Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s fateful 2020 injury — a right ankle compound fracture and dislocation — occurred on a designed scramble that ended in disaster. It proved to be Prescott’s final play of the season. Going forward, such risks could become an increasingly rare reality for the richest player in franchise history.
Dual-threat ability is part of what makes him worthy of the title, but that doesn’t matter if Prescott’s in the trainer’s room rather than the starting lineup. In other words, he admitted, expect a future reduction in rushing opportunities, scripted or otherwise.
“I’ve got to be smarter. … The best ability is durability, and I have to be there for my team,” Prescott recently said, via The Athletic.
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By The Numbers
With 18 rushing attempts across five appearances last year, prior to injury, Prescott was on pace to shatter his 2019 total (52) and had already tied his touchdown output (3) while hovering around a similar yards-per-carry average (5.2).
His best season via the ground came in 2017 when he turned 57 runs into 357 yards and six scores. Prescott followed that in 2018 with 305 yards and six TDs on a career-high 75 rushes en route to a Pro Bowl nod.
Of course, his combined 1,314 yards and 24 TDs across five professional campaigns are dwarfed by his 17,634 passing yards and 106 TDs.
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Smarter, Not Harder
Interestingly, Prescott’s apparent decision to cut back on running might have stemmed from traumatized Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who publicly urged his prized signal-caller in December to absorb fewer hits, “or we won’t have him to play.”
“I’ve always handicapped, to some degree, Dak because of the fact that he’s so effective and has been in his career in the running game, and his ability to take it down and get the big play and get the yards. I’ve always known that he couldn’t do that like that for long in the NFL. You can’t do that,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “Troy Aikman had a lot of mobility when he first came in his first couple years, and boy that stopped quickly and we got to where we had trouble just with his mobility, period, around the pocket. You can’t count on that. Now, when you say handicap, no, it’s just a part of the game that we’re not going to be able to figure in. You look at some quarterbacks that live with it and done good, the quarterback in Seattle (Russell Wilson) is the best I’ve ever seen at sustaining success with his mobility. He sure is good at it. And if you notice, he just does not get hit with a lot of impact. Dak can do that. Dak will do that. He can evolve to where he just will take less and less hits. He has to or we won’t have him to play.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL