A bye week is a long experience for fans starved of weekly action, but it can be a significant benefit to the health of a team. For the Dallas Cowboys, the health of quarterback Dak Prescott is likely of prime importance, and the week off allowed the star to rest a right calf strain suffered on the final play in the teams’ overtime victory against the New England Patriots.
Speaking to the press, head coach Mike McCarthy was reluctant to assure Prescott’s availability for the Halloween matchup but offered signs of encouragement.
“He’s going to practice, and he’s going to go through the individual part of it, and he’s in the game plans. He’s preparing to play,” McCarthy said. “He’s got to cross the threshold to make sure he’s full-go.”
Team owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan that ensuring Prescott’s health was more important and noted that he “feels good” about the health of his star quarterback.
“The idea then was don’t be pennywise and pound foolish,” Jones said on the morning show. “Make sure you feel good about his ability to not reinjure. That will be the key.”
Prescott has been on a surging season after suffering a season-ending ankle fracture in week five last season. According to the NFL, he is completing 73 percent of passes. His walk-off touchdown pass against the Patriots was his 16th of the season. With 11 games remaining this season, Prescott stands to far surpass his career-high 30 touchdown passes in 2019.
Prescott was on the field practicing for the open during the public portion. ESPN’s Todd Archer said Prescott showed “no ill effects” of the strained calf in drills. According to PFF stats, the recipient of the overtime touchdown pass, wide receiver, and emerging star CeeDee Lamb was confident Prescott would play on Halloween against the 3rd ranked pass defense in the NFL.
“Regular. Same Dak,” Lamb said to ESPN. “He looks great in and out of his drops. I don’t know the restrictions on him or what’s going on, but, to me, he looks perfectly fine.”
Should Prescott suffer a setback and be unable to go on Sunday, Cooper Rush would start. Rush won the backup QB job through the preseason, outplaying Ben DiNucci and Garett Gilbert, now a member of the Patriots practice squad.
Jones said he is less concerned with Prescott’s injury than the shoulder strain he suffered in training camp. The shoulder strain, more common to baseball players than quarterbacks, required four weeks of cautious rehab to heal. Prescott and McCarthy both indicated that Prescott would have played through the injury had been the regular season.
Rush worked with the first-team offense in practice to ensure he was ready should the unlikely scenario arise and his number gets called. Rush has just two yards in completions in five seasons, a stat that may forebode a Halloween nightmare for the Cowboys’ offense.