Will Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy fix Dak Prescott’s interception woes?

FRISCO, Texas —Dak Prescott threw his final significant cross greater than 200 days in the past within the Dallas Cowboys’ divisional spherical loss to the san francisco 49ers.

Within the seven months since, Prescott’s 15 interceptions in 12 regular-season video games in 2022 — and two extra within the playoffs — have been a relentless matter of dialog. It doesn’t appear to matter that in his first six seasons, Prescott by no means had greater than 13 interceptions or an interception proportion above 2.7%.

It doesn’t matter that he threw 23 landing passes in these 12 video games or that he gained eight of his 12 begins, with two losses coming in time beyond regulation, together with one off a dropped cross that was returned for the successful landing by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Prescott is aware of the drill.

“We’re a speaking level,” Prescott stated in mid-July throughout a break at his youth soccer camp. “As you discover one thing to speak about, that’s the very first thing to go to. As I’ve stated earlier than, I do know who I’m.”

And Prescott, who missed 5 video games final season with a damaged thumb, additionally is aware of 2023 is necessary. He’s coming into his eighth season because the Cowboys’ beginning quarterback. Lower than per week into coaching camp, he turns 30. He has two extra years left on his contract, and whereas there was speak of a doable extension, there haven’t been any in-depth negotiations as of but between the perimeters.

There may be urgency.

“I imply 1,000%, and never solely simply accidents, understanding what I’ve been by way of all through my profession,” Prescott stated. “[It’s] understanding the time. You don’t have perpetually to play this recreation.”

Prescott will work in a brand new scheme for the primary time in his profession beneath coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. It’ll have some similarities to the offense coordinators Scott Linehan and Kellen Moore employed from 2016 to 2022 mixed with McCarthy’s West Coast background. Prescott and the quarterbacks have coined “Texas Coast” to explain the blended offenses.

“He definitely doesn’t should be fastened,” Schottenheimer stated of Prescott. “There’s no query about that. The man is a good participant. … I imply, he’s going to go on the market and he’s going to compete — ‘I could make that throw.’ He’s simply obtained to grasp conditions of the sport and down and distance, and all that stuff, and clear up among the selections that he is aware of final 12 months he form of missed.”

This is not the primary time Schottenheimer has needed to work on decision-making with a quarterback.

“One in every of my early experiences as a coordinator was with the Jets, 2008, and I used to be teaching Brett Favre. You guys have seen Brett play. He would drive a ball into site visitors. There could be like three guys there ready for it, and one of many three was going to catch it. He’d come over and I’d be, ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ And he would go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, my dangerous.’ I’d be, ‘All proper. We’re good.’ I’d stand up to depart and he’d go, ‘Hey Schotty, I could make that throw, although. I could make that throw.’ I used to be like, ‘Dude, that’s not the purpose. Yeah, you possibly can. You may make that throw generally.’

“So it’s a bit bit that aggressive spirit. These guys, all of them have that. Once more, Dak loves among the issues we’re doing from coaching the footwork and the timing and among the rhythm issues, tying the routes to his toes. We count on him to have an enormous 12 months.”

McCarthy’s first season as head coach of the Green Bay Packers got here after Favre led the NFL in interceptions with 29 in 2005. In 2006, Favre had 18 interceptions regardless of six extra cross makes an attempt. From 2008 to 2018, Aaron Rodgers had greater than 10 interceptions in a season twice. He had the bottom interception proportion within the NFL 4 occasions.

“Individuals don’t throw that many interceptions in immediately’s recreation,” Corridor of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman stated. “[If] you throw double digits, it’s alarming.

“Personally, I used to be not involved with [the interceptions] and I don’t suppose the Cowboys are both. And I hope Dak’s not, as a result of individuals wish to say each interception has a narrative of its personal, which is true, however I didn’t suppose Dak was that reckless with the soccer.”

Prescott has began 97 regular-season and 5 playoff video games. He has 61 wins and has led the Cowboys to the playoffs 4 occasions with two playoff victories. He holds the franchise report for landing passes in a season (37). He’s second in landing passes behind Tony Romo and third in passing yards behind Romo and Aikman in Cowboys historical past.

Just lately, ESPN surveyed league executives, coaches, scouts and gamers to rank the highest 10 gamers at 11 completely different positions, and Prescott ranked ninth amongst quarterbacks after coming in tenth final 12 months.

“When the image modifications, he struggles,” one head coach stated. “He’s at all times been that manner.”

One NFC professional scout stated, “He doesn’t learn it effectively” and “wants guys round him,” whereas including Prescott appeared to press after getting back from the thumb harm. One other offensive coordinator questioned if he trusted his receivers an excessive amount of.

One other stated, “He’s a man you possibly can win with. I’m not fearful concerning the interceptions as a result of that’s not been his M.O.”

A former personnel director stated, “He’s extra within the [Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk] Cousins class, the place he wants assist.”

The Cowboys’ type of assist for Prescott this season is the addition of receiver Brandin Cooks in a commerce from the Houston Texans and receiver Michael Gallup‘s return to full well being. They’re additionally hoping a bunch of tight ends with Jake Fergusonrookie second-rounder Luke Cleaner and Peyton Hendershot may be what Dalton Schultzwho signed with the Texans, was beforehand for Prescott.

However the greatest type of assistance is the change McCarthy will carry.

“There’s a number of issues that, once you attempt to enhance, you possibly can work on, and on this case, if you wish to handle interceptions, you possibly can handle safety,” proprietor and normal supervisor Jerry Jones stated. “You’ll be able to handle features of the working recreation. You’ll be able to handle, definitely, out of the backfield [the] routes, the brief routes, and you’ll handle how a lot of the sector on any given play that your quarterback is making an attempt to cowl. … All of these issues ought to doubtlessly adhere to faster releases, which supplies us a greater likelihood to dam them up.”

McCarthy’s historical past with quarterbacks goes again to Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1995. In 2003, when he was the New Orleans Saints‘ offensive coordinator, Aaron Brooks had the NFL’s lowest interception proportion. For 13 seasons in Inexperienced Bay, he coached Favre and Rodgers.

When McCarthy got here to the Cowboys in 2020, he stored Moore because the playcaller, believing it was finest for Prescott’s growth. Now, McCarthy strikes again to the function wherein he feels most snug and believes it is going to be finest for Prescott.

“I really like the way in which we’ve challenged Dak mentally and, extra importantly, I really like the way in which he’s attacked it,” McCarthy stated. “I wouldn’t say I didn’t comprehend it about him, however I feel it’s identical to all of us, you don’t actually know till you actually go on the market and stress and push. He’s actually dealt with these modifications and changes and the enter … I need good, Corridor of Fame-type quarterbacks, and the one approach to get there may be you bought to make them personal the offense — and also you see it.”

How? By the questions he asks within the assembly rooms and the instructions he offers on the sector. Through the instructing periods, Prescott requested what McCarthy wished to name a sure look. McCarthy stated it was as much as Prescott. After the primary organized workforce exercise, McCarthy requested Prescott to eliminate the stuff he doesn’t like. Prescott did.

When camp begins, the method takes one other step, and the hope is that by Sept. 10, when the Cowboys open the common season towards the New York Giantsthe coach and quarterback are so linked that one is aware of precisely what the opposite needs.

And the interception whole comes down.

“I’m being pressed,” Prescott stated. “I’m being challenged in ways in which possibly I haven’t earlier than, but it surely’s superior.”

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Revealed : 2023-07-25 12:13:17

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