Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott may have regressed in his second season but look at the team around him.
According to 17-year NFL veteran and former long-time ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, Prescott didn't get much help from his teammates. That, more than anything, Jaworski said, led to Prescott's disappointing sophomore season.
"At the quarterback position, you depend on other people. There's a lot of things that contributed to his downfall," said Jaworski, who was at the Fort Worth Club Monday night to be honored with the Davey O'Brien Legends Award.
Also, he said, teams had tape on Prescott that helped them take away his strengths. As a rookie in 2016, Prescott was able to catch a lot of NFL defenses off guard.
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"These teams now, they've got 30 guys who sit in a room like this [a small boardroom], like little wonks and study you," Jaworski said. "Where's your foot? Where's your arm? Everything. Every flaw you have they can expose. That's what happens from Year 1 to Year 2."
Jaworski said defenses try to force quarterbacks to play to their weakness and to some degree that's what happened to Prescott in 2017.
"They take away your strength. They'll keep Dak in the pocket more, they'll give him more push up the middle, they'll force him to his left, areas that are not his strength," he said. "The guy had an unbelievable rookie season, it was just a phenomenal season. Now we want to see how he's going to rebound."
Oh, and don't discount the parts around Prescott contributing to his struggles. For instance, the offensive line. Ezekiel Elliott's suspension didn't help but the blocking wasn't there all year, said Jaworski, who was the NFC Player of the Year while leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl in 1980.
"I really thought the offensive line took a step backwards this season. People might want to say Zeke [was out] but I don't think they blocked as good as they were capable of this year. You struggle at left tackle. It's hard to win games when you're left tackle struggles."
Jaworski said strong offensive lines and defensive lines are usually hallmarks of the teams that go deep in the playoffs each season.
"When those groups are hitting on all cylinders, you have a better chance of success," he said. "I think Dak suffered from inadequacy at the offensive line, the running back position and the receiving corps certainly didn't make the explosive plays he had two years ago."