Now is the time the Dallas Cowboys' focus changes and they turn their eyes toward preparations for the upcoming 2018 season. This means they start to question every little aspect about what went right in 2017 and what went wrong. One such question is what do they really have in quarterback Dak Prescott?
Prescott has had kind of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde first two seasons with the Cowboys. He could do no wrong in 2016 and ended up having one of the best rookie QB seasons in the history of the league. But, Prescott's poor performance of 2017 has left a lot of Cowboys Nation with a bad taste in their mouth.
Determining exactly what the Cowboys have in Dak Prescott really depends on if you're the type of person who focuses on what he has done in his first two years in the league, or if you focus more on just 2017.
It's hard to argue either, so I'll let you decide amongst yourselves where you stand. But, maybe I can help you make up your mind by giving you a few facts to chew on.
Dak Prescott as Dr. Jekyll
You may or may not remember, but Dr. Jekyll was the "good guy". In an attempt to suppress his inner demons, he created a serum in hopes of silencing the darkness within him. This is exactly who Dak Prescott was in his rookie season.
He put his nose to the grindstone and worked his tail off in order to find success, and it worked.
Prescott has won 22 of his first 32 regular-season games in the NFL. That is second-best behind only Russell Wilson (24) since the 1970 merger. He is also just outside the top-10, at number 11, in passing touchdowns (45) and passing yards (6,991) the last two years.
That's pretty impressive for a guy who was chosen in the fourth round with the second of the Cowboys fourth-round draft picks. Even more impressive is the fact Prescott is the only Dallas Cowboys quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in each of the first two seasons.
Unfortunately, Prescott may have just set the bar way too high for himself during his rookie season.
It would've been nearly impossible to put up the same kind of numbers in 2017, but that's what a lot of Cowboys fans expected. Right?
Fair or not, that's just the way things work.
Dak Prescott as Mr. Hyde
Remember, Dr. Jekyll was the good guy, but the serum he developed to suppress his demons ended up doing something completely unexpected. The serum released all the bad within him and created his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. This is how I would describe Dak Prescott after watching the way he played in 2017.
What made Prescott so good as a rookie was his ability to prevent turnovers. Unfortunately, that was one of his downfalls this season.
He threw nearly three times as many interceptions (13) than he did as a rookie (4). He also had eight games where he threw for less than 200 yards, and saw his completion percentage go from 67.8% to 62.9% this year. His yards per attempt also took a hit from 8 to 6.8.
But, he wasn't far off on his passing touchdowns this season. He only finished with one less than he did in 2016.
Unfortunately, Prescott just didn't quite seem the same this season.
It looked as if he had a really hard time reading defenses and wasn't as accurate with his passes as he was as a rookie. Of course, he had to carry the load a little more this season due to Ezekiel Elliott's suspension, but he looked as if he might've buckled under the pressure a little.
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As you can see, there are both positives and negatives to the way Dak Prescott has played his first two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. It's now up to the organization to determine whether or not they have a Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde on their hands. That's why the evaluation process is so important during the off-season.
And every single player on the roster will likely get the same treatment.
I don't know how you personally feel about Prescott, but I still believe he can be the Cowboys future QB, despite his struggles this season. If the Cowboys could've avoided some key injuries and suspensions, we probably aren't even having this conversation. But, I'm not really the kind of person who likes to play the "what if" game.
What do you think about Dak Prescott's future with the Cowboys?
Travis Frederick Regains Strength in Hands, Influence in Cowboys OL Room
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off their most impressive win of the season, keeping playoff hopes alive on the road with a 27-20 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. Entering the hostile home of the defending Super Bowl champions with three previous road losses already on their record, the Cowboys performance on Sunday night was truly about getting back to their roots. In their second week with Marc Colombo as the Offensive Line Coach, the Cowboys rushed for 171 yards and protected Dak Prescott very well. It was revealed after the game that Frederick was on a coaches headset with Colombo and his new assistant Hudson Houck.
Travis Frederick just told @BenRogers on @1053thefan that Marc Columbo has him on a coaches headset now helping him and Hudson Houck. That's a smart move from Columbo. Smartest guy on the line
The anchor of the Cowboys offensive line since being drafted in 2013, Frederick is regarded as the smartest linemen on the team. It's his mental edge that's made up for a slight lack of size at the position, regarded as one of the worst first round picks in his draft because of this oversight.
Not only is Frederick a welcome addition to the Cowboys brain trust at offensive line, but he did receive some great news on his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) that's kept him out this season. Frederick was placed on injured reserve on October 6th, announcing publicly his GBS diagnosis on August 22nd.
Frederick has a long way to go before he's playing football again, not eligible to do so until week 14 at home against the Eagles. Regaining feeling in his hands is about the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee getting as healthy as possible away from football. If a return to the Cowboys is possible through his recovery, the team would of course welcome Frederick.
