Dallas Cowboys: The old Dak is back

Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Even without the impressive recent statistics, Dak Prescott is playing some of the best football of his career and looks like the Dallas Cowboys passer of old.

The Dallas Cowboys 2018 season was always supposed to be telling season for third year signal-caller, Dak Prescott. After posting arguably the best rookie season in NFL history, Dak fell back to earth in the latter portion of his sophomore campaign.

Many in Cowboys Nation debated who the real Dak Prescott was. Was he the record breaking rookie? Or was he nothing more than a bus driver, dependent on those around him? Year 3 was supposed to answer that.

Early on this season, Dak offered more questions than answers. The dysfunction on the offensive line did little to help too. But ever since Amari Cooper joined the club, things have changed, and Dak has regained his form of old.


To some, the Dak of old isn’t good enough. That’s a topic for another day. What’s becoming clear right now is Dak Prescott is finding success in his game just like he did as a rookie.

Dak Prescott only threw four incompletions (more on that below) and his 115.5 passer rating makes his rating over the last four games 106.6 – Up a tick from his 104.9 rating his rookie season. Over that same stretch he’s passed for four touchdowns and zero interceptions -Nothing flashy but the model of efficiency which is exactly what you want with a defense like this backing you up.

But we all know stats are misleading and high completion percentages are more a sign of conservative play, than of excellent quarterbacking. And that has often been the case with Dak. How many times have we seen Dak check down to Zeke on 3rd and long, only to stopped well short of the first down?

It’s seems like it happens every other drive. But for as unspectacular as that is, it’s also a winning formula. As previously mentioned, with a defense like the Dallas Cowboys’, conservative play is often the right call.

It’s not as if the Dallas Cowboys aren’t converting 3rd downs either. The last three games, Dak and his offense are converting 48.78 percent of the third downs. There’s only one team in the NFL that’s averaging better than that.

Missed deep balls

Critics point to the wide open shots he consistently misses downfield. Last Thursday Dak missed a wide open Michael Gallup streaking down the sideline. While this is inexcusable, it’s not as uncommon as you think.

The best QBs in the NFL (including Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady) miss those sideline throws almost weekly and sideline deep balls are among the least successful attempts one can make.

Clearly this is something to work on but the game situation also needs to be considered. Last week it’s all about the play that immediately proceeded it.

Dak converted a monumental conversion on the ground and did so with the level of physicality rarely seen from quarterbacks. If Guy Richie was directing this broadcast, you’d see an internal view of his circulatory system with glowing neon adrenaline pumping through. To then ask him to deliver a touch pass on the very next play is a pretty tall order.

Related Story. Why the Cowboys are committed to Dak and you should be too. light

The Inexcusable

Ball security is paramount to a team’s postseason success. Dak Prescott has the kind of patience and restraint rarely seen from a passer. He rarely puts the ball in danger and while that may be an indictment on his anticipation and unwillingness to trust his instincts, it’s also given him one of the best career TD/INT ratios in NFL history for a player his age.

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But what’s absolutely inexcusable is his propensity to put the ball on the carpet both inside and outside of the pocket. Dak’s 11 fumbles are tops in the league and despite the porous pass-protection, fumbles are 100 percent on the guy doing the fumbling. These fumbles, some completely unforced, have the potential to end a season much like we saw what happened to DeMarco Murray back in the 2014 season.

Flashback: If you remember, DeMarco had a tough time holding onto the ball that season (six fumbles) but we gave him a pass for it because the team was doing so well. Lo and behold, it ended up biting the Dallas Cowboys right in the “donkey” when DeMarco fumbled a ball as he was about to break free for a game clinching touchdown This was well before #DezCaughtIt).

Granted, there’s a direct correlation between getting hit and fumbling the ball. Dak is the most sacked QB in the NFL (45 times so far) so it’s no wonder he’s coughing up the ball. Those 45 sacks are more than he endured in either of his previous two seasons (25 in 2016 and 32 in 2017).

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Dak Prescott isn’t that elite franchise arm that so many want him to be. But he doesn’t need to be. On a team like this, the Dallas Cowboys just need him to be more like that rookie from 2016. And despite the struggling O-line, Dak is resembling that guy of old.

That’s good news for Dak and the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Published on 12/05/2018 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 12/05/2018 at 09:50 AM