Connect with us

Player News

Great Expectations: How Can Dak Prescott Improve from 2016?

John Williams

Published

on

Dak Prescott

As the 2017 NFL season draws near, the Dallas Cowboys will be increasingly scrutinized by fans and the media. This article is the first installment of a series in which I will set out some realistic expectations for various Cowboys players.

The first player up is the face of the franchise, the newest starting quarterback to wear the Dallas Cowboys star on his helmet; Dak Prescott.

Dallas Cowboys 2017-18 Schedule: Game Predictions For Entire Season 15

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 (Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports)

What a Rush!

Rushed into action due to injuries for the incumbent starter, Tony Romo, and first backup QB, Kellen Moore, Dak Prescott won 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year honors and turned in a rookie season for the ages.

Prescott tied Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL record for wins by a rookie quarterback with 13.

His quarterback rating was third in the NFL in 2016, behind Tom Brady and Matt Ryan — you know, the guys who played in the Super Bowl last year. Prescott was just ahead of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, two guys who will likely have their own gold jackets and shrines in Canton within the next decade. Dak’s quarterback rating (QBR) of 104.9 set a new rookie record, besting Robert Griffin III’s 2012 season.

He played with a poise that is uncommon for rookies in this league, and the determination to successfully lead the Cowboys to several comeback victories.

What he displayed in the playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers is something that should excite Dallas Cowboys fans around the world.

Getting down 25-3 early to the Packers, Dak Prescott was able to rally the team and slowly chip away at the lead. They were eventually able to tie the game and, if not for an epic Jared Cook catch that will be a feature in Aaron Rodgers’ Hall of Fame highlight video, your Dallas Cowboys would have had a shot in overtime.

But the past is the past.

It’s behind us.

So What do we Have to Look Forward to in Year Two?

The games in which Dak Prescott struggled most were against the New York Giants — both losses, the Philadelphia overtime win, and the Minnesota Vikings win. In both losses to New York, Prescott had them close enough to win. It wasn’t great play by him, but Dallas was there with a chance to win in the final few minutes of each game.

Against the Eagles and the Vikings, he and the offense started off slow. But as the game went on, Prescott was able to make big plays to help the team shrug off the slow start and come away with a victory.

Throughout the season, he showed he can make adjustments, battle back from slow starts, and have his team in position to win the game.

Dak Prescott seems to be a natural leader who has already won over the locker room.

The Encore

Since year one was such an overwhelming success for Dak Prescott, we have to ask: just how high is his ceiling in year two?

Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of the “sophomore slump” narrative.

Yes, defenses have more tape on Prescott entering his second season. But in turn, Prescott has more tape too, tape of himself against NFL competition and tape on that NFL competition. Prescott knows what needs to improve in his second season. And if 2016 is any evidence, we got a glimpse of the kind of work ethic and commitment he has.

I don’t foresee a drop in performance from Dak. He was incredibly efficient and seemed to move the team down the field at will.

La'el Collins, Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Dak Prescott

A Statistical Jump?

Statistically, he was really good.

He put up a passer rating of 104.9, threw for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns, only four interceptions, and he also ran for 282 yards and six touchdowns. I don’t anticipate much, if any decline statistically for Prescott in his second year, and here’s why…

The Dallas Cowboys are a run-first team.

They are one of the few whose goal at the outset of every game is to get the run game established. This allows them to control time of possession, get a lead, and then use the run game to keep it.

This offense caps Dak Prescott’s passing output a bit.

It’s definitely possible the numbers see an increase, if only because he will likely play in all 16 games in 2017 (remember he only played a drive in the season finale).

Remember that Tony Romo also played 15 games in a run-first offense — in 2014 — and had just over 3,700 passing yards. Romo threw for more touchdowns (34) than Prescott (23), but if you include Prescott’s rushing touchdowns, his 29 total touchdowns wasn’t far behind Romo’s total.

