The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most successful and well-known sports franchises in the world. This success is largely due to their ability to consistently win games and be a top contender for the Super Bowl. However, this year has been different as they have struggled to find their stride. Some blame this on Dak Prescott’s performance, but others argue that it is because they are using him less than other teams in the league.
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Colin Cowherd, the controversial sports radio broadcaster, is renowned for his fiery takes, but it doesn’t imply that every idea he has is incorrect or “just for clicks.” To his credit, Cowherd knows the NFL like the back of his hand, which gives his newest views on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys a lot of weight (4-1).
The Cowboys are now playing like one of the best teams in the NFC, and their offense is a big reason for that. Prescott is in command of the second-best offense in the league, behind only Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1).
While not criticizing Prescott, Cowherd recently said on his radio program that the Cowboys should put the brakes on their quarterback and depend on running back Ezekiel Elliott to bear the burden instead.
The truth about Dak Prescott, according to Colin Cowherd, does not have to be a critique.
Cowherd is renowned for his fiery opinions on NFL quarterbacks, which aren’t always correct. If that gives you an idea of where his mind may go at times, he once had a problem with Carson Wentz for wearing his helmet sideways.
With that considered, Cowherd’s assessment of Prescott’s worth to the Cowboys’ offense is based on data rather than irrational views. He also said that he didn’t intend it as a criticism, but rather as a statement of fact.
“Don’t get the truth mixed up with hatred. “Don’t even mix facts and truth with criticism,” he said. “Here’s something you can’t disagree with: The Dallas Cowboys are better when Dak Prescott isn’t on the field as much.”
Cowherd then presented a convincing case for Prescott’s passing numbers in connection to the Cowboys’ win-loss record:
- When Prescott passes the ball over 40 times, the Cowboys are 4-11.
- When Prescott passes for over 400 yards, the Cowboys are 4-4.
- When Prescott throws less than 32 passes, the Cowboys are an astounding 34-7.
“His intangibles — leadership, intelligence, moxie, and tenacity — have always outperformed his tangibles — arm and physical ability,” Cowherd added. “And it’s all coming to a head.”
The more Ezekiel Elliott plays, the more Dallas wins, according to Cowherd.
Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott #21 celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Giants in the second half | Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images
Cowherd made it plain that his remarks weren’t meant to be a criticism of Prescott, but rather to show that Elliott is the engine that drives the Cowboys’ offense. That reality has been shown in Dallas’ first five games.
In each of the Cowboys’ four victories this season, Elliott has scored at least one touchdown. Dallas’ lone defeat this season has come against the Buccaneers in the NFL’s first game.
Despite the fact that the game was a barnburner, Elliott was limited to just 33 yards on 11 carries. In order to stay up with Brady and the Buccaneers, Prescott had to throw the ball 58 times. With 8:44 left in the third quarter, his interception enabled Tampa Bay to go up 28-19 on the following drive, forcing Dallas to play catch-up for the remainder of the game.
Compare that to the Cowboys’ most convincing win of the season, a 36-28 victory against the Panthers, who were 3-0 at the time (now 3-2).
Elliott ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. In the game, Prescott only had to attempt 32 passes, 22 of which he completed for 302 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. In that game, the Cowboys won the time-of-possession battle, which is typically a sign of victory. The Cowboys lost the time-of-possession battle by almost nine minutes in their defeat to the Buccaneers.
Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott #4 warms up before facing the Carolina Panthers | Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images
In the NFL, a good rushing game is generally a sign of a powerful football team.
A side that can run the football with any degree of consistency has a chance to physically dominate the game’s pace and tempo. As previously said, most successful teams place a high value on time of possession. Time of possession may be a team’s best friend, especially when an exceptional quarterback or offense is on the opposite sideline. It allows the attack to get into a rhythm while keeping the defense fresh.
Nothing Cowherd said about Prescott is incorrect in broad football terms. When the quarterback throws fewer passes and the squad runs more, the team performs better.
Strong running games have helped even quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes. Just months after winning the Super Bowl, the Chiefs selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Some may forget, but Rodgers’ Super Bowl squad, coached by Mike McCarthy, may not have even made the playoffs if it hadn’t been for James Starks’ late-season heroics.
Although running the football may not be “sexy” in 2021, it is still the most efficient method for a team to gain control of many aspects of the game.
Dallas, and most likely Prescott, understands this, thus expect the Cowboys to continue to prefer the run game in order to protect Prescott’s arm.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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