Connect with us

Player News

ESPN Ranks Dak Prescott As A “Tier 3” Quarterback

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Dallas Cowboys 2017-18 Schedule: Game Predictions For Entire Season 9
Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth straight year ESPN conducted their quarterback tier rankings based on votes from a panel of NFL Insiders. These rankings include five tiers, with one being the best and five being worst.

For example, only five quarterbacks were listed in tier one with the reigning Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady leading the list and Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Matt Ryan following suit.

We wouldn't be talking about this list, however, if it weren't for where the insiders placed Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Listed as a tier three quarterback, the insiders believe that Prescott falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. While this alone may not anger you, the fact that both Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning were ranked above him might.

"I feel like he is a high-Tier 3, possibly low-Tier 2 guy, but I feel like a lot of the reason he was so good is because of everything around him -- the line, the running back, the weapons, the coordinator," a defensive coach said. Twenty-four of the 50 voters knew this and still put Prescott in the second tier."

Anyone who has read the film pieces I've written on Dak Prescott in the past knows exactly how I feel about statements such as these. Sure, the conditions of the Cowboys offense are conducive to success, but without the brilliance of Dak Prescott last season those conditions wouldn't have mattered.

The 2015 Cowboys featured a fantastic offensive line and a 1,000 yard rusher, but due to horrid quarterback play it was irrelevant. To belittle the play of Prescott due to those around him is silly in my opinion.

Regardless, another good season from Prescott in 2017 could continue to turn heads and leap him into the second tier next offseason. In my mind, he is already the best quarterback in the NFC East, right in front of Kirk Cousins.


Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

Advertisement
4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. OCF

    August 23, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Isn’t this the same ESPN that forecasted the cowboys in the toilet last year? Sorry, they have very little credibility

  2. Russ_Te

    August 24, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Best thing for Dak: somebody saying he’s not that good. I think the only risk for his game and his trajectory into the NFL elite – aside from injury – would be if he goes stupid off his meteoric rise to the top job in sports.

    Fortunately, he’s level-headed, poised, etc. His best approach IMO is to shut off the media and run the next play, let the rest take care of itself. I think that’s what we’ll see him do.

  3. BeirutWedding

    August 24, 2017 at 9:08 am

    It’s sooooooo annoying. But will make it all the sweeter when he stomps that ass.

    But I swear this ONLY happens with the Cowboys. No one else gets blamed for having a good team. Derek Carr has a great line and an outstanding receiving corp. People can’t wait to pay him accolades. Pro Football Focus says Philly, actually, has the best offensive line. Somehow Wentz struggled yet people can’t wait to deny the evidence of their own eyes: Dak played great last year and he’s a born leader.

  4. dallas1966

    August 25, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Kevin, you hit the head of the nail. These so-called experts, tend to forget the 2015 Dallas Cowboys, which finished 4-12. Dak, took over the same team, with the exception of Zeke, and willed the Cowboys to 13 wins.
    It’s absurd, how these so-called experts, come to their conclusion, especially, those with HOF credential on BSPN.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Player News

When it Mattered Most, Cowboys Offensive Line Protected Dak Prescott

John Williams

Published

on

All-22 Notes: Connor Williams Stands Out in Wild Card Win

Throughout the 2018 NFL season, one of the major story lines surrounding the Dallas Cowboys was how frequently Dak Prescott was taking sacks. It's an area that the Cowboys will have to look at in the offseason to better protect their franchise quarterback moving forward. In the playoffs, however, Dak Prescott and the offensive line were much better at keeping their prized possession upright than they were in the regular season.

In the regular season, Dak Prescott was sacked 56 times for an average of 3.5 times a game. There was only one game where he wasn't sacked at all, way back in week two against the New York Giants. Four times this season, the Cowboys' quarterback was sacked five or more times. The New Orleans Saints got him for a season high seven times.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dak was "kept clean" -- not pressured -- on 63% of his drop backs during the regular season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. When kept clean, Prescott completed 74.1% of his passes, which was good for 5th in the NFL during the regular season. He was under pressure 37% of the time, which was the sixth highest rate in the NFL and his completion percentage dropped to 52.6%, still good for 10th in the NFL. It was better than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield.

During the playoffs, Prescott's "kept clean" percentage rose from 63% to 68% and he was only sacked once in each game. The one sack against the Los Angeles Rams probably shouldn't have been called a sack as the referee blew the whistle because Prescott was "in the grasp"...

...of his offensive lineman.

During the playoffs, the Cowboys offensive line kept the pressure off of Prescott at a better rate, allowing him to be pressured on only 31.9% of his drop backs. Meaning he was kept clean at an improved rate from the regular season at 68.1% of his drop backs. This while playing against two teams that are really good at rushing the passer. The Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks both finished in the top half of the league in sacks this season and feature players like Aaron Donald, Jarran Reed, and Frank Clark who all had double-digit sacks.

