Can Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys continue their third down magic?

y Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
y Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

There will be some out there who will try to tell you Dak Prescott isn’t one of the top quarterbacks in the league and that the Dallas Cowboys would be better to move on.

Those people seemingly trust “their eye test” and not the reality in front of them. Why they feel that way is because the Cowboys have done a mediocre job building a team around their star quarterback, had questionable playcalling, and had a front office stuck in an outdated offensive philosophy.

The quarterback is the easy target, but looking at a simple thing like third down data, Dak has done what you would want your quarterback to do, and more.

Third downs are extremely important in the NFL. Convert, and you get a fresh set of downs to hopefully continue down the field and score. Fail, and you usually give the ball to the other team by punting.

Let’s look at 2022, which is a season many points to as a case for moving on from Dak. No, we won’t cover the fact at least half his interceptions came off of drops or obvious mistakes from his receivers and bad playcalling. You can continue to argue this if you’d like, but we won’t do that here.

Dak Prescott and his third-down rate have been a saving grace for the Dallas Cowboys offense, it must continue for the Cowboys to have success.

In 2022, Dak Prescott had a 45.5% third-down conversion rate. Now while many will say “But Dan, that is less than half of the time”, that was the fifth-best rate among quarterbacks in 2022. What this means is that Dak did an outstanding job at keeping the chains moving as the leader of the offense. For all the gruff that people will throw at Prescott, the numbers say they are wrong, just flat-out wrong.

I know the next part some might say is that is because of the running game and the ability to pound the ball in short yardage. Sure, let’s assume that for one second before we blow that apart. His career third-down completion rate is 62.3%, and while there are some quarterbacks above him, he beats out Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, and Justin Herbert, all of which some will say are lightyears better than Dak.

The next comment someone might say to detract from this is, “It is easy to complete when you don’t throw deep, he can’t do that well”. In 2022, Dak was second to only Patrik Mahomes in conversion percentage at 3rd and more than five yards. Mahomes was at 44%, Dak was at 43%, and the next closest players were Tua Tagovailoa at 40%, Jimmy Garoppolo at 38%, and Trevor Lawrence at 37%. For some other names people will throw out here, Joe Burrow was at 34%, Josh Allen at 31%, and Just Herbert was second to last with 27%.

Next. Dallas Cowboys could see bigger breakout from KaVontae Turpin in 2023. dark

Simply put Dak and the Dallas Cowboys were really good on third down last year. With a new scheme, some new weapons, and hopefully a better than 2022 offensive line in pass protection, having Dak and his elite play on third down affords the team more opportunities to win games. Say what you want, but one thing you cannot say is that Dak is not good on third downs, that simply isn’t true.

  • Published on 07/05/2023 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 07/05/2023 at 11:01 AM