Travis Frederick regains sensation in his hands: "There is some light at the end of the tunnel" https://t.co/wvQhB6KUQp
What Frederick has gained in upper body strength, he must remain patient for in the lower body. While pointing out that over 95% of patients make a full recovery from GBS, Frederick is still waiting to feel sensations in his feet.
The Cowboys have been optimistic that Frederick's condition was caught early enough for a full recovery to be probable.
Dallas' schedule doesn't get any easier following their uplifting win. Returning to the site of last year's demoralizing loss at the Falcons, Frederick likely wishes he could make a miraculous return just a bit more this week.
To make matters worse, Left Tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday due to back spasms. It's unknown if rookie Connor Williams will reclaim his starting left guard spot on Sunday, or if Xavier Su'a-Filo has earned another opportunity.
Despite the patchwork nature of a Cowboys offensive line once regarded as the best in the league, and still vital to the entire team's success, Dallas has an abundance of hope that Sunday in Atlanta can be much better than 2017. This starts with Frederick's strength to fight GBS and attempt to rejoin his teammates, wisely given some added game day influence on them by Colombo.
If elevating their level of play up front was all it took for the Cowboys to play up to their potential and pull off an upset on prime time last week, the NFC East is certainly still within reach for a team that must now sustain the level of play on offense to match what this defense has given all season.
Cowboys LB Named NFC Defensive Player of the Week Against Eagles
You already knew that Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys rookie linebacker, had a great night last Sunday in Philadelphia. Apparently the rest of the football world agreed, and now he's been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
The award is the first of what could be many for Leighton, who has emerged as a defensive leader for the Cowboys. He's been playing more in the absence of veteran Sean Lee, who has been battling hamstring issues all season.
THE. WOLF. HUNTER. Congratulations to #DallasCowboys rookie LB @VanderEsch38 on being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week! → https://t.co/XeSTt2tIpX
This is the second Player of the Week award for a Dallas Cowboys this season. Kicker Brett Maher won the Special Teams version in Week 4 after going 4-for-4 and hitting a game winner over the Detroit Lions.
The Defensive Player award hasn't gone to a Cowboys since Week of 2017, when DeMarcus Lawrence put up three sacks against the Arizona Cardinals.
Leighton's recognition is also well-earned. He led Dallas with 13 tackles and an interception in a pivotal road victory against a division rival. In what was arguably a "must-win" game for the Cowboys, their first-round pick stepped up and stood out.
A few more games like this, and Vander Esch could be in the running for the Defensive Rookie of the Year. But even above personal accolades, Leighton's play could help the Cowboys make a push in the NFC East.
If nothing else, he's making that first-round pick look smarter every week.
Legendary Cowboys Quarterback Backs Dak Prescott
Things have not gone well for Dak Prescott this season. His play has been up and down and he hasn't given the team or Cowboys Nation much reason to believe that he's the future at the quarterback position for the Dallas Cowboys. Speaking to 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas today, Legendary Dallas Cowboys Quarterback, Ring of Honor and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Roger Staubach offered support for the Cowboys current quarterback, Dak Prescott.
Staubach had this to say when asked about Dak Prescott.
Roger Staubach on @1053thefan said #Dak is a part of the problem with the #Cowboys offense, but he is not the problem.
Roger Staubach didn't start in the NFL until the third year of his career and thinks that's a good time for the quarterback to make the jump. At this point, we are 40 games into Dak Prescott's NFL career and we can see some of the things that he's good at as well as some of the things that he struggles with.
As Staubach points out, Dak Prescott has the intangibles that you look for in a quarterback, even if his play hasn't been what you'd want at the position. Roger admits that Dak shoulders some of the blame for the offensive woes of the last 16 games, but realizes that there are many reasons for the Cowboys offensive failures this season.
Roger Staubach believes that the Dallas Cowboys can win with Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback despite some of the flaws that have crept up over the last 16 games. He's not wrong.
Staubach's pretty accurate in his assessment that there's been more good than bad. If you look at the first 24 games of Dak Prescott's career, he was really good. Through the last 16 games, he's struggled at times. So technically there's been more good than bad. The problem is that over the last 16 games, there's been more bad than good. The NFL is a "what have you done for me lately" league and lately Dak hasn't done much. We can debate all day on how much of the struggles Prescott's faced are on him, but everyone should be willing to admit that some of the struggles are on him.
It's plausible that the confidence in Prescott that Jerry Jones has comes from Roger's belief that the Cowboys can win games with Dak Prescott at quarterback; and they have. In Prescott's career, the Dallas Cowboys are 25-15. Though wins are a team stat and not a quarterback stat, it just goes as evidence that Dak Prescott can be a winning quarterback in the National Football League.
Dak has some flaws, but the offense and its play caller haven't helped Prescott much this season. We should be critical of Prescott because he has a big pay day coming, if you believe Jerry Jones. While Dak has some flaws, he also has some traits that can make him a good quarterback in the NFL with the right coaching situation behind him. 2018 may be running out of time for the Dallas Cowboys and their playoff prospects, but the Cowboys have time before they have to make a decision on Prescott.
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