Following the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in last season’s NFC Divisional Round, quarterback Dak Prescott offered a message of hope.
“I promise the number will never be this again,” Prescott said of his interception total for the year.
That of course, was in response to the two crucial interceptions he threw against the 49ers, but more specifically the league-leading 17 picks over the duration of the season.
And while Prescott did not have a “bad year” in some regards, throwing for 2,860 yards and 23 touchdowns while leading Dallas to an 8-4 mark over his 12 games, it was a down year in that one critical category for the seventh year signal-caller.
And while a lot of that can be credited to the various injuries Prescott dealt with throughout the season, NFL analyst Mina Kimes believes it had more to do with Dallas’ receiver core.
“This offense did not have enough separation,” Kimes said on her weekly podcast. “This was a big part to me why he threw so many interceptions, he had the highest tight-window throw rate in the NFL. Some of that is because Dak loves to throw in tight windows, but some of it is because his receivers could not separate that much.”
Kimes went on to add that by trading for former Houston Texas receiver Brandin Cooks, the Cowboys enter this season with more flexibility for fellow wideouts CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.
“[Cooks] is not what he was four years ago,” Kimes said. “But he had as many 30-yard catches last year in 13 games as the entire Cowboys roster. What he brings to this offense is speed, separation, CeeDee gets to move to the slot full-time which is the best spot for him … Gallup gets to move to that No. 3 role where he thrived with Amari Cooper.”
“From a football standpoint, I think it’s exactly what they needed for this offense.”
We’re not sure of that “CeeDee in the slot full-time” prediction. Nor are we under the impression, based on our visits with Texans people, that Cooks has slowed down in recent years. But Kimes’ overriding point is sound …
Dallas had a need and filled it. And Dak figures to be better for it.
Since 2021, Prescott ranks tied for fifth among active quarterbacks with 28 interceptions (including playoffs). With head coach Mike McCarthy installing his West Coast Offense and serving as his own play-caller, Dallas looks to reach its first NFC Championship Game since 1996 and forget last season’s playoff exit. … and looks to cut down on those nasty turnovers.