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Dak Prescott and his inevitable “Sophomore Slump.”

We’ve all heard it. He’s RG3. Nick Foles once went 27-2. It’s going to happen. In Year 2 of Dakota Rayne Prescott’s career, he’s going to regress. At least statistically speaking.

Dak Prescott’s 2016 Rookie of the Year season

I know what you’re all thinking. You ARE the guy who took the “Thank You Romo” sign to a game. Of course you think he’s going to regress. I was beating on the drum most of the season to see Tony get a shot with this team. It’s easy to say what if, but if you take the time to have watched all Dak had to do, there isn’t much more Tony, or any other QB, could have done. His statline?

  • QB rating: 104.9 (3rd)
  • Pct: 67.8% (4th)
  • YPA: 8.0 (4th)
  • Pass TDs: 23
  • INTs: 4
  • TD to INT: 5.8 (2nd)
  • QB Rush TDs: 6 (Tied 1st)

There was a lot to love about Dak in his rookie year. Most times, the names on those lists ahead of him, were Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan.

Seasons like that are hard to come by. According to SportingCharts.com, there are 50 QBs who have thrown 7INTs or less in 300+ attempts, and when given 400+ attempts, there are only 2 seasons in which a QB has consecutive seasons on the list (A.Smith/T.Brady 15/16).
There were also some things we’d like to see him improve in his second year. Going back up to the chart above, you can see he fumbled 9 times which was tied for 3rd most in the league, although he was fortunate for his team to recover 5 of those. A big, and odd problem for Dak is his ability, or inability rather, to sense pressure from the right side of the pocket. Time and time again you can see Dak losing sight of the pass rush on his right, only to have a play blown up in his face.

 


Prescott just seems to struggle seeing pressure form on his right. It happened in the Minnesota game, it was just a huge flaw that will be exposed in year 2 if he cannot make adjustments. Teams will jump on the game film. If you don’t believe me just think to the NFC Divisonal round INT. Micah Hyde knew that screen was coming and got there before any WR could stop him.

Another issue for Dak is his ability to make timing throws and make the correct reads based on that. Earlier in the year, I myself among others were clamoring for Tony Romo to be thrust into the lineup when healthy. Seeing Dez Bryant open as often as he was only to have Dak check down was frustrating. Other times, you saw ill-advised jump balls forced and bad back shoulder fades.

2017 will definitely lead to some regression.. statiscally. Notice I’ve said that twice now. Dak Prescott is not RG3. He’s not Nick Foles. He’s now in his second year at the helm, with a full offseason as the team’s starting QB. While Dak is a notable poor practice player, he’s already improving and has said he’s worked on some mechanics in the offseason, something Romo did every year, fine tuning his game to be the best.

After not seeing many reps in 2016, Dak is benefiting from every rep in 2017 as the starter. -Fort Worth Star-Telegram

His 2nd year “benefiting from his offense” as most of his detractors would say. Dak can read defenses, and now according to the team, will have more Zone Read options, a deeper role in the offense and power to make adjustments to the playcalling in his second season.

 


In just Week 2, Dak was making presnap reads similar to the best QBs in the league. Above, in 3rd and long Dak notices the rush, sets the protection and finds the soft spot in zone for an easy completion against Breeland and the safety overtop.

Every week in 2016 Dak progressed. In Week 3, he played a complete game completing 79% of his passes, throwing and rushing for a touchdown. Below you can see him show more glimpses of Romo, setting protections, sliding in the pocket, and looking off defenders.

 

To be a successful NFL QB, you need to be cerebral. The best of the best play so long at a high level because of what they can see on the field and how they can adjust, rather than “arm talent.” So, in short, will Dak slump? Of course, when you’re the Offensive Rookie of the Year who had a historical season, you will. However, I fully expect his mental aspect of the game to improve, along with his clunky footwork, and comfort in this now “Dak-friendly” offense. While other QBs such as Wentz, Lynch, Goff, Hackenberg all are expected to improve in year 2, Dak, the one with the most weapons, is expected to falter. If you know his story and the type of person he is, you know he will only use this fuel to work harder. A dip in statistics may come, but as an overall finished product, I expect Dak to take another step forward in 2017.

Follow me on twitter @S_Villa23 for more Dallas Cowboys opinions and hot takes.

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About Stephen Villanueva (2 Articles)
Contributor for Official America's Team. Born a Cowboys fan Die a Cowboys fan. Adidas groupie. Yes, that is me in my avatar. #ClearEyeView

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