarily hurt, actually I don't want to speak for them, but is shooting for that, I guess. I want to be the best player I can be and if that comes with it, then oh well."

Like a director who made his film to fulfill his artistic passions and just happened to win a Golden Globe along the way, Prescott will accept any hardware that comes with a successful season. But right now, he's more focused on getting back on the field as a full participant.

He spent nearly a year away from football. Prescott isn't going to waste a moment checking his stats. The only number he cares about is one -- as in, one victory in the game he's currently playing -- and how many he can pile up for Dallas.

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