The Dallas Cowboys have a very good quarterback, but you wouldn’t know it based on how fans speak of Dak Prescott on social media. That comes with the territory of being the quarterback of “America’s Team,” but Prescott’s foremost cynics simply don’t realize how good they have it.
That isn’t to say Prescott is teflon. His lack of playoff success for a consensus top 8-12 quarterback in the NFL leaves something to be desired. At some point, Prescott’s regular season success is going to be papered over by his lack of accolades in January and beyond.
For now, though, Prescott is facing slings and arrows from the general media for his shockingly high interception rate. After two more picks in Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars, Prescott owns the highest INT rate in the league. He has 11 for the season in just 13 games played, and is two shy of tying his career high.
It’s a problem. Some might even view it as one of the biggest pitfalls that could doom the Cowboys this year when all is said and done. Unlike in years past, Prescott can’t seem to avoid that one “what was that?” throw per game.
Of course, not every stat is created equal. Some can be misleading, and that’s exactly the case with Prescott’s 11 interceptions.
According to Pro Football Focus’ Jon Owning, six of Prescott’s 11 INTs have come on plays that weren’t deemed turnover-worthy by PFF.
PFF stat proves Cowboys QB Dak Prescott having the highest interception rate in the NFL is misleading.
It’s easy to search Prescott on Pro Football Reference, realize he’s thrown 11 interceptions, and make a rash judgment on his season.
The fact six of his picks haven’t been on turnover-worthy plays — meaning passes that weren’t thrown into danger and likely should’ve been caught by his receivers — proves this narrative is being overblown.
Turnover-worthy plays also account for miscommunications and wideouts screwing up a route. That was certainly the case with CeeDee Lamb on a couple of occasions (the Packers loss springs to mind) this season.
Again, that’s not to say Dak’s turnovers aren’t an issue. His two picks against the Texans were objectively awful. His first INT vs Jacksonville was an egregious overthrow … though replay shows his arm might’ve been hit as he released the football. Regardless, if these mistakes rear their ugly head in January, the Cowboys are getting bounced in the first round even if they play the struggling Buccaneers.
There’ve been far too many instances this season where Prescott’s forced throws that aren’t there, whether it be the result of a collapsing pocket, or a long third down. Sometimes less is more. There is absolutely nothing wrong with living to fight another down.
But this idea that Dak’s (exceptional) performance vs the Jags is getting ridiculed because of the game-ending pick-six confirms the media will twist any story to fit their narrative. In this case, it’s the turnover narrative. The interception was fired right into Noah Brown’s chest, and would’ve went for a first down.
No, Prescott wasn’t the reason Dallas lost on Sunday. Yes, his turnovers are a problem that need to be resolved before the playoffs. But let’s not pretend like every INT is a carbon copy of his fourth quarter pick against the Texans.
Whether it be dropped passes, botched routes, or defenders making otherworldly plays, more than a handful of Dak’s picks have been flat-out unlucky.