Dak Prescott started the 2021 NFL season as one of the most popular quarterbacks in football. But in recent weeks, neither he nor the Cowboys offense has been this sharp.
Dallas started the season with a 6-1 record, but they have only been 4-3 in their last seven. That no way bad, but it’s certainly a decline from what we saw in the early stages of the season, especially on offense.
The Cowboys have averaged a respectable 351.4 yards of offense per game over their last seven games. They had averaged 454.9 yards of offense per game in their first seven games, so it has led many to wonder what exactly is wrong with the Cowboys’ offense.
Owner Jerry Jones seemed to have an idea. He said Prescott was in a “depression” during a weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan December 14.
“I do not want to say [it’s a] drop, but that’s probably fair, “Jones said.” It’s such a multifaceted assessment. I’d say our offense is definitely far from where we were 5-6 weeks ago. ”
Breaking down the numbers, it certainly appears that Jones’s assessment is fair. Here’s a look at why Prescott is collapsing and what the underlying causes of his problems may be.
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Dak Prescott statistics before and after injury
Jones was quick to rule out that Prescott was healing any kind of lingering injury during his radio appearance.
“Yes he is [healthy]”Jones said about Prescott.” He’ll figure it out. “
That may be true, but it’s also worth noting that since missing a game with a calf injury suffered on the final play of Dallas’ Week 6 win over the Patriots, Prescott has been noticeably worse. He’s down in every major statistical category when comparing his seven most recent games after injury to his six games before injury.
|Statistics||Before injury||After injury|
|% Of completion||73.2||64.9|
|Passing yards per game||302.2||255|
|Yards per attempt||8.4||6.5|
|PFF passing grade||87.6||69.2|
Prescott seems to feel Some lingering effects of this injury. Either that, or you just don’t have as much confidence in your leg as you did earlier in the year. The calf problem occurred in his right leg, in which Prescott suffered a compound fracture of his right ankle that ended his 2020 season, so perhaps that is impacting him either physically or mentally.
Regardless of what the problem is, the fact that it started after Prescott’s injury may not be a coincidence. You may be completely healthy, or close to that, but either way, you need to find a way to get back on track.
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How Ezekiel Elliott’s injury affected Dak Prescott
Prescott isn’t the only one who could be dealing with the lingering effects of an injury. Ezekiel Elliott has been dealing with a knee injury in recent weeks. He hasn’t missed a game yet, but he’s clearly been plagued by the disease.
Elliott suffered the injury for the first time, a bone contusion, in Week 9 against the Broncos. As a result, his production has declined, as he has handled nearly four fewer carries per game and averaged 3.3 yards per carry after injury.
|Statistics||Before injury||After injury|
|Transport per game||sixteen||12.2|
|Yards per game||77.8||40|
|Yards per attempt||4.9||3.3|
How has that impacted Prescott? Well, the Cowboys’ running game has been less efficient, averaging 4.0 yards per carry overall compared to 4.9 in games during which Elliott was healthy. And while Tony Pollard was able to make up for some of Elliott’s lack of production earlier in the season, he is dealing with a foot injury that prevented him from playing in Week 14.
Normally, the Cowboys could lean a bit more in the race, as Prescott has his share of problems. However, the Cowboys’ lack of a running game has put a bit more pressure on Prescott to make plays. It just hasn’t been able to do that.
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How the absence of Tyron Smith has impacted on Dak Prescott
Generally speaking, quality offensive line play has a huge impact on NFL quarterbacks, and Prescott has been no exception. So it comes as no surprise to learn that he has struggled throughout his career when his star left tackle Tyron Smith has been unable to play.
Smith has dealt with a handful of injuries throughout his career that have knocked him out. In particular, he has dealt with back and foot injuries, but in 2021 he has also had an ankle problem. That has caused him to miss four games and has left him limited in a few other matches.
When Smith has been out of action this season, Prescott has continued to fight without him. Smith has missed a total of four games, and Prescott’s passing numbers are down without him and he’s also taking an additional sack per game with Smith out of the lineup.
|Dak prescott||% Of completion||Passing yards||Passing TD||Interceptions||Times plundered|
|With Tyron Smith||69.6||293||2.2||0.8||1.6|
|Without Tyron Smith||66||240||1.3||0.8||2.5|
Having Smith back and fully healthy would be a blessing for Prescott, so the Cowboys are surely focusing on making Smith okay as the end of the season approaches. It could be argued that Smith is the most important player to Prescott’s success. It may not be flashy and skillful position stars like Elliott, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper, but the protection it provides the Dallas quarterback is paramount.
Will Prescott come out of his depression soon? The Cowboys are certainly looking forward to it, but it could take some time if Smith remains out during their Week 16 clash with the Washington Football Team.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.