Will Dak Prescott improve this part of his game in 2019?

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott appears to be heading for a breakout season. But according to one stat, he must stop being his own worst enemy.

The Dallas Cowboys hired a new quarterbacks coach this offseason. That being Jon Kitna, a 16-year NFL veteran quarterback himself and a former Cowboy. His presence was expected to take current Dallas starter, Dak Prescott‘s game to another level.

Prescott is entering his fourth season under center for America’s Team. During his short tenure, the Cowboys have posted three straight winning seasons, two NFC East titles, two postseason berths, and one playoff victory. Dak is also a two-time Pro Bowler and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2016.

Despite the accolades, Prescott is not considered an elite quarterback. Last season, he completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 3,885 yards, 22 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Prescott had a passer rating of 96.9, ranking him 15th among his peers.

One stat that Prescott nearly led the NFL in last season was in sacks taken. Dak was sacked a whopping 56 times in 2018. Only Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked more (62).

Most attributed this high sack number to injuries suffered by the Cowboys’ offensive line. Most notably to All-Pro center Travis Frederick, who was sidelined the entire season as he battled the autoimmune disease Guillain-Barré syndrome.

But here’s what Pro Football Focus writer Ben Linsey wrote about Prescott being his own worst enemy when it comes to taking sacks.

"” … pressure rate can be attributed largely to the quarterback themselves. Dak Prescott is one of the quarterbacks in the league who brings unnecessary pressure on himself, especially when it comes to taking sacks. No quarterback was given responsibility for more of his own sacks than Prescott in 2018, as he was at fault for 15 sacks, which edged out Deshaun Watson (14) and Russell Wilson (13).”"

During Prescott’s rookie season, he was sacked just 25 times. In 2017, that number rose to 32. But to nearly double the number of sacks taken from one season to the next certainly indicates a problem. Poor offensive line play, his receiver’s inability to get open quick enough, and Prescott being too patient in the pocket all played a part in the sudden rise in sacks.

The main area fans are hoping Kitna is able to help Prescott with is his accuracy. This offseason, the 26-year old passer seemed much improved in that area. In the preseason, Dak completed 11 of his 14 passes (78.6 percent) for 109 yards and one touchdown in three starts.

As for Dak Prescott taking too many sacks, Jon Kitna confirmed that moving through his progression quickly was a focus earlier this offseason. With the regular season right around the corner, we’ll all soon find out just how much Prescott has developed under the guidance of his new positional coach.

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