OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens haven’t lost to a rookie quarterback in three seasons, which should be of particular interest for Sunday’s game against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
The only problem is, the Ravens think it’s unfair to put that label on Prescott.
“I don’t know after nine games if he is considered a rookie anymore,” Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “This guy has seen a bunch of stuff now. They played three divisional teams that you know throw everything at them that they can throw at them, and nobody has rattled him. I don’t think of him — don’t even look at him — as a rookie. I look at him just as another quarterback that’s an excellent, excellent talent.”
Prescott is in the midst of one of the finest seasons by a rookie — or should that be first-year — quarterback. His 82.5 QBR is better than any rookie over the past decade, and that includes Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan.
Since at least 1950, Prescott is the only rookie quarterback with 14-plus passing touchdowns and two or fewer interceptions in his first nine games, according to the NFL. Prescott is also the first rookie since Russell Wilson in 2012 to throw multiple touchdown passes in four straight games.
Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan agrees that Prescott doesn’t look like a rookie.
“He is a big kid on top of that, and he is strong. He can run,” Jernigan said. “They are doing a great job at putting him in positions to make plays. He definitely has to be accounted for.”
While most of the attention has centered on the Ravens’ No. 1 run defense, their pass defense is ranked No. 5 in the league. The Ravens have plenty of veteran leadership with linebacker Terrell Suggs crashing the edge and safety Eric Weddle roaming the back of the secondary.
Baltimore can pressure the quarterback. The defense has recorded 11 sacks over the past three games. The Ravens also can take the ball away. Their 11 interceptions are tied for second most in the NFL.
Now, the Ravens will find out if they can make Prescott look like a young quarterback Sunday.
“If this was going to be his first game starting, I would say, ‘OK, we have a rookie quarterback coming in,'” Pees said. “But not when you’re 8-1 and he’s taken them all the way. And the way they have demolished some people, I don’t look at him at all as a rookie.”