For the last year, there hasn't been a topic in sports as hotly debated as the future of Dak Prescott with the Dallas Cowboys. In Cowboys circles and across the NFL landscape, everyone has an opinion on Dak Prescott. Prior to the Amari Cooper trade, the debate surrounded Prescott's future as the Cowboys franchise quarterback. Since then, Cowboys fans and media alike have wondered how much Dak Prescott is worth.
To me, the answers should be obvious. He is a franchise quarterback and he's about to get paid a lot. Regardless of what we think, however, the group of people that matter the most are ready to move forward with Dak Prescott as their future at the quarterback position. And by move forward, I mean they are about to write him a big check.
Yesterday, Cowboys Owner and General Manager went on the Rich Eisen Show and expressed his faith in Dak Prescott's present and his future with the Dallas Cowboys.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talking about Dak Prescott today on the @RichEisenShow: "We're sold on Dak and we do want to have him for the long term. We think he's worthy of investing in for the long term. ... We see real upside in Dak. You don't have it all yet.
The best part of this quote, is that they see upside in Prescott. He's already accomplished a lot in his short NFL career. Two Pro Bowls, two division titles, two divisional round playoff appearances, rookie of the year, MVP consideration (in 2016), and a playoff win.
Though QB wins aren't a stat that adequately assesses quarterback play, the fact remains that the Cowboys have gone 32-16 with Dak Prescott at quarterback since 2016. In fact, only one team has won more games in the regular season from 2016-2018 than the Dallas Cowboys; the New England Patriots.
Dak Prescott is the only player in the top five to have not won a Super Bowl (yet). Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Russell Wilson have all won a Super Bowl. Three of those four have been to multiple Super Bowls. Matt Ryan's appeared in a Super Bowl and been to the playoffs several times.
Prescott's the only player in the top eight who's been in the league for only three years. Jared Goff is the only player in the top 10 in QB wins since 2016 who came into the league at the same time as Prescott.
Nobody has more game winning drives in the last three seasons than Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Only Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders and Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints have more 4th quarter comebacks than Dak Prescott's eight fourth quarter comebacks.
Prescott's 11th in passing yards in that time frame and 13th in passing touchdowns. If you include his 18 rushing touchdowns, Prescott's accounted for 85 total touchdowns in his three seasons in the NFL. 20 quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than Dak from 2016-2018, including Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins and Ben Roethlisberger.
The only players to throw for more touchdowns and fewer interceptions than Dak Prescott are Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Two of the best quarterbacks of all-time.
We've seen Dak Prescott be really great. He's also had some stinkers in his NFL career, but more often than not, he puts the Cowboys in position to win the game in the fourth quarter. So much of what's great about Dak Prescott are things that you can't measure or look at on a spreadsheet. Though the spreadsheet is pretty good too.
Prescott's shown to be a leader, to be mentally tough, and to not be rattled by game situation. Does he have things to work on? Yes, every quarterback does. With good coaching this offseason, he'll improve his footwork, which will only improve his accuracy. Every quarterback misses throws, even the good ones, but Dak's great at the things that you can't teach him.
Those immeasurable things combined with his play on the field make Dak Prescott a quarterback "worthy of investing in."
Cowboys RB Mike Weber’s Injury Scare Continues Concerning Trend
Rookie RB Mike Weber had a brief scare earlier this week with a knee injury in practice, but thankfully the MRI came back with a good report. However, as he fights to have a future with the Dallas Cowboys, this health incident is a concerning reminder of Weber's recent history.
One reason that Weber fell to the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft was due to battling injuries during his last two years at Ohio State. He lost his starting job in 2017 due to ongoing hamstring issues and also had to miss time last year because of a foot strain.
Carrying the load for the Buckeyes is a far different workload than being second or third on the Cowboys' RB depth chart. But this latest scare happened in early May, just two weeks after Mike joined the team and well before the more strenuous activities of an NFL offseason.
A practice injury can cost you just as badly as one that happens in a game. And with Dallas already thin at RB, it could leave them severely shorthanded if it occurs during the regular season.
Many have projected that the Cowboys' RB group in 2019 would have Ezekiel Elliott as the obvious starter and then rookies Weber and Tony Pollard behind him. While Pollard was drafted three rounds ahead of Weber, he's not built to take a large number of carries if Zeke were to go out.
If Mike Weber does make the team, he would be expected to take a sizable role if something bad happen with Elliott.
The "injury prone" label is disastrous for any athlete, but especially a guy with no real claim to a roster spot. If Weber causes concern in the front office about his durability, they may go a different way at final cuts.
