Dak Prescott probably imagined a less tumultuous beginning to his time with head coach Mike McCarthy. A pandemic-altered offseason in 2020 and a devastating leg injury that sidelined the quarterback from Week 5 of that season until Week 1 of the next wouldn’t be ‘Choice A’ if Prescott received a do-over.
But the football world has cruel strategies to teach perseverance, build character and establish culture without offering mulligans.
With a brutal rehabilitation in the past, and strict health and safety protocols in the rearview, Prescott finally has the opportunity for a more normal program with McCarthy and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Following a mandatory minicamp practice, the quarterback expressed gratitude for the return to normalcy: “I mean just being able to get the team reps, being able to move more, take care of my whole body and just focus on everything and not just my leg is a huge difference.”
Mike McCarthy’s grateful for the health of Dak Prescott, too, stating, “I think all the little things that we do, particularly the meetings, in the walkthroughs, they’re important obviously but just for him to have no limits has been outstanding. And I think you can clearly see it in the way he’s moving this year with his body. He’s clearly different than he was last year.”
McCarthy’s renewed bond with his starting quarterback goes beyond the team’s facility, as both men took centerstage at Kenny Chesney’s performance at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas two weeks ago.
It’s Been a Long Road for Dak Prescott
It’s been nearly two years since the gruesome leg injury threatened the career of Dak Prescott. Prescott – who missed the remainder of the 2020 season after suffering the devastating compound fracture in Week 5 – still finished the season just 314 passing yards behind the team’s eventual leader and backup quarterback Andy Dalton.
The absence of the lifeblood of the offensive system sheltered the dismal beginning to the Mike McCarthy era in Dallas from a wave of criticism. But a 6-10 finish in 2020 highlighted the importance of Dak to a Cowboys team with a weak defensive presence and inconsistent run game from Ezekiel Elliott.
Prescott returned to action in 2021 sporting a brand new contract – one that gave him the highest signing bonus in NFL history. While the quarterback missed all of the preseason, he made his official return to live action in Week 1. The quarterback’s impact was palpable, and the Cowboys offense returned to positive form within a few weeks.
Dallas emerged as a Super Bowl favorite due in large part to Prescott’s resounding success. However, an early exit at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers left the football world wondering what lies ahead for Prescott and the Cowboys.
In a weak NFC East where Dak Prescott sits on a different pedestal than the rest of the division’s quarterbacks, it’s tough to imagine a scenario short of catastrophe in which the Cowboys don’t see postseason football in 2023.