NFL

Preseason games 'not the priority' as Cowboys prepare Prescott for Week 1

By Sports Desk August 16, 2021

The Dallas Cowboys do not believe Dak Prescott needs to play in preseason games to be ready for Week 1. 

That was the message conveyed by head coach Mike McCarthy on Monday as he said the team would maintain a cautious approach with their quarterback as he returns from a shoulder strain. 

Prescott returned to full team drills Monday for the first time since injuring his shoulder in practice on July 28, but it does not sound like he will play in Saturday's preseason game against the Houston Texans. 

“We’ll see how the week goes, but there’s no urgency from my perspective to see Dak play against Houston," McCarthy told reporters. "This is more about we don’t want to create a setback possibly.

"His volume of throwing leading up to that point, I mean, he was probably in midseason form from the amount of work he put in over the summer, coming out of the OTAs. ...

“I think we’d all like [to see him in a game] that but that’s not the priority. I think his volume throwing, getting the capacity back to where he was is the number one thing."

McCarthy added that if Prescott does not play Saturday, he also will not feature in the August 29 preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars because the focus in that game will be on players competing to win roster spots.

Prescott's 2020 season ended in Week 5 with a fracture-dislocation of his right ankle, so it will be quite a gap between facing game-speed defenders if he does not play until the September 9 opener at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Despite the layoff, McCarthy said keeping Prescott in controlled practice conditions is more valuable to the team than having him face an opponent when the games do not count. 

"We just really don’t want to put him in a position where he can reinjure it," McCarthy said. "We’ll continue to work on that plane."

Prescott is entering his sixth season as the Cowboys' quarterback. In 2019, his last full campaign, his career-best 4,902 passing yards were second in the NFL to Jameis Winston (5,109), and his 30 touchdown passes ranked fourth in the league. 

In his absence, the Cowboys have managed just one touchdown in two preseason games, both losses. 

 

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