Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott started the season strong and silenced critics, yet the offense is struggling and some believe it’s a slump. They’re wrong.
Dak Prescott surpassed all expectations in his rookie campaign, leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the number one seed in the NFC divisional playoffs. The 2017 season hasn’t shown the same success as the Cowboys currently have a record of 5-6 and are fighting for their playoff lives.
Prescott’s numbers have dipped in most areas this season. The statistics that are most concerning are interceptions and quarterback rating. Dak went from four interceptions last year to nine through 11 games. And his current 87.6 passer rating is a large drop from the 104.9 rating he was able to post as a rookie.
Are Prescott’s lesser stats a sign of a rumored sophomore slump? Is the Cowboys poor record a sign of his regression as well? I believe the answer is there are no signs of a visible slump. Instead, I think Dak Prescott is a victim of his circumstances.
First, injuries have slowed the offense and forced the load on Prescott’s shoulders. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for six games, three of which have been served. Left tackle Tyron Smith missed a couple of games with a back injury and continues to play at less than 100%. Finally, fellow All-Pro lineman Zack Martin was knocked out of last week’s game early with a concussion.
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan doesn’t seem to be as dialed in as he has been. The play calling in key situations is questionable. It may be the absence of Elliott or the bad play of replacement left tackles but it is Linehan’s job to account for those weak links in the offense.
Prescott is very cautious about the location of his throws and much of the same can be seen this year. Yet, two factors are contributing to his rise in interceptions this year.
Tipped passes that should result in completions. Instead the ball ends up in the arms of opposing defenses. Wide receiver Terrance Williams is guilty of this a couple of times as he continues to show his inability to catch the ball only using his hands. But wide out Dez Bryant had a crucial tipped ball in the Denver game that resulted in an interception as well.
Prescott is responsible for a few passes that he can only blame himself but as any true football fan or even “movie buff” knows some of the interceptions can be caused by “quicksand”.
Dallas seems to fall behind in games leading to Dak forcing passes just to try to spark the offense but the harder he tries the deeper he gets into it. As Shane Falco said best himself in the movie “The Replacements”, his biggest fear is quicksand.
The Dallas Cowboys have struggled offensively the past three games and some critics are boasting, claiming it’s due to a “sophomore slump”. But the fact is there are eleven offensive players on the field and Prescott is only one of them. And the team’s struggles are a direct result of the circumstances surrounding the young quarterback, and not due to some sort of fictional slump.