Dallas Cowboys

Scott Linehan: Prescott’s bumpy stretch part of maturation

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan says Dak Prescott is still maturing as an NFL quarterback.
Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan says Dak Prescott is still maturing as an NFL quarterback. Bob Booth

One year after having the finest rookie season of any quarterback in NFL history, quarterback Dak Prescott is hearing talk of him being overrated and exposed.

He was named the 2016 NFL offensive rookie of year and then followed it up a strong start to the season with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions through the first eight games only to hit a wall after losing star running back Ezekiel Elliott to suspension.

Prescott has eight turnovers, including four interceptions in blowout losses the past three games after having eight and four, respectively in 16 games last year.

He has not passed for 200 yards in any of the past three contests that have also coincided with the absence of Elliott as the Cowboys have gone from 5-3 and in the thick of the playoff chase to 5-6 on the outside looking in.

Quarterback Phillip Rivers was sharp and so were the Los Angeles Chargers in their 28-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said any talk of Prescott being exposed is an overreaction.

I don’t think so,” Linehan said about Prescott being exposed. “He’s a second-year player who’s hit, like a lot of players do in their career, I think you could probably pull up some guys who have played in their second year. I think that one thing that I told him the other day is you set such a high standard of unrealistic expectations in your first 24 games and it has nothing really to do with him being exposed. I think our team has to respond, all of us – coaches, players have to respond and adjust the way you’re playing when you play maybe a little different approach.

“That’s an overreaction to a little bit of a dry spell in my opinion.”

Linehan said Prescott’s dry spell is part of the maturation of any quarterback in the NFL as is the scrutiny. He said Prescott has accomplished a lot since coming to the Cowboys as a fourth-round pick last year and will continue to adjust and grow.

The Dallas Cowboys (5-6) host the Washington Redskins (5-6) Thursday night at AT&T Stadium.

“I think you’re always learning as a quarterback, I think you’re recalibrating, re-setting all the time,” Linehan said. “Everybody’s going to change and adjust to how you’re playing or forced to play too. It’s all about making those adjustments as a player week to week or year to year; really, he’s a real young player in this league.”

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