While writing about the teams of the National Football League there are certain values you assess certain players with. One here at Taylor Blitz Times is the description of the quarterback. Is the quarterback an Alpha or a Beta? In doing so Dak Prescott has been labeled a Beta Quarterback which has drawn the ire of Cowboys fans. Its a clash waged on social media between friends/readers for a few years now.
To bring you up to speed lets take you back and define the line between the two distinctions:
The alpha infuses confidence in his football team through his play and leadership. His teammates are inspired through his verve, spirit, and fight which in turn raises their level of play to meet his. You can see the confidence in their eyes when the game is tight. He doesn’t shrink when games are on the line or when the team is up against a superior opponent. This is what every coach covets each year in the NFL draft…
Then you have the beta quarterback that many teams seem to be afflicted with. He comes through with the physical gifts that scouts and coaches can see where he can improve, and can possibly sculpt a winner from. He shows promise and can win you a few football games yet isn’t a leader. This is the guy that looks to his teammates for confidence when they’re looking to him for theirs.
Subsequently when the situations get tight or they’re up against tough teams, he shrinks at the moment of truth. Sure they win games they are supposed to win but the superior opponent he needs to beat to become a champion, he will always come up short. Late game interceptions, missed connections in crucial times, & mangled last minute drives which short ciruit his team’s efforts. Most important he always loses when an alpha quarterback is leading the other team. Constant big game heartbreak follows this guy….always.
In dissecting Dak’s play its been one where The Chancellor has described Dak as falling behind 20-7, then scrambles back gaining garbage yards against vanilla defenses. Only to lose 30-24 and Cowboy apologists blame everything but Dak. “Its the defense…. Its Mike McCarthy, the play calling etc.” Truth be told its Prescott’s fault struggling early in games although he has gotten better lately…. but still a beta quarterback. He feasts on his weak division and struggles against top defenses and contending teams.
For starters lets look at the 1st half of Prescott’s games in 2019 & 2020 before injury. We’re going to look at each with overall defensive ranking, defense vs pass ranking, Dak’s stats, whether the Cowboys were up and if they ultimately won the game:
Wash (27th/18th v pass) 12 of 18 – 86yds 2TDs – 1int / 1 sack up 14-7 at half/Win
Dolphins (30th/26th v pass) 9 of 19 – 95yds 1TD – up 10-6 at half/Win
Saints (11th/20th v pass) 11 of 15 – 88yds 0TDs 0ints -down 9-3 at half/Loss
Jets (7th/17th v pass) 13 of 20 – 125yds 0TDs 0ints down 21-3 at half/Loss
Eagles (10th/19th v pass) 12 of 16 -147yds 1TD 0ints /1sack / up 27-7 at half/Win
Giants (25th/28th v pass) 11 of 19 – 89yds 1TD 1int /up 13-12 at half/ Win
Vikings (27th/25th v pass) 12 of 19 – 185yds 2TDs / down 17-14 at half/ Loss
Lions (32nd/31st v pass) 16 of 25 – 274yds 2TDs/1 sack / up 24-14 at half/Win
Patriots (2nd/1st v pass) 10 of 15 – 88yds 0TDs 1 int/ down 10-6 at half /Loss
Bills (3rd/4th v pass) 16 of 24 163yds 1TD 1int/ 3 sacks/ down 13-7 at half/Loss
Bears (8th/9th v pass) 7 of 12 60yds 0TDs / 1 sack / down 17-7at half/Loss
Rams (12th/13th v pass) 9 of 15 158yds 2TDs up 28-7 at half/Win
Eagles (10th/19th v pass) 11 of 18 125yds 0TDs/ down 10-6 at half/Loss
Wash (27th/18th v pass) 12 of 19 120 yds 0TDs/3 sacks/ up 20-7 at half/Win
Of course the question will be raised as why just analyze the first half? Did you notice Dak was 8-0 when he led the Cowboys to a half time lead? What is glaring are none of these games showed him overcome a deficit to lead Dallas to a come from behind win. Also:
Did you notice Prescott was 2-6 against defenses that ranked in the top half in the NFL?? Or notice the 1-5 record vs playoff teams in 2019 with the lone win against the Eagles?? What about in 6 of those losses he didnt throw a TD in the 1st half of games?? I thought it was the defense Cowboy fans?? Why can’t Dak get leads on quality defenses or quality teams?? Where are his 4th quarter heroic comeback wins??
What made Troy Aikman a great quarterback is his 1st half consistency completing passes for 1st downs and touchdowns so he could turn it over to Emmitt and The Great Wall. In fact both Dallas and San Francisco in their yers of dominance came out passing. Notice the stat line where Aikman is averaging nearly 13 yards per completion. Dak needs to get leads and allow his defense to pass rush and line up in predictable down and distances.
This will also allow the Cowboys to turn it over to Ezekiel Elliott and what’s left of The Great Wall II as well.
Another graphic to contrast is this freeze frame from Joe Montana’s performance in the 1st half of the 1981 NFC Championship Game vs Dallas. Notice he is averaging 15 yards per completion??
The reason these are being shown is to get you to understand passing for 80 yards and 0TDs is why he is always behind. The other is Prescott signed a new contract for narly $40 million per year. You’re expected to win championships at these dollar figures.
Can Dak improve and play alpha quarterback football?? Of course he can but will he?? Its not been his norm nor a part of his mental makeup. Keep in mind Dak was only 1-3 last year and all 3 losses were to playoff teams to the Rams, Seahawks, and Cleveland Browns. By the way…he was playing from behind in the last 3 of his regular season starts.
Up ’til now Dak Prescott hasn’t been an alpha quarterback and hasn’t flashed any greatness. Several times during the season I had called him “Fools Gold” and a “Beta Quarterback” which drew the ire of Cowboys fans. Show me where he has exhibited greatness or a win against a marquee non NFC East team??
Now after a severe leg injury and several MRIs on his throwing shoulder keeping him out of the 1st 2 preseason games, Prescott is expected to be great?? This is a tall ask as he begins against Tom Brady and the Super Bowl Champion Bucaneers. Furthermore the Bucs defense ranked 6th last year. Oh boy! Dak… your mission, should you choose to accept it…
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