Prescott Likely to Sit Out Remainder of Preseason

Photo by Smiley N. Pool

Head Coach Mike McCarthy all but confirmed that Quarterback Dak Prescott will be held out of the remainder of the preseason games in anticipation of a Week 1 start. Prescott, who has not put on pads since suffering a compound ankle fracture and dislocation in Week 5 of the 2020 season, has been held back in training camp after suffering a shoulder strain that kept him from participating in throwing drills for the last several weeks. 

The absence of the star QB in preseason games may come as a bit of a disappointment to fans, though Prescott wasn’t expected to get much on-field action anyway. The Cowboys will likely gain more as a team by seeing backups Garret Gilbert, Cooper Rush, and Ben DiNucci in action than risking an injury to Prescott. Last season, Andy Dalton was on tap to back up Prescott. Dalton is now with the Chicago Bears. Gilbert has taken the majority of first-team snaps this preseason but has yet to score a touchdown in the preseason. 

An MRI last Sunday showed the shoulder strain to be healing well, and all signs point to Prescott being nearly 100% healthy by the beginning of the season. At least so far in training camp, the surgically-repaired ankle has not been an issue, but with Prescott going into game 1 without being truly tested, there is always the possibility that Gilbert may need to be ready at a moment’s notice. 

Prescott has been working with trainers throwing passes and running light drills since early August in an attempt to stay in form. He has been seen on the sidelines tossing passes with Amari Cooper, who is himself recovering from an ankle injury and isn’t’ expected to see action before week 1. Cooper has caught 15 touchdowns and amassed more than 2,300 yards receiving with Prescott under center. 

A major reason the Cowboys may be motivated to hold Prescott out may be due to issues on the offensive line. Last week, the team lost a tight contest to the Arizona Cardinals but saw far too many QB pressures that derailed drives. McCarthy and the Cowboys’ decision to hold Prescott out may pay dividends later in the season if the line continues to play porous football when the regular season starts.  

One reason for the offensive line issues has been the desire of coaches to move players around in an effort to give some guys reps in spots that they may be called on to fill during the season. Outside Guard Connor Williams has been taking snaps at center, a task that has seen too many low snaps putting QBs in danger of getting pounded into the turf by incoming defensive lineman and linebackers.  

The Cowboys have two preseason games remaining on the schedule before the start of the season. This preseason, coaches for the Cowboys will have a total of four preseason games to examine young players, undrafted free agents, and veterans looking to jump-start their careers. Gilbert has all but sewn up his role as a backup, leaving the competition for QB3 to Rush and DiNucci. Fans are likely to see plenty from the two young QBs over the next two weeks.  

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