Last year, I took the opportunity to sit down and write Dak Prescott film reviews each week through the all-seeing eyes of the All-22. This season, I’m not writing about his individual performances each week, but the Seahawks Week 3 performance was so interesting that it felt necessary to bring back “Dak Unpacked” for a spell. In case you want to see more Prescott videos, I cut every Prescott dropback from Week 3 and pinned it to my twitter. Every. Single. One.
“I was not inspired by Dak’s performance yesterday, but his QBR was still 73.2,” was my immediate takeaway on Twitter after the loss to the Seahawks. Quite simply, I didn’t know if he was particularly sharp throughout the contest. What the tape showed was a different story. Prescott was once again dialed in and dealing, but the margins for error against Seattle were so slim that his two truly negative reps both ended up killers.
Prescott dealt despite turnovers
The two turnovers: What caused them
There was a theme with both of these plays, but particularly during this one. This may come as a shock to some of you, but Dak Prescott is one of the most astute quarterbacks in the National Football League. Outside of the obvious Hall of Fame worthy veterans, Prescott’s processer is on another level. But no quarterback is perfect. All you have to do is watch Russell Wilson in this same game ground some passes to wide open receivers to acknowledge that.
On the above play, Prescott does a great job starting his eyes left all the way through to the apex of his drop. This doesn’t just hold the safety but pulls the safety to inside the hashes, which is meant to help the backside isolated slant route to Amari Cooper. If we go frame by frame, we see that Prescott hitches twice before pulling the trigger on this slant.
I don’t blame him for the indecision. He got a bad look. Even out of Cooper’s break Shaquill Griffin is mirrored on his inside hip. It would have taken an incredible throw as Cooper was getting out of his break to make this a completion.
This is where we have to decide what we want from our quarterback. Do we want the guy who is going to drop back and sling it into tight windows and will his team down the field as he did against Atlanta and then again to bring the Cowboys back from a deficit against the Seahawks? Or do we want the bus-driving, risk-averse player that’s going to not take advantage of the situations he’s given? Prescott does a better job than most at teetering that Seesaw completely flat. He’s the best of both worlds.
One of Prescott’s biggest improvements throughout the years is his ability to find throwing windows in collapsing pockets. A few years ago, he was sacked over 50 times. The next year, he cut that in half, despite the fact the Cowboys led the league in QB hits allowed. He finds ways to get rid of the ball. But on this play, he was unable to get rid of the ball. He definitely thought he had the window with Williams carrying Jarran Reed up the arc and away from himself, but he did not.
Because Williams did not help his quarterback, and his quarterback double-clutched. The margins are that small. It happens in the blink of an eye. But he simply has to anticipate this throw to avoid that happening. If Prescott had thrown this on the first hitch, nobody bats an eye at another completion to Michael Gallup.
Hitting the intermediate areas
Another thing Prescott’s beginning to really flourish in is his ability to create free plays. He does an outstanding job making defenders jump and getting easy downfield shots. And when it comes to attacking the intermediate and deep areas of the field, there aren’t many better than Prescott.
When protection holds, good things happen. Prescott is able to simply slide left here and deliver a shot to an uncovering Cooper peeling his route inside. He did a great job attacking the cornerback’s blind spot to the sideline to get open, and Prescott does a good job bringing him to the ground so Cooper can secure the catch without getting his head taken off.
Speaking of Cooper getting his head sheared off, here is the play he lost his helmet. This was shocking to see when the All-22 dropped. This was a freestyle by Prescott, and it displayed the absolute confidence he has in his receiving corps, and Cooper specifically. Cooper is carrying this route vertically, but Prescott sees a weak area in the triangle of defenders deep over the middle. Prescott just threw this to the spot and brought Cooper to the door.
This is one of the more impressive plays I’ve seen from Prescott, and it ended up being incomplete anyways.
I’m getting “The Dig is always open on Dagger” on my gravestone. Prescott does a nice job feeling and allowing the wide pressure from both defensive ends to simply get pushed up the arc. He steps up nicely and slides left before delivering a strike to Cedrick Wilson for the eventual touchdown.
My, how far these two have come with one another. Prescott and Gallup have an outstanding blend of timing and trust in each other. He trusted Gallup to beat the cornerback here, delivering the ball before the old rule of “if he is even, he is leavin'” mantra would come into play here. Prescott drops this in the bucket and doesn’t pinch Gallup to the sideline when he stemmed inside initially.
This was just a tiny bit underthrown, but with how easily Gallup won on this route, it didn’t matter much. At the end of the day, there’s nothing worse than not giving an open receiver the chance to catch the football. He doesn’t even make Gallup slow down at all. That is how picky I’m being calling this an underthrow when all he is forced to do it get hips and shoulders rotated to adjust to this one.
Takeaways from Prescott’s performance
Viewing this game live, I didn’t love what I saw from Prescott. That being said, it’s impossible to go through 61 different dropbacks and not find fault with more than five or six of them. His ball placement and general accuracy seem to be even more consistent than it was starting to become last season. His decision-making and overall process keep improving with more service time.
Maybe he never reaches the peaks Wilson has as a talent, but at this point in Prescott’s career, it’s difficult to envision more than one or two legitimately poor performances from him in a season. It would take a disaster of epic proportions for him to actually be the reason the Cowboys lose a football game.
His ceiling right now is as a top-three quarterback in the NFL. But his floor being top-10 is what is even more exciting for me personally. He’s too sharp at this point to be bad, even with an offensive line built from Legos. Pay this man.