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The case for Dak Prescott being the Cowboys ‘irreplaceable player’ instead of Micah Parsons

Football fans across the NFL, including fans of the Dallas Cowboys organization, appear to be divided on what kind of impact Prescott brings to the team.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent news roundup article published on Blogging the Boys, writer Aidan Davis posted a link discussing “the most irreplaceable” player on the Dallas Cowboys roster. The majority consensus in the comments agreed that Micah Parsons is that player.

However, there were a couple fans in the comments who noted that it should be QB Dak Prescott. This sparked a flurry of different opinions from our audience on the subject matter.

It is fair to assume that a team’s franchise QB should be the team’s most irreplaceable player. However, fans across the league, as well as fans of the Cowboys, continue to have split opinions on Prescott. Seeing all these comments inspired me to take a deeper look at the impact Prescott has on the Cowboys, and if it should be argued he is the most irreplaceable player on the Cowboys.

Entering his eighth season with the Dallas Cowboys, Prescott faces the most pressure he’s had to endure up to this point in his career. The team is coming off a 12-5 season in 2022, with yet another divisional round playoff exit. Prescott, has yet to make it past the divisional round with the team. He has just a 2-4 record in the playoffs in his career, and has thrown five interceptions in six games. He especially played poor in the division round loss against the 49ers this past season, where he threw for just 206 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and two interceptions in the 19-12 loss.

Despite his lack of post-season success up to this point, the front office continues to stand by him, expressing their interest in signing him to a contract extension in the near future. While it would create immediate cap relief for the team, many analysts and sports media sites believe that the team would be wise to not commit more future time and money into Prescott than they already have.

Pro Football Focus listed quarterback play as the biggest weakness on the Cowboys heading into the 2023 season.

Dak Prescott suffered through arguably his worst season as a pro in 2022. He led the league in interceptions despite missing five games with injury. He posted a mediocre 68.2 passing grade for the year and made more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws. Prescott was inconsistent when he was healthy outside of two excellent performances against overmatched Chicago and Tampa Bay teams. Dallas was short on weapons last year, but Prescott needs to be better if the team is going to make a championship run in 2023.

Despite large criticism, Prescott continues to get a lot of support from players in the locker room, past and present.

Former Cowboys WR Cole Beasley praised Prescott in a recent tweet, calling him the best leader he has ever played with. Noteworthy that Beasley has also played with 2023 Madden cover athlete, QB Josh Allen, who is widely considered a top-five quarterback in the NFL.

Newly-acquired veterans, CB Stephon Gilmore and WR Brandin Cooks, both had high praise for Prescott as well, comparing his leadership to some of the great QB’s they have played with in the past.

Cooks had this to say regarding Prescott, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota:

“I’ve been around some great ones, and we’ve been throwing, and I got to tell you, that guy can sling that ball. He’s special.”

Gilmore also took the time to praise Prescott, expressing his belief in the team’s ability to contend with him at QB:

So what impact/value does Prescott actually bring to the Cowboys? Let’s look at the numbers...

Throughout his seven-year career with the team, the Cowboys have a 61-36 record with him on the field, and a 9-8 record without him. With him on the field, the offense averages 26.6 points per game with a 44.3 third-down conversion percentage. Without him, the offense averages 21.1 points per game with a 37.9 third-down conversion percentage.

Just two seasons ago, Prescott put up the best statistical season in his career. In an incredible 2021 campaign, Prescott threw for 4,449 passing yards, 37 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 104.2 rating with a 68.8 completion percentage. The team had the most total yards of offense by a team in the league that season, with 6,919 total yards.

With Prescott enduring a challenging season in 2022 where he suffered a hand injury in the team’s first game of the season, Cowboys fans saw a significant drop in production. However, fans should remember what Prescott is capable of with a healthy and consistent season.

It is also noteworthy that Prescott has been incredible against the NFC East in his career thus far.

Against the NFC East:

  • Average passer rating of 110.2.
  • Average of 251 yards per game.
  • 124 passing touchdowns.
  • 39 interceptions thrown.
  • Average of 66.4 completion percentage.
  • 27-7 win/loss record.
  • 10-2 against the New York Giants.
  • 9-2 against the Washington Commanders.
  • 8-3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

It is impossible to compare anyone’s talent on the Cowboys to Micah Parsons. He is the best defensive player in the league. However, Prescott’s impact, especially given the position he plays, should not be overlooked.

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