DALLAS — Whether it was the Denver Broncos laying the blueprint in Week 9 or lingering effects from a calf strain in Week 6, Dak Prescott has looked off.
Through Weeks 1-6, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys tallied 1,813 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 115.0 passer rating. Since his Week 9 return, the two-time Pro Bowler has labored to produce 1,568 passing yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions, and a mere-mortal 82.8 passer rating.
In the Cowboys' 27-20 win over Washington in Week 14 that gave Dallas a 9-4 mark and their first winning season since 2018, Prescott went 22-of-39 for 211 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. It was just the second time in 2021 that he had a completion percentage under 60% with a mark of 56.41%.
Dallas Cowboys owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones, who signed Prescott to a four-year, $160 million contract in the offseason, won't characterize his franchise quarterback as being in a slump, but sees how the criticism is warranted.
"I don’t want to say that — slump — but that’s probably fair," Jones told "Shan & RJ" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM], Tuesday. "But it’s such a multi-faceted evaluation. I would say that our offense is definitely away from where we were playing five or six games ago from the standpoint of production. What the opposing defenses have to do with it needs to be considered, but what I do think is the case is we got to go out and will play with confidence, no matter what they throw at us."
Although Prescott's calf injury is prominent as a reason for the offense's decline in production, the Cowboys have had injuries and availability issues at other positions, as well. Sunday's win in Washington marked the fifth straight game that Dallas was without either receivers Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, or running back Tony Pollard. The perimeter players are starting to take on the attrition of a long season, which factors into the continuity of the offense.
Jones is confident that Prescott is not suffering any lingering effects from the calf strain, and that he will get the offense back on track in the final four games.
Said Jones: "I think, just as he’s had to his entire career, he will get in, he will figure it out. That’s the key thing here. He has no superior in working on it, studying it, taking it to the practice field, repetition. He’s as good as good or better than anybody I’ve ever seen. And, so, he will mentally and physically rep this through.”
The Cowboys play the New York Giants in Week 15 at MetLife Stadium. Dallas currently has a three-game lead in the NFC East but will have to win out, along with getting help, to attain the No. 1 seed and the NFC's only postseason bye.
Do you think Dak Prescott will break out of his funk in the coming weeks to help Dallas to the playoffs? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.