Dallas Cowboys: Is Dak Prescott a franchise quarterback?
By Tim Kohut
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback suffered from a sophomore slump in his second year at the helm. Can he still be a franchise talent?
After the Dallas Cowboys‘ disappointing and frankly, inexcusable loss to a past-its-prime Seattle Seahawks team on Christmas eve, plenty of pundits and fans alike have their own theories on what has gone wrong in Dallas this season.
Dez Bryant seems like a shell of his old self, the offense has teetered on the edge of predictable to downright head-scratching, and the play of their second-year quarterback Dak Prescott has been mostly abysmal over the past seven weeks of the season.
Granted, the Cowboys were without their best player for six weeks, and their schedule was much more taxing than last season’s, but it was still a disappointing season for Dallas fans, nonetheless.
While the team clearly has some soul-searching to do following their meaningless Week 17 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, one of the questions that could be on the back of owner/GM/number one Cowboys fan Jerry Jones’ head going into the offseason should be– is Prescott really our guy?
The case for ‘yes’ is pretty simple– he had a historically good rookie season, led the team to the number one seed in the NFC, and ultimately played well in a heart-wrenching loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
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However, there’s plenty of newfound evidence to suggest ‘no’, as well.
Prescott clearly showed regression in his second season– particularly when Zeke Elliott and star left tackle Tyron Smith were out of the lineup. Prescott’s
touchdowns, yards per attempt, completion percentage and QBR were all down this season, while his interceptions more than tripled.
To put it into perspective, Prescott threw four interceptions all of last season; he’s thrown four pick-sixes in fifteen games this year, a league-high.
If you look at Cowboys’ games closely, teams have figured out how to stop Prescott, with or without Elliott in the lineup. Stack the boxes, play up on Cowboys receivers to take away short routes, and dare Prescott to beat you deep. Clearly, it’s been effective, as Prescott has looked hesitant to challenge defenses all season long.
On the flip-side, however, Prescott hasn’t necessarily had the array weapons to play to his full potential (And the coaching staff certainly hasn’t done him much justice.) Jason Witten is still an effective possession receiver, but he has virtually zero YAC ability, and at 35 years old, isn’t taking the top off any defenses.
Bryant’s hands have gotten worse, and he clearly can’t separate like he once could. Terrance Williams is an OK complementary receiver, but he’s not instilling any fear into defenses, either.
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However, good quarterbacks are supposed to make their supporting cast better, and Prescott simply has not done that. It’s obviously too early to pull the plug on Dak, considering they shooed their last franchise QB out the door to anoint Prescott their leader. But unlike last season, it’s far from a definite that Dak Prescott is the franchise quarterback we all thought he was.