Life as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys is a little bit different. While the pressure is a bit higher and the expectations are a bit larger, the ultimate reality is that whoever holds the post is expected to fill it accordingly. Unfortunately, Dak Prescott did not do that across the entire 2021 NFL season.
Sure, he looked like a would-be MVP candidate through the first six weeks of the season, but then bye week hit and the calf injury happened and everything fell apart afterwards.
Whether or not Prescott is able to return to that form is one of the biggest questions surrounding the Cowboys organization this offseason. The team is depending on him playing like one of the very best quarterbacks in the NFL, but where exactly does Dak rank across the league?
NFL.com ranks Dak Prescott 9th among all quarterbacks from the 2021 season
In case you did not know there were 62 quarterbacks who started a game in the NFL this past season, almost two for every team. The Cowboys started two as Cooper Rush filled in for Prescott when the team visited the Minnesota Vikings, the last win before signs of fraudulence started to show up against the Denver Broncos.
NFL.com decided to rank all 62 of these quarterbacks and obviously we were curious where Dak fell in that group. He made the top 10 although barely as he came in at number 9.
2021 stats: 17 games | 67.8 pct | 4,703 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 38 pass TD | 11 INT | 173 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 15 fumbles
2020 final ranking: 16 | 2019: 11 | 2018: 18 | 2017: 20 | 2016: 7
Dak’s play sunk after a Week 6 calf injury, but his struggles ran deeper than the injury. “I wouldn’t say it lingered as long as people gave me the excuse of it,” Prescott said on The Rich Eisen Show during Super Bowl week. “I went through a period of time during the season where I just didn’t play my best ball.”
After Prescott’s fast start to the season, his inaccuracy and tentative play made for one of the most inexplicable stories in the entire league. He still mixed in enough boffo games to finish with strong stats, but the bar is higher for Prescott, considering his teammates.
As noted, Prescott made it a point to say recently how his calf injury was made to be a bigger excuse for him by others than he ultimately thought was fair. The injury and bye week do serve as the breakpoint from when things went from great to not-so-great, and while the injury may have been partly responsible at first, the reality is that Prescott struggled over the second half of the season.
We have seemingly been presented with a fork in the road in terms of choosing who to believe Dak is. Do we think he will be the earlier version of himself from 2021 next season, or have we started to identify who he will be over the life of the massive contract he signed last year?
For what it’s worth, there are a lot of silly questions being asked about quarterbacks these days. After the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl many people spent time debating whether or not Matthew Stafford is a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Users of SB Nation Reacts (presented by DraftKings Sportsbook) don’t particularly agree with that assertion, but when a quarterback wins important games then narratives take off in ways that start to significantly benefit their legacy.
For the record it would be ridiculous for people to ask whether or not Dak Prescott was a Hall of Famer if the Cowboys won the Super Bowl in 2022. But it sure would be nice to even have that option, wouldn’t it?