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Mailbag: Assessing Dak Prescott's 4th Season?

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How do you feel about Dak's progression this year? Did he take the necessary steps forward towards being a true franchise quarterback? - SHAUN RODVOLD / CARROLLTON, GA

Nick: In some ways he definitely did. I think you saw a guy develop his passing skills and show that he has the ability to really sling the ball around all over the field. Where he seemed to take a step back, and this really the entire team, was his ability to lead the team back in games with the necessary intangibles to win. Now we know it's there because we've seen it, but it never happened in one game this year. Dak threw for a lot of yards but when they really needed big plays from him, he couldn't deliver. The same could be said for just about every aspect of the 2019 team.

Rob: He is the franchise quarterback. I don't think there's any doubt about that. Obviously it wasn't all perfect for him. He had 70 more pass attempts than his previous career high, and with that comes greater chance for mistakes. But for large stretches of the season I think he took a major step forward in his ability to make plays down the field. From an intangibles standpoint, the toughness and leadership he showed the last two weeks of the season with the shoulder injury, that's a big reason why the Cowboys want to get a long-term deal done with him.

I'm sure New England and Baltimore both committed to stop Derrick Henry, but Tennessee ran all over them. Is the Titans' offensive line that much better than the Cowboys' O-Line, and is Henry 180 yards better than Zeke? How do you explain the Cowboys' offense getting shut down by New England and Minnesota while the Titans and 49ers had success against those two teams? - TOM LEE / ENTERPRISE, AL

Nick: I wouldn't say Henry is 180 yards per game better, but he did have a better season. He led the league in rushing. And the Titans have seemingly committed to investing in the offense of line. I don't think it's really a good idea to compare how one team played against another but I think it's safe to say the Cowboys are not as dominant on the offensive line as they have been in the past. Yes they still have three players going to the Pro Bowl and perhaps another one is an alternate, but when it was time to push people off the ball and get those needed yards, they could not do that. That is probably one reason why you will see a new coach with that unit this year.

Rob: I did think Elliott ran well this year, and the last six weeks or so the running game found traction in terms of creating better lanes for him. The New England game was, quite honestly, a mess for both teams due to the weather. I don't think the Vikings shut Dallas down, to be honest. The offense put up 24 points and had a chance to win the game with a touchdown late and turned it over on downs. That was symptomatic of the season, actually. Lots of yards and not enough conversions in the red zone.

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