Why does it seem like football writers favor Carson Wentz over Dak Prescott? Do they watch the games on the field or just check where each was drafted?
Pro Football Focus (PFF) released their combined 2018 and 2019 quarterback ratings based on the last season and a half. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was ranked eleventh. That is not much love for one of only three quarterbacks with more than 300 yards per game passing average so far in the 2019 season.
At the top of the list is New Orleans signal-caller Drew Brees. With Brees hurt most of 2019, his ranking is based mostly on his 2018 season. Last season, Brees threw for 3,992 yards, the lowest total of his Saints career.
However, his 74.4 percent completion percentage happened to set an NFL record. In limited action in 2019, he has an even higher completion percentage at 75.8.
While his yards per game were low per Brees’ standard, his 8.2 yards per attempt ranked sixth and his 6.5 percent touchdown percentage ranked fourth. Clearly, PFF values caught passes, in particular, touchdown passes, that maximize yards per throw.
This gives insight into why Dak Prescott is not higher on the list. In 2018, Prescott was 19th in yards per attempt, 22nd in touchdown percentage and 10th in completion percentage. In 2019, Prescott has raised his rankings to 3rd in yards per attempt, 13th in touchdown percentage and 4th in completion percentage.
While Prescott’s 2019 season has been much better, his cumulative eleventh ranking stirs up questions, particularly when looking at who was ranked seventh. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz who it seems will be forever intertwined with Prescott due to their draft positions was ranked four spots higher than the Cowboys captain.
PFF would gush over Wentz with the following quote:
It’s been an odd few seasons for Wentz, who has played consistently well since 2017, though he’s finished each of the last two years on the sidelines due to injury. Wentz has the special plays in his arsenal (ranks seventh in big-time throw percentage this season), and that was a big part of his 2017 success as he continually made plays under pressure and while throwing into tight windows. This year, many of Wentz’s best throws have fallen incomplete, skewing his stats toward league average when he should rank among the league’s best.
Wentz has regressed significantly in yards per attempt and completion percentage this year and sports a nine-win and ten-loss record over the past two years. Prescott has a fourteen-win and nine-loss record over the same period.
But doesn’t it seem that Wentz is always rated above Prescott? The Sporting News ranked Wentz higher than Prescott in their October 13 QB Power Rankings. Wentz was rated above Prescott in the first eight weeks of the NFL.com QB index before Prescott pushed past him in Week Nine.
While subjective rankings create great water cooler chatter, football games have clear winners and losers (unless the new overtime rules that create more opportunities for ties come into play). Prescott and the Cowboys have beat Wentz and the Eagles the last three times the quarterbacks battled. That’s what matters most to the Dallas Cowboys ownership and fans.
But Prescott is looking to beat Wentz off the field as well with a contract that surpasses the four-year extension that Wentz received the last offseason. The Eagles quarterback is locked up for the next six seasons at a salary cap hit that averages nearly $26.9 million per season.
Certainly, Prescott feels that he will beat Wentz with his contract as he has bet on himself and has avoided the offers the Cowboys have floated. While it would be a personal win for Prescott, it would be a loss for the Dallas organization and fans of America’s Team as the Cowboys will have fewer resources than the Eagles to field a competitive roster.
Maybe it is for the best for Cowboys fans to cheer on the pundits to continue to put Wentz above Prescott. The continued messaging might be enough to give the Cowboys leverage to seek a fair but team friendly or strategically negotiated contract that allows the Cowboys to afford other really good football players.
The remaining nine games will show which way the contract negotiation will swing. The Cowboys play three top-five defenses in the Patriots, Bills, and Vikings with fourth, the Bears, in the top-ten. If Prescott can run the gauntlet, he will have won his contract bet. Should he and the Cowboys falter, then Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones might win this contract negotiation but lose his Super Bowl window.
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