Every athlete slumps, even the great ones. Just not all of them are comfortable admitting it.
Whether Dak Prescott is in one has been a sore subject this week in Dallas. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn't want to use the S-word himself, but admitted it was a "fair" description of his quarterback's recent play. Mike McCarthy disagreed with the notion that the Pro Bowler is slumping.
Prescott concurred with his coach.
"I do realize I'm not playing my best ball, haven't been playing it, have made some poor decisions you could say," Prescott said, per the team's official site. "I wouldn't say it's slump material, but I'm definitely not up to my standards or expectations."
The struggles are strong enough that Prescott was asked if he is quietly nursing an injury.
"I'm fully healthy, 100% healthy," he said. "Thank you, though. Thank you."
It's true that the standards are higher for Prescott, who played about as well as he ever has over the first two months of the season. Through eight games, he'd thrown 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions, completed 70.2% of his passes and averaged 292.6 yards per game and 8.1 yards per attempt. Moreover, Dallas was 6-2 during that stretch.
Over the last four weeks, Prescott's production has dropped across the board (4 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.9%, 260 YPG, 6.1 YPA). The Cowboys went 2-2 in these games, though they won the last two.
With the QB's sl--, err, slide, has come a fair amount of criticism.
"I think I'd be lying if I said I hadn't heard it," Prescott said, per The Athletic. "But in a sense it does (provide motivation). I've been doubted my whole life ... so in a sense, I'm actually glad it's kind of come back."