Daily Focus: Dak Prescott with average outing following Romo injury scare
Editor’s note: Every day in “Daily Focus,” PFF analysts take the latest NFL news and translate what it really means for each team involved.
Dak Prescott with average outing following Tony Romo’s early exit: Dallas Cowboys fans were forced to endure a tense few minutes on Thursday night after starting quarterback Tony Romo went down awkwardly during a tackle, with Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril chasing him down as he attempted to slide. After holding his lower back, Romo walked off the field under his own power, and was seen throwing passes on the sideline. It was said that he could have returned to the game, and wanted to, but the coaches opted to keep him out as a precaution.
In relief off Romo, preseason star Dak Prescott had a fairly average outing, with some good plays and some bad ones. He completed 17 of the 24 passes he attempted, but with one incompletion coming as a result of a spike, another as he was hit while releasing the ball, and another coming from a dropped pass. That gave him an adjusted completion percentage of 85.7 percent, the highest of any quarterback with at least 19 dropbacks last night.
There has been a lot of excitement around Prescott this preseason, and when you consider that he was a fourth-round draft pick, it’s not hard to see why. Our second-highest graded quarterback heading into this week’s slate of preseason games, Prescott has made some big throws in August, and is deserving of the praise he has received. Last night was a bit more down to earth, though, with the touchdown pass to Jason Witten a little lucky not to be intercepted, thanks to the tight end reaching over linebacker K.J. Wright to pull the ball down.
Prescott has done everything he can to earn the backup quarterback job for the Dallas Cowboys this summer, but the Cowboys will be breathing a sigh of relief that Romo’s injury did not appear to be serious. Despite the criticism he often unfairly receives, Romo has earned an 81.7 grade or better in seven of the past 10 seasons, and is key to the Cowboys’ attempts to wrestle the NFC East crown from the Washington Redskins this season.
What are the Patriots getting in OLB Barkevious Mingo: Long before either of yesterday’s games kicked off, the big news of the day was the Patriots’ trade with the Browns for the 2013 sixth-overall pick, Barkevious Mingo, in exchange for the team’s 2017 fifth-round pick. Mingo has generally been a disappointment during his time in Cleveland, but did have some flashes that make this move one to keep an eye on.
A gifted athlete, Mingo’s best season came in 2014 when he earned an 81.0 overall grade. His success that year came as a run defender, however, and he hasn’t been able to produce anything of consistency as a pass-rusher. Even looking back to last year, he had his moments, registering three hurries on 11 pass-rushing attempts against the Kansas City Chiefs. Over the course of the 2015 season, though, he produced just eight hurries on 90 pass-rushing attempts.
PFF’s pass-rushing productivity stat measures pressure on a per-snap basis—with weighting towards sacks and hit—to give a better indication of a pass-rusher’s production than sack totals alone can tell. Mingo’s pass-rushing productivity mark was 7.7 last season; to put that into context, it was a considerable way off Pernell McPhee’s mark of 16.5, which led all 3-4 outside linebackers, and lower than Alex Okafor (8.4) of the Arizona Cardinals and John Simon (8.6) of the Houston Texans, who both entered the league with Mingo in 2013.
The flashes have been there, but the Patriots will have to get the most out of him to make this trade worthwhile.
Elliott impresses in Cowboy’s debut: Cowboys fans had to wait until the third preseason game, but finally got a glimpse of the fourth-overall pick in this year’s NFL draft in running back Ezekiel Elliott. And despite playing just 14 snaps, his performance will have fueled their excitement for the season ahead.
The Cowboys’ offensive line gave him plenty to work with, and Elliott took advantage, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and forcing a missed tackle on one of his seven rushing attempts. If the Cowboys can open up holes like that for him in the regular season, Elliott is going to find himself one-on-one with a linebacker or safety on enough occasions that he’ll surely create plenty of big plays.
On the field for 14 of the Cowboys’ first 15 plays before getting the rest of the night off, Elliott was every bit the three-down running back the Cowboys need him to be. We raved about his ability is pass protection in his final year at Ohio State, with Elliot allowing just one sack on 108 pass-blocking attempts as a Buckeye in 2015. Last night, he was asked to stay in and block on just two occasions, but didn’t allow any pressure and executed a solid cut-block in the backfield on the play where quarterback Tony Romo got hurt.
Nobody wants to get too excited by 14 preseason snaps, but the Cowboys saw the player that was worthy of the fourth-overall pick in this year’s draft last night, and they’ll still be expecting big things in 2016 after his brief debut against the Seahawks.