Dallas Cowboys: Who is Dak Prescott?

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 09: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 09: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys will need to really need to think about how they will build this football team going forward as Dak Prescott has been struggling.

The Dallas Cowboys will have a real issue on their hands if they cannot figure out just what kind of player Dak Prescott is. Currently, he is being put in a position to fail by the front office and this coaching staff. Unless some significant changes are made, Prescott will struggle mightily in the passing game. But for now, let’s take a deep dive at who is Dak Prescott on the football field and why he is struggling.

65.2 percent competition rate, 7,161 passing yards, 7.3 yards per attempt, averaging 217 yards per game, 45 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, a quarterback rating of 95.0, has been sacked 63 times.

That last number is probably the most troubling for Prescott as the amount of pressure he has faced has basically been building every season. During the 2016 season (the season in which offensive line has protected him the most efficiently) he was taken down 25 times, he was sacked six times against the Carolina Panthers alone and we are only entering the second week of the regular season.

Protection has a lot to do with the Dak we see on the field right now, and he sure ain’t getting a lot of it. This is due to a litany of factors, Travis Frederick’s medical condition, Zack Martin returning from injury, Tyron Smith aging, Connor Williams being a rookie, and this line not playing a lot together for more than half of the preseason.

It is going to take some time for this group to mesh because it simply is not business as usual for the Cowboys. The new car smell that this offense once had has been replaced by the scent of stale burritos, wet dogs, and a variety of spilled soft drinks and the entire NFL can smell it.

This offense is stale and it has a lot to do with the play calling and just the variety of weapons available in the passing game. The Cowboys aren’t predictable but they aren’t too exciting either and this is a problem. To lay the woes of the offense on Prescott’s feet would be a logical fallacy however the spotlight of the Dallas Cowboys is very bright. 

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If you are the quarterback for America’s Team you are supposed to fight through all adversity and pick up the win whatever the cost, unfortunately, that is just not how the Cowboys are built. Going back to their exciting matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016, the man who put the game away was Ezekiel Elliott, not Prescott.

In fact, Elliott you could say is the heart of this offense as any success his production is linked to more favorable matchups for the passing game. Dak’s role is more passive. He is trusted to be a steady force for this offense, and the offense coordinators job is to limit his attempts not increase them.

But that brings up a brand new question, why? If Dak is worthy of a monstrous new contract, why can’t he take the reigns like an Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady and put a team away? Well frankly that is not his job, or style of play to be honest.

Dak will run to exploit holes in the defense (which he should do more of), he will act as a runner in the red zone, but dropping dimes for 70 yards is not really his thing. Plus, who is he throwing to? This team is built to run the football and to utilize the pass only to take advantage of favorable one on one matchups.

On paper, that directive is very simple, but in real life, things get way more complicated. Dak needs a bigger target to help haul in some of his more inaccurate throws because let’s face it, he is still pretty young.

But realistically he is supposed to be set up to make the play, not to make plays on every down, and then run the ball in for a score. The pretty obvious consequence of added pressure from defenses is an uptick in interceptions.

That seems to be true and to be honest when the Dallas Cowboys front office said that they wanted to make this offense more “Dak Friendly” I really had a hard time taking them seriously. Jason Witten’s retirement is not on them but releasing Dez Bryant and not adding any pieces to replace him is.

Allen Hurns is a cost-effective option for an offense with nowhere to turn. Could he be an effective number two wide receiver, certainly but to be a player who demands top coverage every week is asking a bit much. Trading for Tavon Austin was puzzling but hey who can blame the Cowboys for getting creative.

Rookie Michael Gallup was the only player who could effectively take advantage of Prescott’s skill set but as a rookie should struggle to make a major impact. If anything this offense is more Elliott friendly than helpful to Dak.

A quarterback is as good as the weapons around him, Tom Brady has Rob Gronkowski, Matt Ryan has Julio Jones, Drew Brees has Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara and currently, Dak stands alone in the passing game.

If the Dallas Cowboys really want to see who Dak Prescott is and what he is made of, they will get him a solid number one option at wide receiver, a reliable tight end, and some better protection up front. If not, what could they possibly base their future on?

Prescott will need a new contract fairly soon and committing that type of money to a player the team has not seen the full extent of is somewhat insane. This was supposed to be the time in which the Dallas Cowboys built a team around Prescott while he was still affordable/on his rookie contract. Instead, they have just saved money to extend Prescott, Lawrence, and Elliott which is not a bad thing but not what was intended.

It also begs the question, why are not the Cowboys trading more draft picks? I mean your future is on the field every week right? Dak and Zeke are the players you are turning over your franchise too, so why not trade a first round pick for a top tier offensive weapon? At some point, you have to build a team to win in the present and that may contradict the things needed to be down to build for the future.

Next. Dallas Cowboys: Roster evaluation after cutdown day. dark

It is rare that teams in the NFL have Dak mentally and physically has all the tools needed to be an absolute force at the quarterback position in this league, but in order for him to truly flourish the Dallas Cowboys need to surround him with real weapons, not theoretical ones.

  • Published on 09/10/2018 at 16:00 PM
  • Last updated at 09/10/2018 at 12:01 PM