Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott must alter approach against the Chargers

Dak Prescott has been simply on fire for the Dallas Cowboys. Extending back beyond just this season, Dak has led arguably the most potent offense in the NFL. According to Pro Football Focus, Dallas’ pass-heavy approach has Dak averaging 53 drop backs in his last half-a-dozen games.

In those games Dallas has led the NFL in passing yards, led the NFL in successful play rate, averaged 2.5 passing touchdowns per contest, racked up the second most points, and amassed 165 first downs, which is by far tops in the NFL (nearly 50 more first downs than the No. 2 team in that span).

In terms of offensive production, Dak Prescott has been nothing short of brilliant for the Dallas Cowboys and if it wasn’t for some criminal underachievement from defense and special teams, the win-loss column would likely reflect this offensive dominance.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to grow for No. 4.. For as good as Dak is, he can be better. And he’s probably going to have to here in week 2 against the Chargers

The Dallas Cowboys need Dak Prescott to play more cautiously against the L.A. Chargers this week.

Film matters. That’s why for any proper evaluation you need some trustworthy stats, like those listed above, paired with film evaluation. If a quarterback throws the perfect ball into the endzone only to see his receiver drop it, the stats will miss it so film grades need to reflect that. At the same time if a QB gets lucky and has his high-risk pass dropped by a defender, the film grade should reflect that as well.

A great pass should be graded as a great pass, regardless of result, just like a poor pass should be graded as a poor pass, regardless of result. That’s something I think we can all agree on.

Citing the same PFF column listed above, we can see Dak Prescott offered up 11 turnover-worthy plays over the last six games. Even though only five were pulled in for interceptions, six more just as easily could have.

We know many defenders are defenders for a reason (they can’t catch) and a defensive back is more likely to have a ball slip through his hands than a receiver. But the fact remains the Dallas Cowboys have gotten a little lucky over this last stretch.

The thing with luck is it goes both ways. Regression to the mean says that this fortune probably won’t last and things will eventually equal out in the “luck” department. Now is a great time for Dak Prescott to make some adjustments to his game. Cutting back on high risk plays is a start and being extra suspicious of his coverage reads is a must.

Back with the Rams, Brandon Staley built one of the most creative, successful, and opportunistic defenses in the NFL. Now with the LA Chargers, he seems to be doing more of the same. Both LA teams led the NFL in disguised coverages last week. Staley will show you one thing but give you something else.

Dak can’t just rely on his pre-snap reads but he’ll have to keep reading the coverage as the plays develop. An issue made more difficult with Terence Steele starting at right tackle and Derwin James patrolling the secondary.

The numbers above indicate the Dallas offense is at its best when it’s airing the ball out. I don’t think anyone can argue Ezekiel Elliott and the ground game could do better (or even close to as good) as the passing game. But we also have to pump the breaks here a little and be weary of too many shots downfield. The law of averages says we’re due for some misfortune and the LA secondary is the perfect instrument to provide Dallas said misfortune.

Dak Prescott has been brilliant as of late but even in extreme success he should be cautious of the Chargers secondary.