By Dalton Lamons
There were high hopes for the Dallas Cowboys entering the 2017 season. Dak and Zeke were headed into their sophomore year after having monster rookie seasons, most of the best offensive line in football was set to return, and the Cowboys had a solid draft. However, Dakota Prescott had a “meh” year. He went from Rookie of the year last year to a middle of the pack qb this year. So, what happened? I have a few reasons why I believe Dak’s production dropped this year.
The first and most obvious is Zeke’s absence. With Zeke gone Dak faced more pressure than ever. The six games Zeke missed were some of Dak’s worst in his career. During the Eagles game in which Zeke was suspended Dak had his worst QBR rating ever (30.4). He threw three picks and was sacked four times in that game. The game before was any quarterback’s nightmare. He was sacked eight times.
This brings me to the second point of why Dak slipped this season; a dwindling offensive line. Do not make the mistake of thinking the Cowboys don’t have a solid offensive line, the do. However, the line does have its weaknesses, particularly at the left tackle spot. With Byron Bell out, it was Chaz Green’s turn to step up on the elite offensive line. How did he perform? Well he gave up 4 sacks in the Atlanta game. The game did not come down to just Green, it was an all-around poor performance. Dak fumbled the ball twice this game, but that is to be expected when a quarterback is sacked eight times. Hopefully the Cowboys can address their offensive line needs in the offseason.
The next reason is just part of the game of football. Other teams have had a season and a playoff game to see what Dak and the Dallas offense is made of. Other teams have film on the Cowboys. It is not surprising to see a drop in Dak’s performance.
Do not get mad at me for this next opinion, but Dak does not have the greatest receivers to throw to. This is a new problem for the Cowboys. Dez used to be one of the top three receivers in the league, but he has slipped in the past few years. Cole Beasley had the most receptions in the league last year with 75, this year he only had 36 catches. Terrence Williams had more catches this year, but not one touchdown. Jason Witten is reliable as ever, and said he is coming back next year. Brice Butler had the best season of his career, having 317 receiving yards and 3 touchdown catches. I believe the Cowboys need to target a new top receiver with their 19th pick in the draft.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not just bashing Dak. I still think he is a great quarterback. Dak had the fourth best QBR in the NFL this season. It seems like Dak had a mediocre season this year, but that is just because of his record setting rookie season. It would have been nearly impossible for him to keep up his performance from last year. Dak still had a solid season, but there are several incidents that could have helped him out. Dak still has yet to have a losing season as a Cowboy.
With all this being said, I believe the Cowboys will have a great season next year. With the signing of KD Cannon as a new deep threat if he can earn a starting spot and their mid-round draft pick, the receiver situation is shaping up very nicely.
I think the Cowboys are in a good place right now. They are poised to make a playoff run in Dak and Zeke’s third season. The Dak attack will be back next year in full force. With a non-suspended Zeke on the team, a hopefully healthy offensive line, and new and improved wide outs, things are looking nice in Dallas.
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