Stephen Jones knows everyone wants to point the finger at the quarterback. The offense becomes stagnant, and that's the way it is in the NFL.
Dak Prescott has struggled -- relatively -- since injuring his calf, while the Dallas Cowboys have gone 3-3 in their last six games. And for the first time in years, Prescott has received criticism. As has the entire unit.
"A lot of criticism going at a team that's No. 2 in the league in offense," said Jones, the Cowboys executive vice president, to NFL.com.
He's right. Dallas, which visits the New York Giants today, is second in the NFL with 409.1 yards per game and 29.2 points per game. Regardless, Jones does not believe Prescott should be the one receiving the criticism.
"I think everyone wants to point at Dak," Jones said. "But offense is 11 men, a team game. Obviously he's not going to point the finger at anyone. He's the last one to point a finger at another person. That's why he's so well respected. But this is an offensive thing, not a Dak thing. This is an offense that's going to get back and get continuity and get cadence and good things will happen."
Since returning from a calf injury in Week 9, Prescott has an 82.8 passer rating -- 22nd in the NFL entering this week.
Before the injury, he was 5-1 with a 16-4 TD-to-INT ratio and a 115 passer rating. He was averaging 302.2 passing yards per game. Since the injury, he's 3-3 and is averaging 261.3 yards, has an 8-6 TD-to-INT ratio and a passer rating of 82.8.
He has a passer rating below 60 in two of his last four games -- more than he had in his previous 46 starts combined.
Something has changed, which prompted owner Jerry Jones to say on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, "I don't want to say a slump, but that's probably fair."
"We're hard at it," Stephen Jones said. "We feel like we can play better than we've done this year. Through eight or nine games, we were the No. 1 team in the league on offense. Now, we're No. 2. At the same time, we understand the bar is set high."
Jones' main point was that Prescott has been affected by so many other moving parts on offense, whether an O-line in flux or receiver injuries.
"I think it's about continuity," Jones said. "If you know offensive football, it's more than just one guy. The QB may look horrible throwing to a receiver, but did the receiver run the right route? Now, Dak is never going to say that, he's not going to point fingers. That's why everyone thinks so much of him. But it's about getting together as an offensive unit."
"Dak is the consummate leader, the consummate worker," Jones concluded. "If I was going to bet on anybody, it's No. 4."