Remember, Mike's not just up against Pollard and Darius Jackson for a roster spot. There are still plenty of veteran free agent running backs out there that Dallas could turn to if they're not confident about their young prospects.
This isn't too say that one scary moment in May, which ultimately didn't amount to much, is reason to cut bait with Mike Weber. But when you stack it up with his injury history in college, it does make you wonder how he'll do over the course of an entire NFL season.
Hopefully, Weber bounces back from this and has a great summer. Former Buckeye RBs have treated Dallas well the last few years, and it'd be fantastic if Mike can provide the same solid solid depth that Rod Smith did.
But this latest news is just a reminder of why Dallas can't rest easy at running back just yet, and why they may still have another move to make to prepare for 2019.
Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Graduating From Notre Dame
The 2019 season is right around the corner for the Dallas Cowboys, with OTA's and training camp getting ready to kickoff in the coming weeks/months.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith made the most of his offseason, going back to Notre Dame to finish out his college degree. Smith is set to graduate from Notre Dame this Saturday, and will walk to earn his degree in Film & Television.
Smith talked to DallasCowboys.com's David Helman about why it was so important for him to graduate and finish what he started at Notre Dame.
“When I left after my junior year, I promised my mom that I would go back and finish...Finishing my third year with the Cowboys, it was time.” - Jaylon Smith
2,025 @NotreDame undergraduates will receive degrees during Commencement Weekend. That contingent includes @thejaylonsmith Yes, the current @dallascowboys & former @NDFootball All-American linebacker, who took 21 credits this spring #4for40 #GraduatingChampions #CEV
Smith continues his leadership on and off the field, and we all send our congratulations to the Cowboys starting MIKE linebacker!
Ezekiel Elliott Snubbed from Top 25 Players Under 25 List
On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus published it's Top 25 Players Under 25, with Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch one of only three linebackers on the list. Oddly, one of the best players on the team was absent from this same list; Running Back Ezekiel Elliott.
The running backs they included were Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley, and Alvin Kamara. Pro Football Focus has been very open about their dislike of Elliott's 2018 season, ranking him 30th in the NFL according to their player grades.
Elliott has won the NFL's rushing title in two of his three seasons and likely would have won it in 2017 had he not been served with a league-mandated six-game suspension. Elliott ran for nearly 1,000 yards in the 10 games he played, which put him in 10th place in rushing in 2017. Le'Veon Bell led the NFL in rushing that season with 1,291 yards. Using some basic arithmetic, I've discovered that Elliott finished just 308 yards off the league lead in six fewer games.
Despite being the most productive back in the NFL in his first three years in the NFL, Elliott gets knocked because he sees such a high volume of carries and targets from the Dallas Cowboys offense.
On Wednesday, Mark Chichester of Pro Football Focus talked about the players who just missed the cut. Here's what he had to say about Ezekiel Elliott.
"There’s no doubt that Ezekiel Elliott is one of the top players at his position, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that his production is, in large part, thanks to the offense that Dallas has built around him. Over the last three years, Elliott ranks first in rushing attempts (868), rushing yards (4048), rushing yards after contact (2567) and first down conversions (219). However, his three-year rushing grade of 80.2 ranks ninth among the 36 backs with at least 300 attempts in that span, while his 0.119 missed tackles forced per attempt ranks tied for 27th among the same group."
Mark Chichester - Pro Football Focus
Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best running backs in the NFL, if not the best. There can be an argument for Todd Gurley or Le'Veon Bell, and maybe even Saquon Barkley, but if you aren't including Ezekiel Elliott in the discussion, the discussion is a bit flawed.
For three years, under Scott Linehan as the offensive coordinator, every team in the NFL knows that Elliott is going to get the ball and get the ball a lot. Primarily on first downs. Yet, Elliott continues to be productive and grind out his yards, even against heavily stacked fronts.
I understand the argument that Elliott wasn't very efficient with his touches in 2018, but when you are the primary focus for opposing defenses, it makes it difficult to be efficient. Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamar had the benefit of being coached by Andy Reid and Sean Payton who are considered creative offensive minds. Saquon Barkley had the benefit of Odell Beckham Jr keeping safeties honest.
While the Cowboys had Amari Cooper, the passing game still doesn't get near the respect that the Cowboys run game gets from opposing defensive coordinators. With Kellen Moore on board and the talk about presenting multiple formations for opposing teams to figure out, the Cowboys offense could get more creative in 2019.
Heading into his fourth year in the NFL, it's amazing that Ezekiel Elliott apparently still has something to prove to some out there. After winning rushing titles in two of his three seasons and averaging right around 100 yards a game, Elliott still doesn't get the respect he deserves from national observers.
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