Go figure: With more weapons, Dak Prescott will have less to show for it.
That is the latest estimation, anyway, from Bleacher Report, which projected the Dallas Cowboys quarterback will deliver fewer completions, passing yards, touchdowns and interceptions during the 2020 NFL season.
The digital media giant predicted Prescott will go 375-of-576 for 4,707 yards, 27 TDs, 9 INTs while adding 64 carries for 328 rushing yards and four scores.
Once Prescott takes the field, his eyes should light up. The team re-signed top pass-catcher Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup will go into his third year after a 1,107-yard campaign. The front office selected wideout CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick.
At Oklahoma, Lamb attacked every level of opposing defenses and averaged 19 yards per reception as a collegian.
The Cowboys offensive line took a hit with Travis Frederick’s decision to retire, but Joe Looney is a strong candidate to become a Band-Aid at the position. He started all 16 games at the pivot during the 2018 campaign while Frederick sat out with Guillain-Barre syndrome.
In 2019, Prescott posted career highs in passing yards (4,902) and touchdowns (30). Now, he has a stacked group at wide receiver plus running back Ezekiel Elliott.
By the way, new head coach Mike McCarthy has overseen 13 top-10 passing offenses in 19 years. Under him, Prescott should have another impressive season to justify a potentially forthcoming massive deal.
To be fair, it’s tough for any QB to duplicate the numbers that Prescott compiled last year, when he came within one yard of tying the single-season franchise passing record held by Tony Romo. The fourth-year pro also set career highs in attempts (596), yards-per-pass (8.2) and completions of 20-plus yards (68).
The addition of first-round rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb further enhances an offense that ranked first in yards per game, second in passing, fifth in rushing and sixth in scoring. Lamb believes it’s “definitely achievable” that Dallas could average a gaudy 40 points per contest.
While that pipe dream is unlikely to materialize, the Cowboys should light up the scoreboard and fill the stat sheet on a regular basis. Prescott is expected to be the benefactor, as new head coach McCarthy tailors his scheme around the franchise-tagged signal-caller, but there’s a foil who exists a few feet behind Dak: star running back Ezekiel Elliott, considered a “dark-horse” contender to become the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2020.
McCarthy’s on record as promising that Elliott — who accounted for 14 total TDs last season — is “going to get the football” in his and coordinator Kellen Moore’s system, making for a potentially unstoppable one-two punch through the air and on the ground.
As noted, McCarthy typically wrings every drop out of his signal-callers, and his prowess is a major upgrade from that of former HC Jason Garrett. This is a better football team now than what Garrett left behind in January. And the impending result is a projected double-digit record.
It’s certainly possible, if not probable, that Dallas’ ascension comes at the cost of Prescott’s personal stats. But the downturn, assuming there is one, should be relatively minor given the two-time Pro Bowler’s insanely talented supporting cast.
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Cowboys’ Jones Ducks Question About Prescott, Dalton
Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones held court with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio last week and tackled a litany of Prescott-related topics, including whether the team would rescind the quarterback’s $31.4 million franchise tag and if ballyhooed contract negotiations will push up against the July 15 deadline.
But the Cowboys’ executive vice president non-answered a most important query — one that some of Prescott’s teammates themselves assuredly are wondering.
Is the club now “comfortable,” with new QB2 Andy Dalton on board, in the event the disgruntled QB1 holds out of training camp and the preseason?
Jones sidestepped so fast you’d think it was Zeke juking a defender.
“Like I said only thing I can speak to right now — only thing I can speak to is that we’re trying to sign [Prescott] to a long-term deal,” he told Florio. “He’s a competitor. He loves this football team. He knows that we’re trying to put a great football team together and we’re gonna focus on getting him signed.”
Unsurprisingly, Jones’ reply — which has nothing to do with Dalton — is almost identical to that of his father’s, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who claimed earlier this offseason he won’t sweat Dak’s subtle threat (issued before the COVID-19 pandemic) to train away from the team facility absent a new megadeal.
“It’s not a concern of mine,” Jones said, per The Athletic. “Dak understands, in my mind, one of the great things about Dak is his commitment to building a team. I don’t have an issue there.”
Also unsurprisingly, Prescott indeed opted to skip Dallas’ virtual offseason program, a decision magnified due to the aforementioned pandemic, which brought the entire sports landscape to an unprecedented standstill.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL