Sure, they’ve got all of one preseason game under their belts, but the Dallas Cowboys better hope Dak Prescott doesn’t miss any significant time.
First, the good news. The Dallas Cowboys’ first team offense looked good on their opening drive on Saturday night against the San Francisco 49ers. They were aided by a pass interference penalty, but their execution was nice and they walked away with points. At this stage of the season, that’s about all you want to see. Well, that and no major injuries. By those metrics, Saturday was a success.
But the story changed once the first team gave way to the backups. Specifically, the quarterback play did nothing to assuage fear if starter Dak Prescott has to miss any significant time. Current backup Cooper Rush did flash a couple of times with some pretty touch throws. But as the game wore on, there wasn’t much to get excited about.
And make no mistake, the game plan on Saturday was definitely geared towards looking at what the backup passers had to offer. After Prescott exited the game, Rush and third stringer Mike White attempted forty-six passes, connecting on twenty-five of them. A little cursory math reveals a paltry completion percentage of 54.3%. Conversely, after the first team rattled off four rush attempts on the opening drive, Dallas only ran the ball fourteen more times for the entire game.
If anything, credit the coaching staff for being highly self-aware. The pass-heavy game plan was indicative of their own realization of their limitations beyond their starter. It didn’t really paint a pretty picture, either. What if Prescott goes down for a few weeks in the middle of the season? Does anyone–front office, coaching staff, team, or fans–feel confident that one of these backups can hold down the fort until order is restored?
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface if the Cowboys lose Prescott to a season-ending injury. Perish the thought, especially in a year in which everyone associated with them has that old “Super Bowl or bust” feeling. Granted, Dak’s built like truck and has been impervious to the injuries that can plague some of his counterparts (i.e. Carson Wentz). But if we’re talking the NFL law of averages here, it’s only a matter of time before the injury bug jumps up and bites Prescott. No one’s wishing for that, obviously, but everyone still holds their breath when he keeps the ball on a zone read and exposes himself to contact.
In the short term, it’s up to Rush or White to prove themselves as competent replacements. And with preseason games coming hot and heavy now, they’ll get their chances. But if we see repeat performances of Saturday night, the Cowboys will owe it to themselves to bring another name in to fill the void. There’s too much riding on this season to gamble on Plan B if there essentially is no Plan B.
Of course, everything changes once the games start to count. Dak Prescott won’t be coming out of games after the first series. If his form holds, he’ll enjoy another year of health and will helm a Cowboys’ offense that has designs on being stronger and more explosive than last year’s unit. But if the unthinkable happens, it would spoil a very promising season, not to mention another year of everyone’s prime.
- Published on 08/12/2019 at 11:01 AM
- Last updated at 08/12/2019 at 10:56 AM