Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott ‘hurt’ by poor performance, has addiction to winning - Clarence Hill Jr, Star Telegram
Dak Prescott doesn’t like playing bad or losing, he really doesn’t like it.
“Yeah, just the taste that it leaves in your mouth all week long,” Prescott said. “And it’s just about wanting to feel that win again. That’s the addictive drug part about it, right? It’s trying to get that high of getting that win, of getting that locker room feeling and then when you compare that with the locker room Sunday, they’re not even comparable.
“You just want to do everything you can to make sure you’re putting your team and yourself in the position to get back to that feeling.”
That is certainly Prescott’s mindset heading into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons after experiencing one of the worst performances of his career in the 30-16 loss to the Denver Broncos last week.
Prescott completed 19 of 39 passes for 232 yards with two meaningless touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
But he was just 5 of 14 in the first half (35.7%), the worst first-half completion percentage of his career. He was 6 of 19 for 79 after three quarters before finishing 13 of 20 for 153 yards in garbage time.
To get that winning feeling again, Dak went to the film to get back to basic mechanics.
Dak Prescott doesn’t believe last Sunday’s blowout loss to the Broncos provided a blueprint for stopping the Cowboys’ offense, but he’s determined to rebound from what he called his “worst game of the season.”
To do that, the star quarterback is getting back to basics.
Prescott said he’s focused intently on his footwork in practice this week, an area of his job that he takes pride in but was lacking when he watched the game back on film.
“I think my footwork was poor in that game, and I think it may have come from the lack of it over the past few weeks,” Prescott said, referencing the two weeks he didn’t practice in late October because of a right calf strain. “This week it was important to get back to doing all my basic drills, pushing it, being smart about it, obviously, not putting too much on myself, but making sure that I’ve got the reps and I get every rep in the game plan, whether it’s moving off the spot and just making sure I get back to the basics of what I believe in with my footwork.”
Big loss for this Cowboys defense.
For starters, the Cowboys will probably turn to Dorance Armstrong and Tarell Basham, who has been the regular starter at defensive end with Lawrence out.
Basham has 16 tackles, one sack and is tied for second on the team with 13 pressures.
Armstrong had a stellar training camp but went down with a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games.
“Obviously I missed a whole month, too and this is my third game back, but I’m ready to play,” Armstrong said. “You’ve got to have that next-man-up mentality. But I’ll be ready.”
And of course, there’s always the options to use rookie linebacker Micah Parsons off the edge as well. Parsons has played most inside backer this year but has occasionally rushed from the end spot. In Week 2 against the Chargers, Parsons rushed from the outside most of the game and did record a sack.
But lately, he’s played more linebacker and still rushed from the middle either as a designated rusher or blitzing. He had 2.5 sacks last week against the Broncos and also has five tackles for loss in the last two games.
Dan Quinn is focused on one thing upon his first matchup between himself and his former team.
Defense wasn’t the only problem in a puzzling 30-16 loss to Denver that ended a six-game winning streak. Dak Prescott’s passing stats were shockingly bad through three quarters before two late touchdowns made a 30-0 score look better.
“This whole league’s about responding, whether it’s in-game, the next game, the next series,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy said. “You have to respond, and the most important thing is just keep it about yourself. Everything we did not do to our standard are things that we had done in the prior six games.”
For Quinn’s unit, stopping the run was the biggest problem in the first loss for the Cowboys (6-2) since the opener.
The Broncos rushed for 190 yards — almost 90 better than their season average, fueled largely by big plays. Quinn wanted to talk about a season-high 14 missed tackles, not Sunday’s visit by the Falcons (4-4).
“I have great memories for there and I always will and I think a lot of the really cool things that we accomplished there — and there were a lot of them — versus how it ended,” said Quinn, who was fired after an 0-5 start last year.
Top 10 NFL ballhawks in 2021: Kevin Byard, Trevon Diggs among those making plays - Nick Shook, NFL.com
His interceptions have slowed, but Trevon Diggs still ranks #2 in this ball-hawk ranking.
Rank 2 Trevon Diggs
Dallas Cowboys · CB · Year 2
Diggs sprinted to the forefront of the nation’s football consciousness this season with his plays on the ball, so it’s no surprise to see him here. Diggs remains the league leader in interceptions with seven, which he recorded in his first six games, and he’s used his greatest strength — his innate ability to attack the ball — to become a key defender for the Cowboys. Since we’re discussing precisely those who are the best at playing the pass when it arrives in their vicinity, Diggs’ placement on this list is a no-brainer. He ranks fourth in ballhawk rate (minimum 25 targets) at 26.1 percent and has allowed a completion percentage over expected of -12.5 percent, as well as an opposing passer rating of 55.3. His 12 passes defensed are tied for the most in the league, and with 46 targets as the nearest defender, Diggs is getting his fair share of attention. He’s risen to the challenge in only his second NFL season.
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