Why Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is poised to join the 5,000 club in 2021
In 2020, Dak Prescott was on a record-setting pace before an unfortunate injury ended his season. In 2019, Prescott finished just 98 yards shy of 5,000 passing yards, and as we head into the 2021 season, there is no reason to believe he won’t pick up right where he left off and approach his 2019 passing total.
By all accounts Dak looks to be back to his old self. Running, throwing, and competing with few restrictions as the Cowboys wrapped up their mandatory minicamp this past week. Teammates and coaches alike were elated to see a Prescott that looks to have not missed a beat. Many local media, as well as coach Mike McCarthy, have confirmed Prescott has been in the building rehabbing and working towards normalcy nearly every day since the injury occurred. Knowing and seeing QB1 being able to throw on the run, push off his repaired ankle as he climbs the pocket, and regain his confidence as he uses his legs, only helps fans and media bury his injury concerns per his request. Based on Dak’s 2019 season, and where 2020 was headed prior to his season ending injury, there is no reason to think he couldn’t pass for 5,000 yards in 2021.
5,000 passing yards has only happened 12 times in league history, and accomplished by only eight different quarterbacks total. Five of those seasons were by Drew Brees. The feat was most recently achieved by Jameis Winston in 2019 with 5,109 and Patrick Mahomes in 2018 with 5,097.
There is no question the Dallas Cowboys offense is one the league must fear. This teams success is predicated on the offense being able to drive the field and put points on the board while also protecting its porous defensive unit. As you look at the wide array of weapons Dak has to choose from, it only helps the case to be made for Dak surpassing 5,000 yards. With the three-headed monster of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb on the outside, coupled with the addition of a healthy Blake Jarwin and a productive Dalton Schultz, this is a quarterback’s dream scenario.
You also can’t forget Ezekiel Elliott’s heavy involvement in the passing game as he has 106 receptions over the last two seasons. When Zeke comes off the field defenses get no relief as he is spelled by the multi-faceted Tony Pollard who has the skill-set allowing him to lineup as a wide receiver, or present as a matchup nightmare for linebackers out of the back field.
The final piece to the 5,000-yard puzzle is the return of Tyron Smith and La’el Collins. Prescott was on a torrid pace last year and didn’t even have Collins, and only had Smith for two games. If those two are back and are healthy, that really ups the chances of a huge passing year.
As you look at coach McCarthy’s résumé, he is certainly a pass-first coach and you could see that trend as last year progressed with Dak under center. Game flows dictate situations and in some instances the Cowboys were playing from behind which would lend to some of the heavy passing playcalls. As you look at the numbers with Prescott playing, they threw the ball 39, 47, 57, and 58 times respectively before leaving in the middle of the New York Giants game. Kellen Moore is not afraid to sling the ball around if needed, and if the Cowboys defense is creating situations where the Cowboys offense must produce, Prescott will be given plenty of opportunities.
There are yards to be had out there for Dak and the Dallas Cowboys offense. The coaching philosophy, the players around him, and the numbers put up in the past, all show us that it is a real possibility we could be talking about another addition to the 5,000-yard club.