With the return of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and the expectation its defense won’t be historically bad (again), the Dallas Cowboys are the odds-on favorite to capture the NFC East crown in 2021.
Leave it to Dan Orlovsky to go against the grain. The former NFL quarterback-turned-hot-take ESPN NFL analyst — responsible for one of the worst plays in league history — feels the Cowboys won’t place higher than third in the division, behind Washington and the New York Giants.
“I think that, No. 1, the Washington Football Team and the Giants are better coached top to bottom,” Orlovsky said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan, via 247Sports. “I think they’ve got a better coaching staff top to bottom. No. 2, they have more complete rosters with less holes. The third thing is we can’t just say quarterback performance equals football team wins. That’s not the NFL.”
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The ex-Lions, Texans, Colts, and Buccaneers signal-caller admits the Cowboys boast the best QB in the East, which should make them the front-runner. Orlovsky, however, used Prescott’s 2019 season to justify his disparaging prediction for the upcoming campaign.
He also took particular aim at Ezekiel Elliott, singled out for career-worst production last year. Orlovsky intimated that Dallas will not achieve divisional superiority until the sport’s highest-paid running back pulls his requisite weight.
“In 2019, arguably Dak’s best season, they don’t win the division,” he said, per 247Sports. “Last year, Dak is balling the first four or five games before his injury, and they don’t win a lot of football games. So, the quarterback play for the Cowboys doesn’t mean division title doesn’t equal a ton of wins. Even last year, in the first four games, their offensive line was playing really bad football. They were a bottom five offensive line when you look at the tape or when you look at numbers. Ezekiel Elliott had one explosive play. He has to play better.”
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No, neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Daniel Jones are in the same stratosphere as Prescott. But, Orlovsky claimed, Ron Rivera and … yes, Joe Judge are better coaches than Mike McCarthy — the determining factor in ranking the Football Team and Big Blue ahead of Big D.
“I think Washington has such a good defense and an improved skill group that, if Fitzpatrick plays the way he did for Miami, that team is going to be very difficult to beat because of the defense,” Orlovsky said, via 247Sports. “New York, with some of the additions they’ve made at the skill positions, and their defense is going to be really good. Their defense was top-10 last year. … If Daniel Jones makes that second- or third-year step that some quarterbacks do, they’re going to be very difficult. I think they’re better football teams, if the quarterback is playing good football.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL