If there is only one take-away from Monday night’s team practice at Ford Field at the Star in Frisco, it’s that Cowboys fans are excited to see America’s Team get back to their winning ways. The Cowboys opened their doors to fans for the practice session, which saw the return of superstar players Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Photographs from the evening show the stands packed with fans eager to catch a glimpse of the revamped team.
Prescott began throwing in practice on August 7th to help recover from an injury sustained during training camp. The injury, a latissimus strain, is healing well according to team doctors who examined images from an MRI this past weekend. During the practice, Prescott threw passes to several wide receivers, including Amari Cooper who is returning to the field after an ankle injury.
The Cowboys expect to have both Prescott and Cooper ready to play for the season opener on September 9th. There is at least some possibility that both players will get on the field against the Houston Texans on Saturday, August 21st. Until then, the Cowboys are playing it safe with both players who are widely considered essential to victory for the team.
A few of the Cowboys’ offseason picks have made plenty of headlines, but perhaps none more than Micah Parsons, the Cowboys’ first-round draft pick this year. Parsons was brought in to add speed and aggressiveness to a linebacking core that struggled in 2020. So far, Parsons has made good on what scouts saw in him coming out of Penn State.
Cowboys reporter Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News commented that Parsons “is a total blur, seemingly moving in fast forward relative to everyone else on the field.” The Cowboys made several offseason moves to bolster their linebacking core, including the acquisition of Keanu Neal, who is showing off his skill set and doing his best to impress in the starting lineup.
Other notable action was the first appearance of Malik Hooker in a Cowboys jersey. The newly-signed safety showed flashes of the skills that made him a first-round pick for the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. Hooker is working his way back on the field after suffering an Achilles tendon injury last season that limited him to two games. He had a pick-six Monday on a tipped ball thrown by QB Ben DiNucci.
Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has shown up with at least one stellar play in every practice this offseason, and he was responsible for the “game-winner” in two-minute drills Monday. On third-and-goal, Garret Gilbert found Lamb in the endzone for an athletic reception. With Cooper and Lamb on the field, the Cowboys receiving corps looks to be one of the more productive units -provided that Prescott stays healthy.
The offensive line looks like a work-in-progress at this point as the unit is allowing too many pressures, QB hits, and sacks. Connor Williams started at center in place of Tyler Biadasz who is anticipated to be the starter for Week 1. Williams struggled at times, snapping two balls into the turf, one of which ended a promising drive against the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Mike McCarthy essentially ruled out any discussion about drama concerning the starting center spot. Williams is anticipated to play at left guard but is getting reps to be available as a fill-in should the line need help down the road.
Monday’s practice was the first for the Cowboys after returning to Texas from the team facility in Oxnard, California. The practice was open to the public and was free to attend. The Cowboys will also be opening practice to fans on Friday, August 20th, Friday, August 27th, and Saturday, August 28th. The team has two remaining preseason games. The first will be Saturday, August 21st against the Houston Texans before facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Frisco on August 29th.