Last week, the sputtering Dallas Cowboys offense woke up in a big way, laying a 40-7 beatdown on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Much of the Cowboys’ problems have been pinned on quarterback Dak Prescott, who has regressed in each of his two seasons since winning Rookie of the Year honors for the 2016 season.
Jerry Jones: Dak Prescott is ‘long-term’
Team owner Jerry Jones, who presided over the decision to stick with Prescott over Tony Romo, is not having that.
Jones spoke with USA Today at the NFL’s owners meetings in New York and put up a staunch defense of his signal-caller, declaring that Prescott’s job is safe regardless of how this season plays out.
“He’s long-term,” Jones told USA today. “Anything we need to see and need to know, I see with him.”
While Prescott impressed with his legs and and his arm against Jacksonville, he remains statistically one of the least productive quarterbacks in the NFL. His 190.7 yards per game ranks 33rd among quarterbacks while the Cowboys’ passing attack ranks 29th in the league.
But Jones has seen enough to satisfy him. He took umbrage with the categorization that Prescott is simply the “bus driver” of an offense centered on running back Ezekiel Elliott running behind a powerful offensive line.
Jones: Don’t call Prescott a ‘bus driver’
“He’s not a ‘bus driver,'” Jones told USA Today. “He’s a weapon. And as mobility diminishes, then you’ll pick up where he is with that great decision-making, with the mind he’s got.
“I take offense with any serious, projected criticism about his accuracy. He can get the ball within the circumference of where receivers can catch it. They need to help.”
Jones is right about one thing. Prescott needs more out of his receivers. But that’s not so much on them as it is on Jones failing to procure difference-making weapons for the Cowboys offense. Middling talent produces like middling talent.
Dallas has done little to provide Prescott with weapons since the departures of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant. Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Tavon Austin and Michael Gallup comprise the top of one of the least imposing wide receiver depth charts in the NFL.
But Hurns succeeded in Jacksonville. Bryant succeeded in Dallas with Tony Romo. Both struggled playing with Prescott, who is not an accurate quarterback.
Numbers don’t support case for Prescott
Prescott’s 62 percent completion rate places him 26th in the league this season among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. He completed 62.9 percent of his passes last season. This is not a fluke. It is a problem.
The Cowboys sound committed to allowing Prescott to do what he does best, which is make plays with his legs. He’s an effective runner and has looked good as a passer when scrambling on broken plays to find receivers downfield.
“We have to continue to aspire to do that,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan told the Dallas Morning News of drawing up plays that play to Prescott’s mobility.
While a smart strategy, it seems little more than a Band-Aid and a company line to overlook Prescott’s deficiencies.
Jones a poor talent evaluator
Jones made the decision to move to Prescott two seasons ago, and seems wont to admit he made a mistake.
Since winning three Super Bowls in the early 90s with a team built with Jimmy Johnson, Jones has demonstrated little to support that he knows anything about evaluating NFL talent.
The odds that he sees something here with Prescott that belies the statistics seem slim.
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