Cowboys QB Is Dak Prescott in Crisis? The answer is complicated

FRISCO – So, is Dak Prescott in crisis?

Does he play injured?

Were the numbers the Cowboys quarterback produced in the first two months of the season a myth?

These are questions Prescott faces as the Cowboys enter their Week 15 game against NFC East rival the New York Giants on Sunday.

“I think I would be lying if I said I didn’t hear it,” Prescott said Thursday of the questions. “In a way, yes. But I’ve doubted all my life, I’ve said I can’t do this or I can’t do that, so in a way I’m pretty glad it’s coming back. I’m glad that’s what people are feeling and there is a lot being said right now. Yes, I would be lying if I said I didn’t hear it.

What is the truth ?

Let’s tackle the slump.

In the first six weeks of the season, the Cowboys were 5-1 as Prescott completed 73.1% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He had a quarterback rating of 115.0 and has only been sacked eight times.

Near the end of an overtime win over New England, Prescott suffered a right calf injury. He missed two weeks, one game, because of the injury.

He was no longer the same.

In the past four weeks, Prescott has thrown four touchdowns with five interceptions where the Cowboys are 2-2. The quarterback’s rating is 76.5 and he has completed 63.9% of his passes. He has also been sacked 11 times.

Is it a slump?

“If we kick off the running game and a healthy group of offensive linemen who have been there for over a week, all of a sudden Dak will come out of his crisis,” former Cowboys quarterback said. Danny White, who makes the national championship. radio broadcast of Cowboys games. “It’s amazing how it works. Shifts depend on other factors of the offense more than anyone else.

White doesn’t believe Prescott is collapsing. Some issues are related to player errors. In last week’s win over Washington, Prescott was selected by linebacker Cole Holcomb who returned the pass from 31 yards for a touchdown. White said Prescott made a perfect pitch, dipping his arm in and throwing a defender in the face.

The problem, White said, was that Prescott didn’t see Holcomb, but he also believes the defenseman should have been stranded and not left alone to put pressure on the quarterback.

“It’s not a game of perfection,” said former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, now NFL analyst for CBS Sports. “There are going to be turnovers, we sometimes call them take out because the other team takes them from you.”

Another issue is the lack of a solid racing game. Starting running back Ezekiel Elliott plays with a hesitant right knee. After running for 110 yards on 21 carries in the first game against the Giants, Elliott averaged less than four yards per carry in six of the next eight games.

“The running and passing game, they go together,” said wide receiver Amari Cooper. “I absolutely love it when we handle the ball well. It just sets up the gameplay for us. This is how I look at him. We definitely need the running game to be an integral part of the attack, as well as the passing game so that we can be balanced.

Now let’s talk about the offensive line. Since Prescott’s return from the calf injury, the Cowboys have started two different left tackles and left guards.

And when the Cowboys take on the Giants, they could switch left guard again from Connor McGovern to previous starter Connor Williams. Lack of continuity is a problem.

Prescott discussed playing faster than needed in the pocket, which could be attributed to anticipating pressure when there isn’t one.

“He may be suffering from shell shock,” White said. “He could be and even not know it. I’m not accusing him of that, quarterbacks go through this. I lived it my last years. I was watching the rush more than I was looking at the receivers on the ground and it’s shell shock.

Defenses also keep Prescott from going deep, dividing midfield with two safeties. The offense needs to work on the pitch with shorter throws and running play. Cooper said the Cowboys have missed out on big play opportunities, which normally occur in deep passing play. The absences of receivers CeeDee Lamb (concussion) and Cooper (COVID-19) also negatively impacted the offense.

“Like I said, you have to know what’s important and see the 22 point of view,” Prescott said. “Obviously I know what I’m thinking, but I see the other guys too, maybe I can see why I made a decision or why it happened or it happened and then fix it quickly. Communicate about it, adjust and move forward.

What about Prescott’s health?

He suffered an injury to his right calf during the Patriots game, the same leg that was operated on twice last year for a lower leg fracture and a cleanse of scar tissue from his ankle.

“I am in perfect health. 100% healthy, ”Prescott said.

Simms believes Prescott’s arm problems in training camp are attributed to poor mechanics because the quarterback was still trying to pull himself together. During the season, Prescott spoke about the need to work on his footwork upon his return from the calf injury.

Sometimes Prescott looks slow going down the field. This could mean that he is naturally slower from the trauma to his leg and that he might not regain the speed he once had, at least for another year. And let’s be honest, he’s never been a quick quarterback anyway. When he ran, it had an impact.

“I think it’s difficult to assess the quarterback position,” Prescott said. “You look around the league, look at the draft process and everything that happens in that position and yeah, it’s tough. But like you said, it’s a team game. Obviously, as I pointed out and was very honest, I have to be better, it’s just so, but in the same sense it’s a team game and hard to assess unless you know everything. what is happening.

So, with the Cowboys entering the final four weeks, what’s wrong with Dak Prescott?

It is complicated.

“I realize that I am not playing my best ball, that I did not play it, that I made some bad decisions, you could say it,” he said. “It’s kind of a part of it. I wouldn’t say it’s material slump, but I definitely don’t live up to my standards or expectations and when you play at a high level that’s what you create. So I’m glad people have the same expectations for my game as they do for me.

Dallas Cowboys No.4 Dak Prescott shakes hands with FOX sports presenter and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at AT&T Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Arlington, Texas.

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