Here’s why Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott needs Jon Kitna
The Dallas Cowboys need new quarterback coach Jon Kitna’s 17 years of NFL experience to help NFL defenses respect quarterback Dak Prescott as a passer.
This offseason, the Dallas Cowboys promoted former quarterback coach and offensive genius Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator and hired Jon Kitna as quarterback coach. The Cowboys are hoping that Kitna’s 17 years of NFL experience can help accomplish one job – Make NFL defenses respect quarterback Dak Prescott.
It’s not a big secret that the Dallas Cowboys want to feature running back Ezekiel Elliott in the offense. Since being drafted fourth overall in 2016 NFL draft, Elliott has been the NFL’s leading rusher in two of the last three seasons. It would likely be three of three, if not for a six game suspension served during the 2017 NFL season.
Since Elliott was drafted, nearly every opponent the Cowboys have faced has focused on stopping the Cowboys running game. In September of 2018, former New York Giants safety Landon Collins told reporters his team stood a better chance at winning if they were able to stop Elliott and force Prescott to beat them with his arm.
Cornerbacks playing against the Cowboys feel that a wide open window by NFL standards is still considered a tight window by Dak Prescott. Unfortunately, it’s not the NFL’s biggest secret that the strength of the Cowboys offense lies in Elliott’s rushing abilities.
In 2016, Elliott had 322 rushing attempts for 1,631 yards. The next running back with the second most rushing attempts was LeGarrette Blount of the New England Patriots with 299 rushing attempts and 1,161 yards. Tom Brady, quarterback of the Patriots, finished the season with 3,554 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns and 291 completions from 432 passing attempts. The Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2016.
In 2018, Elliott had 304 rushing attempts with 1,434 yards. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley finished with 286 rushing attempts and 1,411 yards. The Rams’ quarterback Jared Goff finished the season with 4,688 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns and 364 completions from 561 passing attempts. The Rams lost in the Superbowl to the Patriots.
Prescott had 3,667 passing yards (ranked 19th) with 23 passing touchdowns (ranked 16th) in 2016. Prescott finished with 3,885 passing yards (ranked 15th) with 22 passing touchdowns (ranked 16th) in 2018. While the Cowboys rushing offense has been leading the league, the passing offense has been statistically average.
Jon Kitna helping Dak Prescott thrive in Kellen Moore’s offense will be measurable and evident in two areas – an increase in Prescott’s passing statistics and a reduction in Ezekiel Elliott’s rushing attempts. It should lead to more victories for the Dallas Cowboys and a better overall team. That would make Kitna and Moore worth their weight in gold.