The Dallas Cowboys offense is at less than peak efficiency these days. After exploding out of the gates early this season, they’ve been running in mud since the start of November. Since Week 9, Dallas’ offense has only rated 24th in the NFL in EPA.
Given Week 9 is the same week Dak Prescott came back from injury, it’s natural to assume he’s somehow the problem – be it physically or mentally. After all, the most important part of any offense is the signal caller, so when an offense struggles, it’s safe to assume the QB1 is the source of the problems.
This kind of speculation has been rampant in Cowboys Nation. Fans and media have questioned whether or not Dak Prescott was alright. Dak has shot down those concerns at nearly every turn, but it’s hard not be suspicious after seeing such a decline in offensive production week after week.
For a team destined for the playoffs, the struggles have been concerning. No one expects then Dallas Cowboys to see postseason success with the offense playing like the 24th rated offense. The defensive resurgence has been a blessing, but it’s hard to know if they can find continued success against actually good offenses. It’s clear this team needs their offense operating at a high level for them to pose a threat in the postseason.
Luckily for us, Dak Prescott seems to be playing at a high level and is not the source of the Dallas Cowboys problems.
Dak Prescott hasn’t been flawless the past eight weeks. He’s been a grab bag of good plays and bad plays since returning from injury. Suspect throws and conservative play-calling have reeked havoc on the Dallas Cowboys numbers, and Dak was getting a fair amount of blame. But after another strong performance from No. 4 on Sunday, it’s become clear Dak Prescott is not the problem.
Is Dak blameless? No. All QBs have bad throws, missed opportunities, and hiccups now and then. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Kyler Murray have all put up their share of stinkers this season. It comes with the territory.
But more often than not, Dak has been pretty darn good, given the circumstances. Over the past month-and-a-half, there’s been a revolving door on the offensive line, receiver, and even running back. He’s actually done pretty well considering all the chaos around him.
Some will read the title and quickly point out a bad throw or two each week. But that just speaks to his high standard of play. Something I always say after film review is if we can only point out a throw or two each week, it’s a sign the QB is doing really well. I can point out more than a bad throw or two from Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers last week. Everyone has them.
Dak’s not blameless, but it’s clear the bigger issue has been the play-calling and the play around him. Kellen Moore has reportedly scaled back the playbook to save the good stuff for the playoffs. Whether it’s true or not, it passes the sniff test since Dallas has gotten fairly vanilla offensively and is playing about as aggressive as a garden snail these days.
The Dallas Cowboys seem to be on the right path regarding their offensive line. After benching Connor Williams for the better part of the last month, he’s back in the line-up. Williams is the first step in returning to glory up front – getting a healthy Tyron Smith back is the next.
The running game lives and dies with the blockers up front but it doesn’t help that Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are both visibly hurting. The Cowboys have had a bottom-5 running game since Week 9 and that has had a huge impact on the offense – especially since Kellen Moore has been calling so many unsuccessful early down running plays.
But the biggest issue for this offense has been their star-studded cast at WR. It’s safe to say all three have disappointed in some regard this season and the inconsistent route running and drops have been a major issue.
Dropped balls are the difference between a stalled drive and six points. A bad route is often the difference between a TD and an INT. We’ve seen both far too often this season and great play-calling, great passing, and a complementary running game can’t help it. It’s on Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup to fix this.
The reason this is all good news (as the title states) is because the most important cog in the machine, Dak Prescott, is playing good football right now. The offensive line is getting back on track, the running game is getting healthier and the defense is staunch. Kellen Moore only has to flip that playoff switch and he’s back on track too.
It really comes down to fixing one unit on the Dallas Cowboys offense and all systems should be humming. And that one unit, WR, happens to be the Cowboys most talented and best equipped position group to make such a quick adjustment (which adds to the disappointment but should also bolster our confidence that it can be corrected).
No single player or entity is to blame just like no single player or entity is without blame. But Dak Prescott is playing good football right now and that should be good news to all Dallas Cowboys fans. The last remaining corrections are much easier to fix and the Cowboys are on track to be a force when it matters the most.
This is great news.