Win Total

Because Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys earned a first-place schedule for 2017, there’s a good chance they don’t see a 13-3 finish this season.

Vegas sports book, Westgate Superbook, has Dallas set at 9.5 wins for this season.

If I were a betting man, I’d take the over.

I do think that nine wins is a solid floor for a team that looks to be getting better despite several key offseason departures. While nine wins is the floor, I think that 12 wins is the ceiling, which would be a good season by anyone’s standards.

3 Reasons Why QB Dak Prescott Will Thrive In 2017

QB Dak Prescott #4 (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Where Can He Improve His Game?

Inside The Star Staff Writer Brian Martin described three reasons why Dak Prescott will thrive in 2017. In addition to that, Prescott will improve because he has a few areas with room for improvement.

  1. First, Prescott showed a lack of awareness at times when facing pressure coming from the right side. He was very good at sensing pressure from his blind side, but struggled from the front side pressure (which is weird, should be the opposite). A full offseason to review 2016 film will allow him to work with quarterback coach Wade Wilson to detect that pressure with better efficiency.
  2. Secondly, as the season wore on, the team gave Prescott more freedom to use his legs. While I would prefer not to see many designed runs for the quarterback, such as they like to do in Carolina, I would like to see Dak scramble for yards when nothing is available down field.
  3. The final thing that he can improve on is his accuracy. Don’t get me wrong, he was an accurate passer in 2016, but he can be better. Has to figure out how to lead his receivers better so that they will have opportunities for yards after the catch.

The Great Expectations for Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott improves upon his 2016 season and is in the conversation for NFL MVP honors, while leading Dallas to its first Super Bowl victory in more than 20 years.

Realistic Expectations for Dak Prescott

Prescott repeats his 2016 campaign, statistically speaking, while Dallas makes the playoffs as a division winner. The team advances to at least the NFC Championship Game.

The sky is the limit for Dak Prescott in his second year with the Cowboys. A few years down the road we may be talking about the organization shelling out the money to make him the top paid quarterback in the NFL.

What kind of expectations do you have for Dak Prescott in 2017?

ADVERTISEMENT

I didn't start out as a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quickly as I could. I grew up a Joe Montana fan when he was with the 49ers and followed him to the Chiefs, until we moved to Texas. I've now been a Fan of the Boys since the Dark Days of the Post-Aikman, Pre-Romo era of abysmal quarterback play, now relishing in more than a decade of franchise quarterbacking for America's Team.

Advertisement
15 Comments
  • Travis Diggs

    People want Dak to fail so bad because they say he cant do it again, they say he cant put up numbers like Romo, they say he’s only good because of his supporting cast. I’ve never seen a second year player get so much hate thrown his way and whats crazy about it is most of it is coming from so called cowboys fans who cant get over Tony Romo. I think Dak bothers some people because of how special he can become. Nobody could control Dez until last season, Where you think that came from?? I think Dak has breathed some life back into Cowboys Nation that needed it. The haters gone hate because thats what they do. Prove them wrong Dak!! Lets go Boys

    • John Williams

      Sorry, if I misled you, but I don’t think I said that Dak was a product of his supporting cast or that he can’t repeat his performance.

      I actually think a repeat performance of his rookie year is all he needs to do.

      In no way am I a Dak or Romo hater. Love Dak and can’t wait to see what he does in year two. I am just of the mind that it is unreasonable to expect too much of an increase in his numbers statistically, aside from playing the extra game for the sheer fact that, he had a GREAT season.

      • Travis Diggs

        My post in no way was directed toward you personally It was directed to the outlets who keep putting Dak in this RG3 sophmore slump category. Two different qbs in two different situations. I understand it will be hard to duplicate 13-3 but people are expecting us to be 9-7 or miss the playoffs, thats ridiculous. I call them “haters” because the same people praise Derek Carr and these other young qbs but just act like Dak suppose to fall off with no real reasoning

        • John Williams

          Yeah, I totally agree. I think 9-7 is a possibility. There are some pretty stout defenses and teams on the schedule. I’m not saying he’ll be bad, but the defense will have to improve for the team to repeat the 13-3 record from a season ago.

