Dak Prescott was battered and bruised in Week 6, and it’s a matter of when, the Dallas Cowboys believe, these cumulative body blows lead to a knockout.
“If the officials don’t start protecting Dak, he’s going to get seriously injured….They protect some QBs but not him,” said Werder’s source.
There’s some validity to the complaint. Two Jets defenders — defensive end Kyle Phillips and linebacker Neville Hewitt — were each fined $21,056, the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken reported, for illegal hits in last week’s game that weren’t called as penalties on the field.
Phillips’ blow was particularly impactful as Prescott’s head clanged off his thigh, temporarily forcing Dallas’ franchise signal-caller to the sideline medical tent. He was evaluated for a concussion and cleared to return.
Prescott was sacked once but absorbed a whopping eight hits in the 24-22 defeat to New York. The Cowboys, unbeknownst at the time, came dangerously close to playing backup QB Cooper Rush.
“Dak Prescott got hit so much by the Jets that backup Cooper Rush was like a yoyo on sideline thinking he was about the come in,” Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday. “After one play, Prescott was checking his jaw and Cooper asked teammate Prescott he was checking his pulse. It was wild on the sideline at MetLife.”
Prescott has taken seven sacks through six games after Dallas allowed a staggering 56 sacks on 226 pressured dropbacks in 2018.
He wasn’t listed on the club’s Week 7 injury report.
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Smith, Collins Should Go vs. Eagles
Part of the reason Dak was so beat up last Sunday was a direct result of Dallas missing starting left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) and right tackle La’el Collins (knee). Brandon Knight was adequate in Collins’ stead, but Cam Fleming badly struggled on the blindside.
Fortunately, Smith and Collins are tentatively expected to return for the club’s primetime divisional showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles. They, along with wide receivers Amari Cooper (quad) and Randall Cobb (back) and cornerback Byron Jones (hamstring), were officially listed as questionable but multiple reports indicate they’ll all be active.
Prescott Expresses Confidence in Beating Philly
By his own admission, Prescott has “a weird way of looking at things.” Rather than bogged down amid the Cowboys‘ three-game losing streak, the former Pro Bowl field general is handling adversity with a distinct appreciation — appreciation that the skid happened when it did.
As the media writes off the 3-3 Cowboys and a large sect of the fan base grows disenchanted, Prescott is actually glad these demons are being exorcised. And while he’s no Doug Pederson, Dak is confident his squad will emerge victorious in the early-season battle for first in the NFC East.
“I’d rather it right now than any time ever. Simply on the fact that we started 3-0, felt good about ourselves, know the team we have and then basically lose three to three different types of teams, really by getting in your own way. I’ll take that,” he told reporters Thursday, via Pro Football Talk. “We’re going to learn from it. We’ll get better because of it. But I’d rather it happen now when we still have a chance to go into Game Seven playing for first place in the division rather than later in the year when we only have a game or two left before the playoffs or be forced to try to make the playoffs. It’s never good to lose three, never, ever, but if there ever was an ideal time, I’d say it’s now. We’re definitely going to get better because of these last three games.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL