If there is a saving grace to this underwhelming 2019 season, it’s that the Dallas Cowboys should feel a great sense of comfort that they have one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL. After three seasons with a few hills and valleys, Dak Prescott is having the best season of his young career. There are still three more games to go, but Dak has already set career highs in both touchdowns and yards this season. And it wasn’t but a few weeks ago where his name was being brought up for league MVP consideration. Yes, he’s been that good.
Sadly, things haven’t been all that great in recent games. After throwing three touchdowns in three straight games from Weeks 9-11, he’s only had three total touchdown passes over the past three games. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Cowboys have lost all three of those games. Last week against the Chicago Bears, the Dallas offense went three-and-out five different times, and they had a stretch during the game where they failed to convert on third down nine consecutive times.
Not everything that is wrong with the Cowboys offense falls on the shoulders of Prescott, but he hasn’t been his usually self of late. Why not? What is going on with Mr. Prescott?
When Dak has a clean pocket and has the time to set his feet, more times than not - he’s going to deliver a good ball. However, when he senses pressure and starts throwing off balance, he starts misfiring. Earlier in the season, Prescott was a lot more consistent with his footwork. He kept his feet moving, always re-directing them towards his target. Once he settled in on where he was going to throw it, he just stepped forward and delivered a strike.
But these consistencies haven’t been on display in recent weeks. Against the Bears, his footwork was all over the place. Many times, he left his stance too open, throwing off balance and forcing his arms to do all the work. The result ended up being wobbly passes and balls delivered just late enough for the defenders to knock them down.
Prescott also threw too much off his back foot. There are times when he can put the sweetest touch on the ball when he’s throwing off balance, but that’s not ideal and he should limit those instances. Sometimes those passes are just terrible throws and give his receivers no chance.
What can be really frustrating is when Dak feels congestion in the pocket, rather than sidestep to give him room to step up and make a good throw, he just decides to take his chances and launch it off his back foot. This results in passes that are difficult for his receivers to bring in, often times sailing away from them.
Let’s take a close look at some of Prescott’s passes in last week’s game against the Bears.