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Y’all outta pocket!: Dak Prescott is not the ‘weakest link’ of the Dallas Cowboys

has been the object of attack all week, and someone needs to set the record straight. Now, I don't normally write in first person, but when I do, it's usually because I've noticed a situation so egregious that I lose all patience required to formulate 3rd person objective sentences. This is one of those situations.

Being home sick this week, I've had even more time than usual to pay attention to the viewpoints of talking heads on . I've also had more time to observe which of those viewpoints gets echoed throughout Cowboys Twitter. This week began, of course, with all sorts of speculation about who or what was to blame for the Cowboys' disappointing loss to the on Sunday. There were plenty of factors to be considered, but Stephen A. Smith took it upon himself to assert who should bare more blame than anyone else. On ESPN's First Take, he declared that Dak Prescott was the “weakest link” of the .

It's time for Stephen A. Smith to educate the audience about the Cowboys ⭐️ | First Take

This didn't sit right with me for several reasons, but what was even more frustrating was the volume of and members of the Cowboys-dedicated media who seemed to agree. Of course, I haven't conducted any actual qualitative or quantitative analysis to determine the actual volume of fans. This is just my observation based on activity. I digress.

By the Numbers

From my perspective, the bigger issue that led to the loss to the Packers was an issue that has been plaguing the Dallas Cowboys all season long – inability to stop the run. I decided to take a look at the numbers to verify whether or not my perspective was off.

As of the writing of this piece, I have discovered a few things related to teams running the ball against the Cowboys:

  • The three teams that defeated the Cowboys this season ran the ball far more times against the Cowboys than they did on average against other teams this season.
  • The Packers recorded 39 rushing attempts against the Cowboys. Their average attempts per game with the Cowboys game removed from their data set is 24.3. The Eagles also ran the ball 39 times compared to 30.9 times against other teams. The Buccaneers ran the ball 33 times against the Cowboys but average 21.6 attempts per game against other teams.
  • The only team to run the ball over 30 times against the Cowboys and still lose was the .

When it comes to Dak's performance since he returned from , it seems the is actually more productive now than it was without him. Removing the Week 1 game from the Cowboys data set, I found the following:

  • Since Dak has returned, average points per game has increased from 21.4 to 34.7.
  • Average yards of offense per game has increased from 319.6 to 406.7.
  • Even average rushing yards per game his increased from 128.4 to 166.
  • Rushing attempts are almost the same. 29.8 attempts per game without Dak and 30.1 since his return.

Fault vs Responsibility

Now, I won't pretend to not understand why people are so upset with Dak. Almost everyone points to the two interceptions during the Packers game for which they believe he is at least partially responsible. Some pundits even argued that because he's the of the team, it's up to him to find a way to win regardless of what the does or doesn't do. In response, I argue the following:

  • If the Cowboys had somehow won the game against the Packers, no one would refer to Dak as the “weakest link.” They'd say he needs to clean up a few things in his game, and they'd probably still be obsessing about whether or not he'll ever be considered elite. However, there would not be such a need to rank who is at fault much less place him atop the list.
  • Before Dak's return, the general belief seemed to be that the team was doing well but needed to score more. Although Dak has been throwing the ball more than many people think he should, the offense is indeed scoring more. The defense, however, allowed the Packers to score more points against the Cowboys than any other team has so far this season. The Bears are second in points allowed against the Cowboys. It was a great offensive performance that won the game against Chicago.
  • Finally, there's a difference between fault and responsibility. Even if a person does believe that as quarterback, it's up to Dak to save the day, that doesn't mean that whatever led to the need for its saving is totally his fault. It doesn't make sense to call him the “weakest link” over things he cannot control, and it certainly doesn't make sense to do so essentially because of one loss.


Does Dak have some things to work on? Absolutely. Does the Cowboys offense as a whole need improvement? Of course. Should the Cowboys run the ball more and throw it less? Probably, in some cases. Will teams continue to exploit the issues with the Cowboys ? That's pretty much guaranteed.

I'm not saying that Dak Prescott is without fault. I'm not arguing that he is among the most elite quarterbacks. What I'm saying is that I believe the masses are overreacting to one loss and that there is insufficient evidence to say that Dak Prescott is the absolute worst part of the team. He hasn't done anything to warrant that level of contempt.

I'll be honest. As a fan, I have no real interest in placing more blame on one part of the team as opposed to another. It's not as if after a disappointing loss my favorite offensive players would be content and happy if the public decided the loss wasn't their fault. It's not as if the Cowboys defense can compete in the by themselves leaving Dak and the offense at home if Dak is somehow proven to be the limiting factor. Outside of whatever use a person has for debate, banter, and the throwing of shade, this entire conversation is essentially pointless.

At the same time, I thought an adjustment in perspective was necessary. Sometimes people cough Stephen A. Smith cough (sorry, still getting over that cold) do or say things for attention/ ratings/ clout/ to land more appearances, and they have no regard for how it impacts fans and could ultimately impact players. Yes, Dak Prescott has shown lapses in judgment, but he's also made some awesome plays that fans should be proud of.

Jazz Monet
Jazz Monet
Sports culture analyst. Sports competition enthusiast. Host of Bitches Love Sports podcast. Personal trainer. Roller derby athlete and trainer.

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