The evolution of Dak Prescott has been one of the few bright spots for the Dallas Cowboys during this rollercoaster of a season. Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore has really taken the shackles off of Prescott in his first year of play-calling duties. Also, Quarterbacks Coach Jon Kitna has worked wonders in his first year on the staff. From footwork to throwing mechanics he has been vital in the overall progression of the Cowboys signal-caller.
Over the last several weeks, however, Prescott has slightly regressed during the team’s current three-game losing streak, which is their second of the season.
Prescott has only completed 59.5% of his passes since Week 11 (three touchdowns, two interceptions). What’s somewhat concerning about this is that all three defenses the Cowboys have faced recently are ranked in the top 10. Three of the other five teams that are currently in the NFC Playoffs have defenses ranked in the top 15. If the Cowboys hold on and win the division they’ll be facing good defenses weekly so Prescott will definitely need to be better against stiffer competition.
In my opinion, there are a few reasons why Prescott is struggling. For one thing, he seems to be pressing the issue and looking to make a huge play every time he drops back to pass, which explains why his completion percentage has gone down nearly eight percent in the last three games. Also, the team has gone away from All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott in each of the last three games after he had established a rhythm. He was well on his way to having 100 yards vs the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills and came out guns blazing with eight carries on a 17 play drive to start the game last week vs the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, Elliott only had 14 carries combined in the second half of these three games which forced the Cowboys to be one dimensional and allowed defenses to key in on Prescott and his receivers.
This falls completely on the coaching staff. You must put your players in the best position to be successful. The Cowboys are 1-5 when Prescott has 40 or more pass attempts. Granted the Cowboys fell behind multiple scores in five of those six games in the first half which forces you to throw more, understandable. However, the last three weeks the Cowboys have established the right from the start, but Prescott still ended up with 131 pass attempts. The more he throws the less accurate he gets, and simply put, the Cowboys don’t win.
Prescott’s recent slide isn’t all on him, as I explained. Even though that is true, once you step on the field, especially at quarterback, you’re expected to produce. He needs to get back to the guy who completed 67.6% of his passes and led the league in passing yards and QBR the first 10 games. The NFC East is still up for grabs as the Cowboys are tied with the Philadelphia Eagles at 6-7. They’ll need Prescott to be poised and efficient more than ever down the stretch to avoid this season being a major disappointment.