As we know, pressure rates and sacks aren't all completely on the offensive line. The quarterback, wide receivers, and the play calling all factor in, but the Cowboys are trending in the right direction with their pass protection. A full offseason for Connor Williams in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program, better health for Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and -- fingers crossed -- Travis Frederick, should all help the offensive line play at a higher level heading into the 2019 season.

It can't be overstated how important it will be to get Travis Frederick back into the fold this season. Joe Looney was good, and that might be overstating it a bit. He was not noticeable on most plays during the season, but getting your All-Pro center back will tremendously help the offense in every facet of the game. Frederick's one of the smarter players in the NFL, who helps everyone on the offense to see the blitzes and calls out the protections. Both his mental and physical ability will be a welcomed site when the Cowboys begin practicing in the offseason.

With another year of growth for the quarterback and for the young pieces along the offensive line, and with a full offseason for Dak Prescott to grow with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Blake Jarwin, the Cowboys should be better next season at keeping the quarterback clean.


Continue Reading

Player News

Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Next Day Rant: Cowboys Drafting LB Vander Esch Looks Pretty Smart Now

Dallas Cowboys' rookie Leighton Vander Esch has done enough to prove every single doubter wrong. When Roger Goodell called his name during the 2018 NFL Draft in Arlington, Texas, many in Cowboys Nation rejoiced at the thought of having a young linebacker for a defense surrounded with uncertainty. However, many analysts doubted the draft pick. For a lot of people (sadly, I include myself in this category), the pick should've been used on another player. For most, despite acknowledging his raw talent, Vander Esch wouldn't be able to provide the Cowboys with an instant impact player. Ah, well.

After a remarkable season, Vander Esch (a.k.a. Wolf Hunter) has earned a spot on this season's second-team All-Pro. When the Pro Bowl voting began, Vander Esch was snubbed from the ballot itself. It didn't took the NFL long to realize their mistake and add the Cowboys' linebacker to the list. Despite missing the cut at first, Vander Esch will be heading to Orlando to play in this year's Pro Bowl on January 27th.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/1085291591399546880?s=21

The former Boise State Bronco will be replacing Carolina Panthers' LB Luke Kuechly, who won't be participating because of an injury.

Vander Esch racked up 140 tackles (per Pro Football Reference), ranking third in the league in this category. He finished the season as the fifth best linebacker in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

But numbers aren't really enough to fully appreciate what Vander Esch did for the Dallas Cowboys. A team that was used to seeing its defense break when veteran Sean Lee went down injured, did not only get someone to fill in for Lee. Vander Esch actually upgraded the Cowboys' defense. It didn't matter where the ball went, he was always around when opponents were tackled. His speed and chance of direction allowed him to run sideline to sideline, covering a huge portion of the field.

Along Jaylon Smith, Dallas managed to have one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL.

The last time a defensive rookie from the Cowboys went to the Pro Bowl was in 1981, when Everson Walls made the team. Vander Esch is the 11th rookie in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl. This year, the rookie will be accompanied by DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Ezekiel Elliott.

Tell me what you think about "Leighton Vander Esch To Top Rookie Season With Pro Bowl Trip" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


Continue Reading

Player News

Cowboys Expect C Travis Frederick Back for Offseason Program

Jess Haynie

Published

on

Travis Frederick

Lost in yesterday's hoopla over Scott Linehan's return was a positive report about Center Travis Frederick. In his comments to the media, Jason Garrett said that Frederick's recovery timetable should allow him to a full participant in the team's offseason program.

After never missing a start in his first five years, Travis missed all of 2018 dealing with the effects of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. The disease attacked his neurological system and required immediate and intensive treatment.

Rob Phillips on Twitter

Jason Garrett says the team anticipates Travis Frederick being involved in the offseason program right from the start this spring if he continues on the same positive track in recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome. #cowboyswire

While Joe Looney performed admirably in Frederick's absence, he's not an elite talent. Travis has been arguably the best center in the NFL since entering the league in 2013.

It's hard to qualify what effect not having Frederick had on the Cowboys offense in 2018. Ezekiel Elliott still led the league in rushing, but short-yardage plays weren't as automatic as we've seen in past years. A 4th-and-1 stuff was part of what led to the Cowboys' loss this past Saturday.

Dak Prescott was the second-most sacked QB in the NFL in 2018. After being sacked just 25 and 32 times in his first two seasons, the number skyrocketed to 56 sacks.

That's not all on Frederick, of course. Tyron Smith had some health issues and there were was turnover at left guard.

But having your All-Pro veteran center out there to help with the pre-snap reads, and help the rookie guard on his left, might have helped avoid some of those issues.

Indeed, Travis Frederick's return is just one of many reasons for optimism with the 2019 season. One of the best players on the team, he was sorely missed this year and can only help as Dallas looks to build on their division title and playoff appearance.


Continue Reading



Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending