There’s been a ton of talk about the need for a bounce-back year for Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott in 2018. The second half of 2017 was disappointing for the second-year quarterback, and for the Dallas Cowboys as a team. I’ve talked a lot about Dak Prescott’s first 24 games over the offseason and covered it in length in my 2018 projection of the signal caller.
Scott Kascmar from Football Outsiders tweeted this little stat nugget the other day and it had me doing the big eyes emoji.
Highest TD pass% on drive starting inside own 20 since 2001 1. Aaron Rodgers 4.9% 2. Dak Prescott 4.7% 3. Andrew Luck 4.5% 4. Peyton Manning 4.4% 5. Russell Wilson 4.3% [Source: ESPN]
If you are in any top-5 list with Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, you are in amazingly elite company.
Three of those players have won a Super Bowl, and when healthy, Andrew Luck has been considered one of the ten best quarterbacks in the NFL. In fact, between the four of them, you have 27 Pro Bowls, nine All-Pro awards, and four Super Bowl championships.
Being able to move your offense the length of the field for a touchdown is a tremendous asset. What we’ve seen in Dak Prescott’s first two years is a consistent ability to move the offense; save for six games in the second half of 2017.
In 2017, the Dallas Cowboys averaged about 32 yards per drive. That ranked ninth in the NFL.
They ranked 14th in the NFL in scoring.
As a team, they averaged 28 points per game in the first eight games of the season before the protection straight disappeared in the Atlanta game and for much of the second half of the season. When Tyron Smith sat out week 10 vs the Atlanta Falcons and weeks 11 and 17 vs the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys only averaged a little over 7 points a game.
With Tyron Smith in the lineup, the Dallas Cowboys averaged 25.5 points per game in 2017. That’s a stark contrast – nearly a 20-point difference in points per game. That’s what the talent difference between Tyron Smith and Chaz Green and Byron Bell was: 20 points per game.
It’s easy to look at the second half of the 2017 season and think that’s who Dak Prescott is. It’s natural for fans to focus on the last thing we see about a player (aka “recency bias”), but the deeper you dig into your memory banks, the more you see that Dak is on a good-to-great trajectory in the NFL.
Context matters when you talk about quarterback play in the NFL.
It’s not as simple as looking at wins/losses or points per game or even completion percentage. Dak Prescott is a good quarterback and will help the Dallas Cowboys win a lot of games in 2018 and beyond.
I’m sure I speak for everyone in Cowboys Nation when I say, here’s hoping 2018 is a step toward being considered one of the greats.