        • John Williams

          Gotcha, my bad. Didn’t realize you were speaking in general, not as a response to the post.

  • Matthew Harrell

    I don’t see Dak having a season near as good as last year..I see an optimistic 9-7. As for Travis Diggs’ comments, that is not to say anyone who thinks this hates Dak, is a so-called fan or just can’t get over Romo. Please..been a fan since 1979. It’s called seeing reality and telling it like it is. He is a limited deep ball passer and doesn’t yet have the ability to stretch the D and move the ball at will. Now, I certainly hope I’m wrong, but I’m not. I’d love to see him lead us to 16-0 with a 150 passer rating, 50 TDs and 0 INT. Just because you watch every snap of every play and are objective doesn’t mean you “hate” and all the other nonesense. These Dak fan boys need to grow up. I’m a die hard Cowboys fan, will root for whoever leads us but I’m not going to blindly believe some kid is superman. I’ve seen a few of those wear the star. As for the article, seems to have been written by the president of the Dak fan club. The playoff loss was not a positive. Had he not stunk up the 1st half we might have won a game we absolutely had no excuse to lose at home with home field throughout lined up. Oh, he did so good almost coming back! Well, no cigar. That playoff loss was a bitter disappointment. We had a Super Bowl team and choked. No hate, biggest fan ever, just fact.

    • John Williams

      I disagree. I think he has just as good a chance to repeat his 2016 and will likely improve. But even if he just repeats his performance, it will be a really good season.

  • TreFKennedy88

    Dak was on pace for 4100 yards before cooling off at the end of November, so I think he’ll get 4100-4200 yards, 30 td’s 6-8 int’s, 12-4 record, along with a first class trip to the NFC title game

    • John Williams

      I could see 4,000 and 30 combined Passing and rushing yards for sure, but not sure about 4,000 yards passing. That would mean he’d have to throw for 250 yards a game to hit that number. In 2016, he only threw for more than 250 yards 4 times.

      30 passing tds is harder than it sounds. only 4 quarterbacks through for that many TD’s. Tom Brady would have been the fifth if not for the four game suspension.

      • TreFKennedy88

        Dak can do it, he’ll have 4,000 yards passing and 30 passing td’s

        • John Williams

          He certainly can, but to me that means we are playing from behind a lot. The identity of the team is run first, which is going to limit his opportunities to throw. It’s just unlikely to me, not because he doesn’t have the ability to throw for 4,000 yards, but because his opportunities will be limited.

          Again, I see 4,000 combined rushing and passing yards and 30 combined TDs, well within his reach.

          • TreFKennedy88

            I feel like run first team is code for they can’t pass very good, or how they always say “Dallas has the best run blocking line” I feel like its code for we can’t pass block

          • John Williams

            It goes to the amount of run vs pass plays they call. Dallas is one of the few, if only that runs the ball more than they throw it. Their identity is as a running football team. The same as Seattle’s when they won the Super Bowl. That doesn’t take anything away from Dak or Russell Wilson, it’s just a realistic view of what the team prefers to do. Being good at run blocking doesn’t mean you aren’t also good at pass blocking.

  • ArmyVet78

    Actions will always Speak Louder than Words. I could care less what Dak Prescott say that will happen this coming season. Last year he did ok. He’s no superhero at least not yet. One of this season he might get there. One thing for sure in my book he has earned the title of Choke the Chicken. Three games that he should have won he Choked the Chicken real bad. The World Worst Game that he lost was against the Green Bay Packers. He really Choke the Chicken and left it featherless and with no life. Let’s see how he plays and carries himself both on field and off field. I’m going to be Prescott worst Critic Everytime that he screws up or is the reason the Cowboys lose a game.

