The Cowboys opened their preseason against the Steelers Thursday night in Canton, Ohio (site of this weekend’s Hall of Fame festivities with Peyton Manning and Calvin “Megatron” Johnson headlining the Class of 2021) with starting quarterback Dak Prescott not in attendance. It’s debatable whether he would have played anyway (his Steelers counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, though present, was not in uniform Thursday), but the question remains whether the Cowboys’ newly-paid franchise quarterback—now dealing with a bum shoulder on top of the ankle injury that ended his 2020 season—will be up and running by Week 1.
Luckily, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports seems to think so, reporting Thursday the Cowboys “fully expect” to have Prescott under center when they open the regular season September 9th against the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Glazer described Prescott’s current shoulder problem as “more of a baseball injury,” mostly affecting the area under his armpit. Preferring to be as thorough as possible by exhausting all available resources, the Cowboys have actually reached out to the Texas Rangers’ training staff in recent days, seeking advice on how to best treat Dak’s ailing shoulder.
Going off Glazer’s report, in which he went out of his way not to sound the alarm or invoke panic in any way, the Cowboys appear to be erring on the side of caution with Prescott, letting the former Rookie of the Year recover at his own pace. With 35 days until kickoff, it sounds as though Prescott, who was leading the NFL in passing yards at the time of his injury last year, should be healed well in advance of Week 1.
However, Cowboys alum Troy Aikman, who was in the Fox broadcast booth Thursday night alongside play-by-play voice Joe Buck, didn’t sound quite as optimistic, arguing that even if Prescott is ready for the opener, he’ll have missed a valuable month of camp reps.
With Prescott back in Oxnard, Garrett Gilbert drew the start for Dallas Thursday, completing 9-of-13 passes for 104 yards before ceding signal-calling duties to Cooper Rush early in the second quarter.