Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy control fate of Cowboys' season

The next 11 games for the Cowboys are about Dak Prescott’s ego and Mike McCarthy’s leadership.

The only way the Cowboys can consistently win this season is with defense and special teams.

Each of those units is elite; the offense is not.

We know this. We’ve seen it struggle one game with Dak and five with Cooper Rush.

Yet, Dallas is 4-2 and jockeying for playoff position in the NFC because the Cowboys played to their strengths with Rush at quarterback.

They did it because McCarthy told play-caller Kellen Moore to quit throwing so many passes and focus on the running game.

Not much should change with Dak expected back this week against Detroit.

That’s where ego comes into play.

Dak has always been a team-first dude, a player known for his tremendous leadership skills.

Like any good player, though, he has an ego.

He likes completing passes and throwing touchdown passes, and he knows those numbers will affect his next contract.

Just so you know, those talks will happen sooner rather than later because at the end of this season he’ll be halfway through the four-year, $160 million deal he signed in 2020.

Dak has to be committed to running the ball, sometimes even doing it into run-stopping looks. That means he can’t audible out of every running play just because there’s a more favorable passing look.

The Cowboys have three excellent run-blocking linemen in guard Zack Martin and tackles Tyler Smith and Terence Steele and solid running backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Rookie tight end Jake Ferguson is a good blocker too.

The Eagles have a good run defense and the Cowboys still made it happen on the ground with 134 yards on 5.2 yards per carry.

This is a season where the running game needs to take precedence and winning must trump any personal goals.

Dak, based on what we know, won’t have any issue with that.

The reality is less has always been more when it comes to Dak.

He’s 36-8 when he throws the ball 32 times or less, and one of those losses he played just a half.

In 2016, he passed for 3,667 yards with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions. He was the focal point of the offense and Dallas went 13-3 in the regular season.

These days, he’s a much better quarterback but the way this team is built he needs to throw the ball less.

Last year, the Cowboys had one of the NFL’s best group of receivers. This year, they don’t.

CeeDee Lamb is learning to be a No.1 receiver, Michael Gallup is doing his best to come back from a torn ACL and Noah Brown has been solid as a third option.

For now, none are consistently dynamic. They can’t take over a game.

So it must be about defense and special teams.

This is where McCarthy comes into play.

He made it clear to Moore that this season is about defense and special teams. He must do the same with Prescott.

There can’t be any more interpretation.

Just a meeting with the quarterback and the play-caller where he delivers the message and ensures that everyone has the same agenda.

It shouldn’t be an awkward or difficult meeting.

But it needs to happen. This team has a chance to win as long as Dak and McCarthy do what’s necessary.

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