    • John Williams

      If you’ll go back and watch that game, you’ll notice that Prescott was moving the offense in the first half, but drops by Butler and Williams and untimely penalties by the offensive line stalled drives and led to punts.

      He lost 3 games. 2 to the Giants who seemed to have a really good game plan for the Dallas offense and to the Packers where they nearly rallied back and pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.

Player News

Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Cowboys Headlines - Forget the Triplets: Cowboys Need The Underrated to Shine in 2016
Ashley Landis / The Dallas Morning News

For better or worse, the Cowboys don’t even need to play football to be all over national TV. I guess it’s just part of being the one and only America’s Team. For the second consecutive week, Fox Sports had a Dallas Cowboys’ player on set for Fox’s “Undisputed.”

Just a week ago, Brice Butler made waves with some controversial comments that failed to make him look like a “great teammate.”

This time, Fox’s guest was Cowboys’ Cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Unlike Butler, I really think we should give Scandrick credit for being a very good teammate, and acting like one on his TV appearance.

Throughout the segment, it feels as if Orlando is being tricked into saying something against his teammates. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe start bashing on Dez Bryant‘s performance and the fact that he should be replaced.

Of course, this is the kind of stuff fans in Cowboys Nation are thinking about. Heck, I really wouldn’t even mind if Dez isn’t wearing a star next season. However, I really disliked Butler’s comments when asked if he would’ve done a better job if given the same opportunities as Dez.

Scandrick’s responses were awesome though. When asked if he would defend Dez, he didn’t even hesitate.

“I don’t think he’s lost any confidence. He’s one of the most confident players I’ve ever been around. I think it can all be fixed. I think he just needs to get back to work and get back to the basics.” – Orlando Scandrick on Dez Bryant.

Scandrick also answered questions about what went wrong with the Cowboys this season by pointing out the fact they lost one of their best players because of a suspension, and some injuries. But he also said what’s been in our minds for a long time. When asked what was the biggest reason they struggled, he said some painful, yet truthful words: “We played some bad football against some very good teams.”

Later, he was asked about how Sean Lee’s absence affected the defense, he insisted they didn’t step up. At the end of the day, the NFL is a league in which you can’t be that dependent on a single player.

Sean Lee is an awesome player, but I think we’d all like to see this defense be a little less dependent on him.

Scandrick even had to defend Dak Prescott.

Dak was highly criticized after a sophomore season in which he struggled, alongside the entire team. But in the words of Orlando, we should “give him time.” Dak had a lot on his plate, but he made a lot of progress for the Cowboys.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Orlando Scandrick’s time in Dallas may be coming to an end, especially with young guys like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis taking over. He’s signed through 2019, so who knows; maybe we see him wearing the star for a bit longer.

“It’s always a possibility.” – Orlando Scandrick on potentially not returning to Dallas next season.

Even still, it’s nice to see him support his football team and his friends on a show which featured a non-starting Cowboys’ wide receiver taking shots against his team. Orlando Scandrick deserves an applause.

Tell me what you think about “Orlando Scandrick Talks Cowboys’ Disappointing Season on FOX Sports” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Player News

WR Brice Butler Makes Waves With Controversial Comments

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys: By the Numbers

Heading into this 2018 offseason, the Dallas Cowboys have to answer some critical questions about their wide receiver corps.

  • Is Dez Bryant still worthy of being labeled/targeted as a number one receiver?
  • Is Ryan Switzer ready to dethrone Cole Beasley as the team’s starting slot receiver?
  • What in the world do you do with Terrance Williams?
  • And, lastly, do you bring back last year’s WR4 Brice Butler?

Well, it appears that final question answered itself earlier this week.

Free agent wide out Brice Butler took to Fox Sports to voice his opinions on his future with the Cowboys, stating that if he isn’t going to be a starter, he isn’t going to come back at all.

