Cowboys QB1 Dak Prescott learned his lesson, will use legs when he must

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Dak Prescott hasn’t been the same since returning from that season ending injury last season. And that might not be a bad thing. The Dallas Cowboys franchise quarterback has been forced to weigh the risks of being a runner, and often times those risks aren’t worth the reward.

October 11th of 2020 was devastating, not only for Dak Prescott, but for the entire Dallas Cowboys organization. All hope for the season vanished on one single play midway through the third quarter. Dak, trying to squeeze every possible yard out of an otherwise broken play, saw his career flash before his eyes. And it changed him.

Dak Prescott is at the bottom of the NFL in rushing yards and the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t be happier.

Dak Prescott ranks third-from-last in the NFL in rushing yards per game amongst QBs. In fact, Dak is only six yards away from being dead last in the NFL.

Dak’s 8.1 yards/game are by far the lowest of his career (previous low was 17.6 yards/game as a rookie) and his paltry 2.7 yards/attempt indicate the limited attempts he does get, are reserved for short yardage situations more than open-field opportunities.

The run in the highlight above has been a rarity this season. His reluctance to run in the open field is both calculated and strategic. Dak Prescott is a passer above all. Unlike true dual-threat QBs, Dak is a passer first and foremost. His frame allows him to be a runner when called upon, but the 28-year-old signal caller is pretty darn far from being considered “fleet of foot.”

Before the season even began Dak talked about being smart with his running opportunities in 2021. He spoke about saving those high-risk runs for games that really mattered. situations that made the risk worth it. So we shouldn’t be surprised to see Dak at the bottom of the NFL in rushing yards.

When discussing this topic midseason, Dak Prescott reiterated what he told us in the offseason

"“I think there is a time you will see [me running the ball] more,”  Dak said. “Whether it’s division football, playoff football, whatever it is, yeah that will be a weapon.”"

Dak Prescott learned a valuable lesson last year. Every play does not hold the same value. Some are more important than others and it makes little sense to risk it all in a game with low value. Saving those high-risk plays for the playoffs isn’t just safer, it’s wiser.

Dak isn’t going to suddenly start running like Lamar when the clock tics playoffs or anything, but he’s told us on multiple occasions, running is a tool in his toolbox he intends to use when stakes go up.

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