Throughout the month of July, the Last Word on Pro Football department has been taking a look at the three most recognizable faces for each NFL team. The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, but for this exercise, we’re only looking at active players. Today, we’ll be looking at the faces of the current Dallas Cowboys.
Current Faces of the Dallas Cowboys
The quarterback is the face of every single franchise in the NFL, and Dak Prescott is no exception. Initially selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott earned the Week One starting job after an injury to Tony Romo. Prescott kept the job, going 13-3 while completing 67.8% of his passes for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. Additionally, Prescott also added 282 rushing yards and six touchdowns for good measure.
After a sophomore slump in 2017 and having nothing to work with early in 2018, Prescott returned to form with a strong finish to the season. Over his final nine games, Prescott completed 71.2% of his passes for 2,468 yards, 14 touchdowns, and four interceptions. When extrapolated over a full 16-game season, Prescott would have finished with 4,388 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Now that he has Amari Cooper for the entire year, look for Prescott to have the best season of his young career.
It’s not hyperbole to say that Amari Cooper saved the 2018 Dallas Cowboys. Dallas was 3-4 without Cooper and the offense couldn’t get out of its own way. Prescott didn’t have a single reliable weapon in the passing game, and the Cowboys’ offense was one of the ugliest units in football.
That all changed when Cooper arrived. During his time with Dallas, Cooper recorded 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns while opening up the entire offense. Teams had to respect the passing game, which in turn created rushing lanes for Ezekiel Elliott and put less pressure on guys like Michael Gallup. Outside of Prescott, nobody is more important to the Cowboys’ offense than Amari Cooper.
What can be said about Ezekiel Elliott that hasn’t already been said? Elliott entered the league as one of the best running back prospects in recent memory, and he’s certainly played up to that billing. Elliott has led the league in rushing in two of his three seasons in the league and averages over 100 rushing yards per game. He’s a true workhorse back capable of carrying a rushing attack who never needs to get off the field.
Perhaps the most encouraging element of Elliott’s game is his inclusion in the passing game. Elliott has always had the skill set to contribute as a receiver, and the Cowboys finally started incorporating a pass-catching element to the offense in 2018. Elliott recorded a career-high 77 receptions for 567 yards and three touchdowns. First-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore appears to be a more creative mind than Scott Linehan, so Elliott’s targets should only increase in 2019.
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