The Cowboys’ once-elite offensive line is not performing up to snuff, but rotating tackles and left guards would explain that.
Of all the issues currently plaguing Kellen Moore’s unit, $160 million franchise quarterback Dak Prescott — stunningly enough — may top the list. To any unbiased observer, the level of Prescott’s play has dipped dramatically following a white-hot start to the season that garnered early consideration for NFL Most Valuable Player.
If it weren’t for a heroic fourth-quarter effort in Dallas’ Thanksgiving loss to Vegas, Prescott would not have recorded a 300-yard passing game since Week 6. Coincidentally (or not), that’s also the last time he’s thrown for three or more touchdowns in a game. He’s tossed three over the previous three weeks — combined.
Prescott completed 26-of-40 balls for 238 yards, one TD, and one interception amid Thursday’s win at New Orleans. The pick was a bad throw, with Prescott forcing the ball into tight coverage. But it was a worse decision, very un-Dak-like: a dangerous deep shot on 3rd-and-7 with the Cowboys leading 20-10 about midway through the fourth quarter.
“It’s frustrating on my part,” Prescott said after the game, via the official team website. “I think just being greedy in some of the reads, trying to put the dagger in them, I guess you could say, rather than just continuing to play through the play and play through the drive.”
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Dak Explains Key to Improvement
With so many weapons at his disposal, the Cowboys couldn’t (shouldn’t) ask Prescott to dial back his pass-happy style. He is the fuel that makes the high-octane engine go, and if Dallas marches into the postseason, it will do so through the air.
But in football, no different than life, moderation is essential. While ultra-aggressive every now and again is fine, not every third-down attempt needs to be a YOLO ball. And it applies to Moore as much as Dak.
“We’ve just got to be more sound, more focused,” Prescott said in his postgame press conference on December 2, via the official team website. “As I’ve said, I’ve got to stay disciplined, just playing it play by play and not try to put the dagger in them and knock them out of the game.”
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Zeke: ‘Good to Get a Break’
Gutting through a bone bruise in his knee, which has torpedoed his 2021 campaign, Elliott led the Cowboys in carries (13) against the Saints. But he was once more outshined by backup RB Tony Pollard, who converted seven totes into 71 yards and one TD — an explosive 58-yard scamper to pay dirt.
Afterward, Elliott told reporters the team “made the plays we needed to make,” including himself in the equation. However, the prideful former Pro Bowler was unwilling to concede that his sagging numbers are directly correlated to his nagging knee ailment.
“The Saints have a good front,” Elliott said, via the Cowboys’ official website. “They do a lot of movement. They have a lot of good guys up front. So it was a little tough.”
Battered by injures throughout the season, Dallas will enjoy a 10-day respite before its Week 14 divisional showdown at second-place Washington. That, Zeke was willing to admit.
“It’ll be good to get a break,” he said.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL