“Dak can’t throw deep”. That was the criticism our Facebook group has had against the Dallas QB for the past several years. It’s not that he doesn’t have the arm strength – but former offensive coordinator Scott Linehan clearly didn’t trust Dak’s downfield accuracy. After watching Romo for a decade, it’s pretty clear that the Cowboys had become a short pass, dink and dunk kind of team.
So it was clearly noticeable how many times Dak threw the long ball against Miami. Granted, most of those were overthrows, so the downfield accuracy criticism could still be applied. But new OC Kellen Moore isn’t shying away from it, which I like to see.
Without the deep ball threat, defenses don’t have to play off the ball as much. They can crowd the backfield 15 yards off the ball. With Dak consistently looking for that downfield route, the running game and short distance passing game open up. In fact, you could argue that Dallas doesn’t even need Dak to be accurate downfield so long as the threat of big yardage plays exist because of how it makes the defenses adjust.
Both Elliott and Pollard had 100 yard rushing games. So the run game is on fire. The proof is in the pudding. In three games, Amari Cooper has 16 catches for 238 yards and 4 TDs. In two games, prior to injury, Michael Gallup caught 13 passes for for 226 yards. Randall Cobb has 11 catches for 116 yards.
Take a look at Dak Prescott’s stats after three games:
- 1st in completion percentage with 74.5%
- 1st in total QBR with 94.0
- 2nd in passer rating with 128
- 2nd in yards per completion with 9.8
- 2nd in touchdown passes with 9
- 12th (tied) in most interceptions with 2
- 6th in passing yards with 920
- 6th in yards per game with 306.7
in completionswith 70
- 19th in attempts with 94
You can’t argue with 2nd best stats in the league, behind only Patrick Mahomes. That’s rarified air. Granted, it’s only three games in, and the naysayers will argue that Dak hasn’t faced a winning team yet. Valid points, and we’ll have to wait and see how Dak, this O-Line, and this talented receiver core fare against tougher competition.
Who Gets the Credit for Dak’s Improvement?
Mainstream media likes a good story. So they’re going with the rookie Offensive Coordinator, Kellen Moore. Formerly ahead of Dak on the Cowboys’ QB depth chart, Moore brings his collegiate scheme and analytical abilities to what was once the league’s most bland and boring offensive scheme.
But while Moore’s scheme deserves mention for early Cows’ success, the man behind Dak’s improvement is really Jon Kitna, former Bears and Cows quarterback. Kitna reworked Dak’s throwing motion in the offseason, and it shows.
As Chris Simms noted, Dak’s throwing motion looks completely different this year. He’s throwing more of a sidearm ball that allows a direct strike rather than a lofty hang time. Dak’s accuracy is up, and so is the team’s standing in the NFC.
How Will Dak Fare Against Better Defenses?
At 3-0, Dallas sits at the top of the league along with the Rams, Packers, Patriots, Bills, and Chiefs.
With only two sacks in three games, Dak hasn’t really faced a lot of pressure in the pocket. We’ll see if Dak maintains his new motion and QBR once he’s faced some of the league’s more formidable pass defenses, which include the Packers, Patriots, Rams, Bills, and Vikings – all teams Dallas will face this season.