Hard Scrutiny Of Dak Prescott Belongs In Next Five Days, Not Last Couple Of Games

Checking in on the Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott is a curious exercise for anyone with a brain.

Lately, the team’s run defense is in shambles. They allowed 207 rushing yards against Green Bay last week. They yielded 240 rushing yards against the Chicago Bears before that. Even the Detroit Lions averaged 4.7 yards per rush against Dallas three weeks ago in a game they were losing and had to pass the football.

The Cowboys’ wide receiver group led by CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup this season is supposed to make everyone forget the curious offseason trade of Amari Cooper. They haven’t.

And that’s the reason everyone in Dallas, including club owner and general manager Jerry Jones, is talking up the possibility of signing Odell Beckham Jr.

The Cowboys’ run attack, by the way, is something of an enigma. It has seemingly improved with Tony Pollard playing for injured starter Ezekiel Elliott.

All of this while the Cowboys have fallen to third place in the NFC East behind the Philadelphia Eagles and surprising New York Giants.

But amid these issues, some of which beg correction, much of the attention in the Metroplex and among some national media the last week has been on …

…Quarterback Dak Prescott.

Dak Prescott of Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has taken strange questions this week .(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Questions About Cowboys Dak Prescott

Is he a winner — because the same team that was 4-1 with backup Cooper Rush starting is 2-2 with Prescott?

Is he rusty or still feeling the effects of a throwing hand injury that forced him to miss five games?

One media outlet even asked both coach Mike McCarthy and Prescott if he’s “erratic?”

“No,” McCarthy said, doing his best to shutter that narrative. “I see him every day. I mean, Dak Prescott I think his best days are ahead of him. I’m excited to work with him every day and what he brings to the table. He’s our quarterback.

“I get the evaluation we have to go through but I have zero concerns for him.”

“Erratic?” Prescott said, repeating the question’s buzzword. “…I can’t necessarily say that. Obviously, just as you said, it’s only five games in for me. Some things are getting on the same page, making sure guys understand. And they do. They do.

“We obviously hit a lot of it in the (Green Bay) game and continue throughout the week of where I’m at and my trust in them — making sure that they feel the same thing and are seeing the same thing. But obviously we’re not 5-0 in those games so its damn sure not as clean or as good as I want it.”

Big ups to Prescott for putting much of what is ailing the Cowboys on himself. Even when it doesn’t belong on him.

Dak Prescott celebrates Cowboys touchdown.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Prescott Readies For ‘Playoff Game’

That’s how it is for the Cowboys as they head into a Sunday meeting with the Minnesota Vikings that has them billed as favorites despite the Vikings leading the NFC North with an 8-1 record.

“This is a playoff game,” Prescott said. “We know what this means in the division. We know what it means in the NFC. It’s about going up there and putting our best foot forward and just show the team we are in all aspects of our game.”

The next five days are vital and perhaps determinant of this Cowboys season. Dallas is playing the team tied for the best record in the conference and then playing the division-rival New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day.

And how Prescott plays in these two nationally telecast games will be a big deal. It may be season defining.

But that is ahead. The idea that what happened the past two or three games was in any way defining for the quarterback falls short.

If Prescott plays well against the Vikings and Giants, no one is going to remember his two interceptions against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday.

Cowboys lose to the Packers.
Running back Aaron Jones runs with the ball against the Dallas Cowboys last week. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Cowboys Loss Not On The Quarterback

One more thing about that overtime loss to the Packers:

Yes, those two interceptions by Prescott draw attention. Truth is Prescott has thrown three picks in the past two games, with a critical one in the red zone.

But the interception that gave the Packers a short field and eventually led to a Green Bay TD in the first half was not Prescott’s fault. Anyone who watched Prescott try to connect with Lamb breaking down the middle of the field knows that.

“CeeDee Lam should have broken in front of the safety or else that wouldn’t have been an interception,” FOX analyst Jimmy Johnson said last week.

Prescott and Lamb were not on the same page. Or, apparently, in the same book.

One of those had to turn that into a teaching moment this week so it doesn’t happen again.

It wasn’t the quarterback on which all the undue scrutiny was on the past week.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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