Playing quarterback in the NFL is one of the most highly criticized positions in all of sports. Playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, however, is likely the highest criticized of those highly criticized.
Fourth year veteran Dak Prescott is no exception to this rule.
Prescott has been both incredible, and head-scratching, at different moments throughout the early stages of the 2019 season. After cementing himself in preliminary MVP talks with his performance over the first three games, Prescott’s last two performances have opened him up to a plethora of criticism from fans and media alike.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox put together a list of each team’s biggest disappointment thus far, naming the Cowboys starting quarterback’s inconsistencies as their representative. Knox cites Prescott’s three interception game against the Packers, as well as the entire quiet day the Cowboys offense had in New Orleans as reasons to consider Prescott a disappointment thus far.
“Prescott was one of the biggest reasons Dallas started out 3-0. He’s also one of the biggest reasons the Cowboys are now 3-2.”
After all Dak Prescott is in a contract year, looking to prove that he is worthy of the QB1 money which the market dictates he will receive during the offseason. Still, while Prescott has certainly had his rough moments through the first quarter-plus of the season, naming him the “biggest disappointment” feels a bit unfair. Actually, I’d consider Dak Prescott one of the more promising aspects of this 3-2 start.
Let’s start with the interception numbers.
There’s no doubt that Prescott is turning the ball over via interceptions more frequently than he has in past seasons, but when you dig into those picks more specifically, you become less concerned about them. Not only was the first of his three interceptions on Sunday due to Amari Cooper’s drop, but his pick against the Saints came on a Hail Mary at the end of the game. His third interception against the Packers also came in large part due to Michael Gallup getting mauled at the top of his route.
I get that this sounds like I’m making excuses, but the facts are the facts. Even if you consider each interception to be the fault of Prescott and Prescott only, I’m still not overly concerned about them going forward. Prescott was arguably risk averse to a fault earlier in his career, so having him play more aggressively and push the ball downfield is a good sign. Even if it results in riskier throws, and in turn more turnovers.
My main concern with Dak Prescott is the same concern I’ve had throughout his whole career: the sacks. Prescott likes to hold onto the ball, scramble, and try to find a play on every snap. Sometimes it’s best to get rid of the ball, rather than take a sack due to holding the ball too long.
For example Prescott took an awful sack in the first half of the game last Sunday, which kicked the Cowboys out of “go for it” or long field goal attempt territory, and forced them to punt from plus-territory. Had he thrown the ball away, Dallas might’ve been able to get much needed points early on in that game.
Listen, I get it. Dak Prescott has been far from perfect. But he’s also far from the problem with this football team right now. He has plenty of room for improvement, but I’d look more towards the underperforming linebackers against the run when naming the team’s biggest disappointment through five weeks.