Look no further folks. As this may still be news to some, but the Dallas Cowboys have found their quarterback to lead the franchise long-term, and into the future. Where non-believers love to beg to differ, it is fact that fourth round pick in 2016 out of Mississippi St. Rayne Dakota Prescott is what this team has been looking for. As we all know, Quarterbacks of the franchise level do not grow on trees, and are difficult to find. Especially among most clutch at the position in the league. The Dallas Cowboys are lucky enough to have one, in number 4.
What a season it was in 2018 for the Cowboys and especially their quarterback. So many times, we watch Prescott and quickly point out his mistakes as a quarterback. Every quarterback has deficiencies but Prescott has put in the relentless effort to improve. I’m here to make the argument that 2018 was Dak’s greatest body of work yet, and cemented his deservedness for a rather large contract extension. Yes, even better than his 2016 season when he set the world on fire statistically.
I say this for a few reasons. The biggest being how banged up the offensive line was for 2018, in comparison to how dominant of a unit it was in 2016. All-world center Travis Frederick was ruled out for the year in training camp, age and injuries finally looked to catch up to the once always dominant left tackle Tyron Smith, and Left Guard Zack Martin played through a knee injury for just about the season’s entirety. As a result, Dak’s sack rate spiked from 5.2 percent as a rookie to 9.6 percent in ‘18 — the 28th-worst rate among starting quarterbacks as a pro.
Now, I won’t turn a blind eye to the fact that a good portion of the reasoning for the increased sack rate was also a product of Dak holding onto the ball for too long. But that’s what’s going to happen with a young, play making quarterback like Prescott. As he matures, he’ll improve his decision making, but that ability to create something out of nothing is one of the things that makes Dak the franchise player he’s turning into before our very eyes. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Remember this play from the Texans match up in week 5:
In 2018 too Dak had to deal with a depleted depth chart of targets that lost veteran standbys Dez Bryant and Jason Witten while his team waited until Week 8 to give him a proper replacement by trading for Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Despite these obstacles, Dak actually thrived as a passer in 2018 where Twitter and the media want you to think differently. From Cooper’s arrival, so the final nine games of the regular season, Dak completed over 71% of his passes, threw for 14 touchdowns, just 4 interceptions and boasted a 103.0 passer rating.
What non-believers also regularly fail to acknowledge is that since joining the NFL in 2016, no quarterback in the league has led more game-winning drives than Dak. Now game winning drives as defined by Pro Football Reference as an offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter or overtime that puts the winning team ahead for the last time. In the same time frame, that’s more than Mathew Stafford and Drew Brees. Oh, and in that mentioned final nine game stretch to end the regular season, Dallas was in seven games decided by eight points or less; Dak led them to 7-0 record in that stretch, earning the NFC East title in the process.
Sounds like a guy who should stick around for a while.
But looking at that stretch of games (and into the playoffs) from Dak up close and personal, the amount of clutch plays made to win games and extend drives is what really caught my eye, and validates the argument of how clutch of a quarterback we’re dealing with here:
TD run on Thanksgiving vs. Washington:
TD laser beam to Beasley for the win at the Giants:
Dak would add a game-winning two-point conversion pass to Michael Gallup moments later, sending his team to the postseason on a 7-1 heater with the victory in New York.
And last but not least, the 3rd and 14 run to setup first and goal vs. Seattle:
All of these plays are grown ass men plays. The plays that win big games. The plays a clutch quarterback makes. The plays a closer, and a player with that elusive ‘it’ factor makes. The plays a franchise quarterback who deserves his money makes.
Regardless of all the good I just force fed you, often the focus is still on what Dak allegedly can’t do.
“Dak can’t win without Ezekiel Elliott! He needs a running game!”
Uh, but he can? He’s got a .571 winning percentage without Zeke. In that Giants game, the offense got all of 51 rushing yards on 18 carries out of Rod Smith and Darius Jackson, that’s 2.8 yards per carry.
“Dak can’t beat you with his arm!”
Ask the Lions, Eagles, and Giants where Dak completed 68.8% of his passes for 1,097 passing yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions, and posted a 114.5 passer rating.
In a short three season, Dak Prescott has done way more than we ever could’ve hoped for out of a fourth-round quarterback. Did I mention too that he is second only to Tom Brady in wins since 2016 with 32? As you digest all I just threw at you, I now advise to keep in mind that we’ve only seen three seasons of Dak Prescott’s career thus far. Regardless of all the ups and downs, we’ve just the slightest of his story as an NFL quarterback so far.
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