When that cast plays well, so does Prescott. When that cast struggles, so goes Dak.
Many critics of the $160 million star subscribe to such a theory — Jimmy Johnson among them. And it’s because of this presumed reliance that makes the iconic former Cowboys head coach reticent to label Prescott a Super Bowl quarterback.
“He can win you a championship if you’ve got really good players around him,” Johnson said on FS1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on December 13, via Mike Fisher of SI.com. “They’re not running the football as well as they did a year ago. When they’re running the football, those play-action passes, Dak is really good. But when he’s gotta drop back and start reading the whole field and make decisions about where he’s throwing the football, and the defense isn’t slowing down for the run and they’re rushing the passer and putting pressure on him, he’s not nearly as good.”
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McCarthy, Jerry Differ on Dak
Once-hailed as the 2021 NFL MVP favorite, Prescott turned in another concerning performance in Dallas’ Week 14 win over Washington, completing roughly 56% of his attempts for 211 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, including a fourth-quarter pick-six that Prescott himself attributed to poor decision-making.
Prescott has more INTs (5) than passing TDs (4) across his last four games, two of which were losses. The Cowboys are 3-3 since the 28-year-old returned from an October calf strain that could be contributing to his downturn.
“It’s different in football. A lot of things go into it. I don’t think Dak is in a slump,” head coach Mike McCarthy argued, via the official team website. “I think everything has not gone the way we would like to go are things we can improve on. That’s the focus this week.”
Although his backfield has been haunted by the injury bug and his offensive line remains in flux, Prescott boasts three legitimate No. 1 wide receivers and arguably two No. 1 tight ends — plenty of firepower. Yet the Cowboys are 9-4, atop the NFC East, due largely to its defense, and the club is succeeding in spite of Dak rather than because of him.
“I don’t want to say (it’s a) slump, but that’s probably fair,” Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said December 14 on 105.3 The Fan, via The Athletic. “It’s such a multifaceted evaluation. I would say that our offense is definitely away from where we were 5-6 weeks ago. … Yes, he is (healthy). He’ll figure it out.”
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McCarthy Addresses Health of #4
Spanning the past 14 months, Prescott has battled everything from an ankle compound fracture/dislocation to a throwing shoulder issue to a lower-leg ailment. The laundry list of injuries, some believe, has impeded his ability to navigate the pocket and comfortably scramble away from pressure.
In Week 14, Prescott absorbed five hits and four sacks by a Washington defense missing its best pass-rusher (Chase Young). He was also hurried on several occasions, though emerged from the contest without much further damage, physically or otherwise.
“He’s a little sore. He took a few hits in the game, but yeah, he’s healthy,” McCarthy said, via the official team website.