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Cowboys QB Dak Prescott confident he won't repeat season with double-digit INTs: 'I know who I am'

EDITOR'S NOTE: According to an article published on the Dallas Cowboys' team website on July 18, Dak Prescott's comments from July 8 regarding his interception total for the 2023 season were in reference to “tipped” interceptions. Prescott's full quote from July 8, according to the team site, is as follows: "Do I blame those receivers, no. Mike (McCarthy) does an amazing job (with the receivers). They know where the hell to be, why to be and when they're getting looked at. That's going to be a big jump, I think. We won't have those tipped interceptions this year."

Dak Prescott led the league last year with a career-high 15 interceptions while playing quarterback for arguably the NFL's most high-profile team. Then he added two more picks in a Divisional Round loss to the 49ers.

He understands the intensity of the spotlight on his every mistake.

"We are a talking point," the Cowboys QB said at his youth football camp earlier in July, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "As you find something to talk about, that's the first thing to go to."

But he also allows himself some leeway when considering the turnover party he threw in 2023.

"I know who I am, and you can go back and take away half of those off drops," Prescott said. "I'm not saying it's on the receiver, but if you cut that in half then we start talking about those, nobody is talking about it."

While not quite half can be attributed to drops, four of his regular-season interceptions did include deflections off Dallas receivers -- with a couple of them almost certain to fall harmlessly if otherwise untouched -- and another found now-teammate Stephon Gilmore as a WR fell after contact.

Opposing defenses also capitalized on Prescott's turnover-worthy plays at a high rate.

Prescott tied for 13th in the league with 18 turnover-worthy plays in the regular season, alongside other stars such as Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray, according to Pro Football Focus. Mahomes and Rodgers both threw 12 picks, while Murray only tossed seven. Josh Allen and Geno Smith led the league with 29 turnover-worthy plays apiece, and they, too, got away with fewer interceptions.

Still, Prescott remains responsible for leading the NFL in the category even if he can explain some away, and he also managed to do so in just 12 games.

Regardless of how he ended up there, he has no plans for a repeat performance in the upcoming season. That confidence partly stems from increased communication under head coach Mike McCarthy, who is now calling plays after parting ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

"Some of it is the offense and them understanding exactly where we are," Prescott said, per the Star-Telegram. "Mike does an amazing job with those guys. They know where to be, why to be, when they're getting looked at. That's going to be a big jump.

"I won't have 10 interceptions this year."

Prescott's premonition will likely hinge on finding another safety blanket at tight end now that Dalton Schultz has departed to Houston, as well as quick chemistry with Brandin Cooks and a return to form from Michael Gallup a full season removed from his 2021 ACL tear. Those developments would presumably help open up No. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb for safer targets, all of which should help Prescott mightily.

Beyond that, Prescott obviously needs to devote special attention to his ball security. He never had been the league leader in picks before 2022, but last year didn't entirely sneak up on him. He has thrown double-digit INTs in four of the six years where he's played double-digit games.

If he can right his turnover woes either through performance, better luck or both, perhaps the talking points surrounding Dallas next offseason will find a more positive spin.

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