Dak Prescott‘s horrific ankle injury in October of 2020 carried over some into 2021 with his calf strain. After his first fully healthy offseason in two years, what will Prescott look like in 2022?
Prescott strained his calf on the final play of the overtime of the Week 6 win against the New England Patriots. Dallas had a bye week the following week, and he sat out of Dallas’ next game against Minnesota. Upon Prescott’s return in Week 9 against Denver, he didn’t play as he did in the first several weeks of the season. The play that put him in the midseason MVP conversation dipped a bit, and so did the whole Dallas offense.
Following the injury, Prescott said he thought the calf strain and his ankle injury were connected.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: “I honestly think this calf had something to do” with last season’s ankle injury. Both injuries to right leg. Calf strain a “wake up” that as much as he’s work to bury 2020 ankle injury, it happened, and it was serious. pic.twitter.com/o4IKiLvcJ3
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 28, 2021
There have been rumors that the calf injury lingered and contributed some to Prescott’s midseason slump, but Prescott denied those rumors on the Rich Eisen Show. “I wouldn’t say it lingered as long as people gave me the excuse of it,” he said. “I went through a period in the time right there in the season and just didn’t play my best ball, and people tried to say it was it the calf. The calf got better. I did everything that I needed to do for it to heal.”
The numbers dipped quite a bit. After a 5-1 start, Dallas went 7-5 the rest of the way (6-5 with Prescott). The Cowboys went 3-3 in the first six games after his return as Prescott threw for 1,568 yards with eight touchdowns, six interceptions and an 82.8 passer rating. In Weeks 1-6, Prescott ranked 8th in EPA per play, 2nd in success rate, and 3rd in CPOE (completion percentage over expected). From Week 9 through the postseason, these numbers dipped as he ranked 16th in EPA per play, 22nd in success rate, and 20th in CPOE.
After a healthy offseason, Prescott says he’s in the “best shape of my life.”
Whether or not Prescott denies it, the calf injury is a specific point in the season in which Prescott’s play dipped, and so did the offense as a whole. I think this offseason is going to do wonders for him. After an arduous 2020 in which he opened up publicly about his mental health struggles and his brother’s death, followed by his devastating ankle injury in October of 2020 that carried over into 2021, it’s been a long time since Prescott has had a healthy offseason both mentally and physically.
In a recent session with the media, Prescott said he hired a full-time personal trainer this offseason. It’s easy to imagine that spending an entire offseason rehabbing a fractured ankle is much less conducive to improvement than a healthy offseason would be.
“Whether it’s a vacation or not, he comes with me. We work on these movements and stretches,” he said. “I feel like since the injury I’ve trained more functionally than I ever have.”
Prescott was in Florida recently with several Dallas skill position players and people immediately noticed how much leaner he looked. “In college, I was a meathead. I’m leaner,” he said. “I see it in my body, I see it in the way I move and how the ball is coming out.”
Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Tolbert, Dalton Schultz, Sean McKeon working out in Florida
(Photo: @dak’s Instagram story) pic.twitter.com/LRNiTu6GmB
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) July 2, 2022
Heading into 2022, Prescott is as healthy and as lean as ever. With an inexperienced offensive line and group of receivers, Dallas needs Prescott at his best this season more than any other point in his career.
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