Cowboys’ Dak Prescott Firmly Defends Struggling Teammate

Cowboys' Terence Steele got a needed boost from QB Dak Prescott.

Getty Cowboys' Terence Steele got a needed boost from QB Dak Prescott.

Sunday against the Eagles was not a good game for the Cowboys’ Terence Steele, by any measure. Offensive linemen are going to make mistakes in the course of a 60-minute game, so the goal should be to limit the frequency and importance of those mistakes. Otherwise the quarterback, in this case, Dak Prescott, pays the price.

For Terence Steele, the Cowboys’ right tackle, he flopped on both of those accounts. He made a lot of mistakes, and they were painful. Not a good look for a guy who signed an $82.5 million extension in September.

The Cowboys’ Dak Prescott took the brunt of Steele’s miscues. But on Wednesday, he told reporters he still had his back.

“Terence would be the first to tell you that he wants to play better and I know he’s going to play better,” Prescott said in a video posted by The Athletic reporter Jon Machota. “He’s a guy who’s faced this adversity before. You talk about early in his career, undrafted free agent, he had to step in for guys immediately and didn’t have the success or maybe didn’t play to his standards early and then got it going, had some great years under him.

“He’s not going to allow one game to put him down in a dump and he’s not going to allow one game to dictate the way he plays the rest of the season.”

Cowboys’ Terence Steele Has Struggled All Year

It’s a nice sentiment from the QB, but when it comes to the Cowboys line and Terence Steele, Prescott is biased. He better hope that Steele does not let the Eagles game dictate how he plays.

According to Pro Football Focus, Steele allowed 12 quarterback pressures in the Philly game. While he has been “credited” with allowing two sacks in the game, that is generous by PFF’s count, which has it at four, out of the five sacks the Cowboys allowed. He allowed Prescott to be hurried seven times.

In all, the PFF grade for the Cowboys’ Terence Steele in Week 9: 31.7. His pass-blocking grade was a 15.0.

It’s not exactly a one-week problem, either. Steele had a PFF grade of 36.0 in Week 5 against the Cowboys, with a pass-blocking grade of 8.0.

To put that in perspective, Steele’s season grade from 2022, the season that spurred his massive new extension, was a 73.9. An 8.0 grade is almost impossible.

ACL Surgery in 2022 Still Bothersome?

Coach Mike McCarthy was also asked about how the ACL and MCL injuries to Terence Steele in Week 13 of the Cowboys’ 2022 season has affected him this year. ACL recovery often takes a full year, and it can take even longer than that for a player to fully trust that he’s 100%. Steele has not been bad in run blocking, but pass blocking adds extra pressure on the knees.

That is, in part, what is going on with Steele. Like Dak Prescott, McCarthy defended Steele.

“Clearly, anybody that’s coming off a major joint injury … there’s always things you have to go through the first time,” McCarthy said at his press conference Wednesday. “The knee’s different. It’s not the same. It’s healed. He’s done a great job preparing for this. He’s definitely going to go through some things and that’s part of that first year back.”



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