While every NFL fan around the country is entranced in the Cowboys’ quarterback controversy, aruging endlessly whether Dak Prescott or Tony Romo should be the starter, Sunday night’s game against the Eagles proved something very interesting.
It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback for the Cowboys.
Certainly, every team wants every advantage it can get, and quarterback is certainly one of the most important positions on the field, but it appears with the receiving core in Dallas, along with the fact that its offensive success is mostly predicated on the run game and controlling the clock, it appears either option at quarterback could help the Cowboys win.
Sunday night’s game seemed like the shining of example of exactly why quarterback isn’t crucial to the Cowboys’ success. Quite frankly, apart from the two late fourth quarter drives, Prescott was awful against the Eagles. While his 19 completions on 39 attempts for 287 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception looked decent, don’t be fooled by a good stat line. Prior to the fourth quarter touchdown drive, and overtime, he completed just ten passes through three and a half quarters. Most of those were check-downs and dump offs, rather than anything downfield. Additionally, most of the yards the offense gained “through the air” were actually penalties drawn by very talented receivers.
It was by no means because of Prescott that the Cowboys came back against Philly.
In fact, the muted impact of the quarterback has been an underrated story line of the Cowboys’ offensive success this season. Dallas runs the football 51.5% of the time, more than any team in the NFL. Additionally, despite the Cowboys incredible success on offense, and the fact that they run 67 plays per game — the sixth most in the NFL — Prescott ranks 24th in the NFL in passing attempts with just 221. The Cowboys’ offense has virtually evolved beyond the need for an elite quarterback, and is considerably better because of it.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched Dallas this season, as it has the best offensive line in football coupled with a budding star at running back, who leads the NFL in rushing and appears a near shoo-in for Rookie of the Year. Talent is certainly one reason Ezekiel Elliott has been so good this season, but the Cowboys’ play calling has massively contributed to his ability to have success.
Additionally, it should be clear that this is not an indictment on Prescott.
While he didn’t have a good game Sunday night, and it’s hard to see him as irreplaceable in the Cowboys offense, he has done a great job at the helm of Dallas’ offense this season. The Cowboys need a quarterback who can make easy throws, limit turnovers, and control the pace of the game, three things Prescott is incredible at.
However, those are skill sets that nearly every starting quarterback has in the NFL. Prescott has them, Tony Romo has them, and even Mark Sanchez, the man on the Dallas’ bench every week, has them.
Thus, if this season reveals anything to Cowboys’ fans, it’s that it doesn’t matter who plays quarterback in Dallas.
It’s not a criticism of Prescott, a celebration of Romo, or vice versa, but simply a recognition of how good this Cowboys’ offense is, and how little it relies on the pass. The Cowboys are the team this season that NFL fans across the country will argue, “I bet [insert terrible quarterback] would be great in this offense!”
Whoever your go to bad quarterback is, if you put him on the Cowboys, he’ll find success.