For the higher a part of 20 years, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys has been beneath fixed scrutiny. Despite the fact that many followers recognize the improbable play-making moments of Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, it doesn’t imply there aren’t instances when the appreciation isn’t as obvious. For Mr. Prescott, we’re proper in the midst of a kind of moments.
The Cowboys 29-year-old quarterback is coming off a season the place he led the league in interceptions regardless of lacking 5 video games. A few of these picks aren’t on him, however many others are. And contemplating the staff exited this yr’s postseason on the heels of a two-interception efficiency from Prescott the place the offense solely scored one landing, the query has been raised on whether or not or not he has what it takes to guide this staff to a Super Bowl.
This week, we’re going to try to reply that query as we embark on a three-part sequence the place we look at (I) how good is Prescott (II) why has he had some struggling moments not too long ago, and (III) what ought to the Cowboys do with him going ahead.
Some are “experience or die” with Dak as his abilities aren’t even in query, however others have their doubts. No matter which facet of the fence you might be on, let’s first attempt to get an trustworthy evaluation of simply how good of a quarterback Prescott is. To do that, we’re not wins and losses, we’re not trusting the attention check, and we’re not wanting on the primary statistical graphics that pop up on our tv screens on a regular basis. As a substitute, we’re going to look at a number of the most trusted participant analysis metrics the NFL has to supply.
Anticipated Factors Added (EPA)
Not all performs are created equal. Quarterbacks carry out in a different way primarily based on issues like down and distance, the place they’re on the soccer discipline, and even the sport state of affairs. For instance, robust performances are a lot more durable in game-winning drives than they’re in drives occurring in rubbish time. However whatever the recreation state of affairs, each particular play has some common anticipated factors worth that’s derived from an especially massive set of knowledge from performs in that actual state of affairs. So after a quarterback makes a play, he goes from one recreation state of affairs to a different. The distinction in anticipated factors from these two recreation conditions is the anticipated factors added (or misplaced if it’s detrimental).
Making an allowance for what number of instances a quarterback drops again into the pocket, right here is how Dak Prescott has rated in every of his seven seasons within the league (his yearly rank can also be included).
Whole Quarterback Ranking (QBR)
To not be confused with passer score (or QB Ranking) which is actually a quantity stat that works off of primary passing statistics (yards, completion %, touchdowns, and interceptions), whole quarterback score (QBR ) is definitely fairly helpful. QBR is similar to EPA, however it goes a bit additional because it makes an attempt to take away elements that aren’t in a quarterback’s management. It considers how a lot blame lies with the offensive line in giving up a sack or how a lot of a passing play is attributed to the yards after the catch from a large receiver. It additionally elements within the high quality of the opponents as greater scores are awarded towards more durable defenses.
Right here is Dak’s QBR over his profession together with his yearly rank additionally included.
Protection-adjusted Worth Over Common (DVOA)
DVOA can also be similar to EPA in that it takes under consideration each little element of the sport state of affairs in figuring out the worth. And like QBR, it additionally takes under consideration the standard of the opponent (that’s the place the “defense-adjusted” is available in). DVOA spits out a worth that could be a share higher (constructive worth) or a share worse (detrimental) than the league common.
Listed here are Prescott’s DVOA numbers over time.
Whereas every of those metrics are totally different, we see an analogous sample with Prescott’s efficiency over time. We’ve damaged them down into 5 phases. Trying on the swings, we now have drawn the next conclusions from every section of Prescott’s time because the Cowboys quarterback.
PHASE ONE (2016): Dak was improbable throughout his rookie season
This isn’t telling you one thing you didn’t already know. Opposing groups had but to determine him out, he had an amazing forged of characters round him, and he performed so nicely that Romo by no means obtained his job again when he was wholesome inflicting the staff to maneuver on from him the next season.
PHASE TWO (2017-18) Dak dropped off the subsequent two years
After an amazing begin, Prescott slowed down. Perhaps groups began figuring him out, however for the subsequent two seasons, he was a dink-and-dunk passer as his yards per try shortened. He additionally didn’t throw as many touchdowns as he did his rookie season, however his interceptions went up.
PHASE THREE (2019) Kellen lower him free
Whereas the Cowboys completed a mediocre 8-8 in 2019, we noticed a brand new type of quarterback play from Prescott. It was Jason Garrett’s final yr as head coach, however it was Kellen Moore’s first yr as offensive coordinator. This revealed to the world that Dak was not a recreation supervisor, however may air it out with the very best of him. He completed with then career-highs in completions, touchdowns, and passing yards ending simply 98 yards shy of 5,000.
PHASE FOUR (2020) The shortened season
With Mike McCarthy taking on the staff in 2020, the Cowboys’ protection was traditionally unhealthy, inflicting the offense to air it out to remain in video games. Prescott solely performed in 5 video games earlier than struggling a season-ending ankle harm, however up till then, he was averaging 371 yards per recreation, a tempo that will’ve flirted with 6,000 had he performed a full season. This season had the best variation among the many three stats and with a smaller sampling, it’s higher to not put an excessive amount of inventory in that yr.
PHASE FIVE (2021-22) Not nice, however not as unhealthy as you suppose
Whereas Dak’s 2021 DVOA was improbable, the metrics above counsel that Prescott is teetering proper on the perimeter of a top-10 quarterback these previous two seasons. When you don’t consider he’s elite, you’re proper and the information helps you. On the similar time, in the event you take a look at his less-than-stellar second half of 2021 and roller-coaster 2022, he nonetheless emerges as a fringe top-10 quarterback.
Now, that we now have an excellent really feel for the way Prescott has performed all through his profession, we need to flip our consideration to current historical past. What do the Cowboys have in Prescott proper now and what are some issues which have occurred that is perhaps affecting his efficiency? We are going to take a look at these points nearer as we proceed our Evaluating Dak sequence this week so keep tuned.