Assessing the Cowboys’ 2021 season: quarterbacks

The calendar year started in a very unfortunate way for the fans. A good production from the team was expected from the training camp after a season to be forgotten. Dak Prescott’s injury had derailed all plans in week 5 in 2020. However, the return of the quarterback made believe in the possibility of a favorable outcome. That would be out as early as the wild card round.

Several days have passed since the loss at home against the 49ers that put an end to those illusions. The mistakes to get to that disappointing elimination were many. As many as those responsible for not meeting the demanding expectations that the roster had generated. Taking into account that soon it will be time to look forward, there is still some space to qualify the performances of each protagonist.

Today: quarterbacks.

Dak Prescott: C

The quarterback became a figure that arouses criticism in opposite directions. Logically being in a franchise as important as the Cowboys magnifies everything for better or worse, so opinions tend to be at both extremes. In this case, the grade C implies that he passed, although there is a relevant drawback with that question.

A pass is fine for almost all players. Excellent performances cannot be expected from each of the 53 roster members. However, this occasion does not simply refer to a complementary individual. No position in any other sport carries as much weight in a team’s performance as that held by a quarterback in the NFL.

The big discussion around Prescott starting this season will be his recently signed $160 million contract. Although financial compensation is not automatically transferred with production on the field of play, the responsibilities increase. As long as it is within a coherent framework, it is normal to demand more from those with higher salaries.

The main reason I think Dak shouldn’t get a higher grade is because of his performance relative to the standard of a franchise QB. A pitcher who gets paid 40 million a year should be able to raise the level of those around him. Obviously you can’t do everything alone, but you also shouldn’t depend on the context being ideal all the time.

In the first part of the competition he was among the candidates to be the MVP. His play along with that of his teammates saw Dallas go into halftime 5-1 with an unstoppable offense. Although the rest of the campaign showed that these numbers depended too much on the fragility of the opponents that appeared on the calendar.

What happened during most of the year is what should concern us. It is true that the Cowboys finished the regular section with a 5-1 streak, but they were very limited opponents. Along the way they faced the Saints without their best protagonists, twice the Football Team, the Giants and a good percentage of the Eagles’ practice squad. The drop even came against a Cardinals that were in a notorious decline.

The defeat in the playoffs was what broke the camel’s back. An unusual way to end the short-lived playoff run is what adds pressure for 2022. Despite the referee clashing with Prescott in that bizarre outcome, the quarterback was overwhelmed at the moment. A situation that cannot be avoided is the serious mistake of not knowing that he should give the ball to the judge instead of to the center.

Even more critical is how he handled the previous offensive series. Dallas had possession with nearly three minutes left and all three timeouts available to turn around a seemingly impossible score earlier in the afternoon. The lack of composure, patience and attention to detail in that decisive drive are the elements that must be corrected.

Cooper Rush: A

Rush’s note has to do exclusively with what is required of a backup quarterback. His obligation is not to carry the franchise for several duels, but to keep the team competitive when the starter is not present. What happened in week 8 after the bye week is the ideal example of what a QB2 should do in the league.

Rush participated from the start on Sunday Night Football against the Vikings as a visitor. What’s valuable about that 20-16 win is that he wasn’t just an administrator. In the instance where he should have stepped forward, he did. That night he developed a flawless two-minute offense that led to a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 51 seconds remaining.

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Assessing the Cowboys’ 2021 season: quarterbacks