“I think in this league, when you think about the business aspect, you’ve got to follow the money trail… Both of our starters made money. Terrance [Williams] just got paid last year. So there were times where I was like, ‘I’m making plays, aren’t we trying to win games? Why am I not on the field?’ But that’s the only thing that I can really think of.” -Brice Butler

Butler also made waves with a comment on Fox’s Undisputed, claiming that if given the same chances as Dez Bryant, he would have been more productive than Bryant was this season.

I am totally for a player getting the money he feels he deserves, and I wasn’t really “for” the Cowboys bringing back Butler anyway, but he probably sealed his fate In Dallas with his comments. This is the same team that cut Lucky Whitehead last offseason to send a message, and has tried to “clean up” their locker room with the “right kind of guys” lately, so it’d be hard to imagine them re-signing Butler now.

Even though I don’t think it’s that outlandish of a comment for him to make. I mean, why shouldn’t he want an opportunity to start somewhere? Unfortunately for Butler, I doubt that opportunity is in Dallas.

Plus, we all thought Butler should’ve gotten more chances during his time here, dating back to the disastrous season in 2015. And when he did get chances, Butler showed flashes of how valuable he can be.

Still, I think the Cowboys should draft a wide out to be their much-needed Z receiver, and signing Butler would just add to the log jam of pretty mediocre players at the position already.

Could Brice Butler have been more productive than Bryant? I guess we’ll never know. But it’s astounding how this rather average football team cannot help but make the news each and every day.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Player News

Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single
Getty Images / Ronald Martinez

During an offseason filled with concerns for Cowboys Nation, Cole Beasley sure helped fans take their minds off coaching changes, free agency and draft prospects for a moment. Bease took Twitter by storm when he tweeted a link to his first single as a rapper… yes, you read that right.

Cole Beasley: an NFL Wide Receiver by Day, Rapper by Night

Cole Beasley on Twitter

80 Stings – Single by Cole Beasley on Apple Music

Listen to songs from the album 80 Stings – Single, including “80 Stings”. Buy the album for $0.99. Songs start at $0.99. Free with Apple Music subscription.

“ColdNation Records” is the name of the company Beasley created alongside music producer Victor Clark, to release his first single. You can listen to “80 Stings” on iTunes, Spotify and just about every digital store, as the tweet above mentions.

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know what to expect. But when I turned the volume up and played the song for the first time, I was surprised. It’s awesome.

When Beasley caught that football behind his helmet versus the Giants back in week 1, I thought “man, that’s it. Beasley can’t surprise me anymore.” Well, he proved me wrong.

“80 Stings” isn’t only performed by him, but also written by him.

It turns out Cole Beasley has been writing since he was in college. And if you already listened to the single, you know he’s awesome at composing, and his flow is actually very quick.

The whole song is pretty entertaining, but it does have some verses that stick out more than others. We all know Beasley has been an underdog his entire football career, so it comes as no surprise that he introduces himself as “Mr. Slept On”, for instance.

Throughout the song, the 28-year-old receiver shouts out his wife and his children (and the fact he’s saving money for when they go to college, something we had already seen him proudly mentioning on Twitter.)

Jerry Jones and Dak Prescott both got their own name-drops on Beasley’s “80 Stings”, too.

“But Sunday, Jerry’s boss now,

I’m a dog when Dak get the ball out,

Pull the sauce out…”

– Cole Beasley on his first single, “80 Stings”

The rest of the album, according to “Killa Beasley”, will be released this Spring.

Cole Beasley insisted this is just a passion and that in no way will it affect his football career. So, really… don’t worry about it. Just enjoy this awesome thing he decided to share with his fans.

This time of the season can be sort of stressing for Cowboys Nation. A lot of changes in the coaching staff that may not be the desired ones, a lot of players Dallas needs to bring back, and just the aftermath of a disappointing 9-7 season.

It’s nice to have something like this to talk about, for a few days at least.

From all of Cowboys Nation, congratulations on this achievement, Mr. Slept On!

Tell me what you think about “Straight Outta Dallas: Cole Beasley Releases His First Rap Single” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement
Advertisement
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