The Dallas Cowboys had a decision to make for their final preseason game on Thursday against the Houston Texans. Just how much playing time, if any, would they give to Dak Prescott?
There were two schools of thought.
1. As a rookie who is going to be starting the first game of the season (and likely many more after that), you want to get him as many reps as you can against a live defense. Prescott has blown everybody away with his unbelievable stats in the preseason, but he is by no means a finished product. Any rep he gets is an opportunity to learn more and to hone his abilities in anticipation of playing as a starter in the NFL.
2. On the other hand, there is the obvious risk of injury that comes with playing live football. The Cowboys can't afford to lose Prescott for any amount of time. Compounding the problem is that this is the fourth game of the preseason, a time when teams traditionally rest their starters. So If Prescott plays, he could be out there with backups along the line and any kind of blown assignment or bad play could lead to disaster.
As early as this morning the Cowboys were still unsure about what they would do, or at least that was what they were telling the press.
[Jerry] Jones said those decisions haven't been finalized, but he was quite aware that the Cowboys need Prescott healthy for their season opener on Sept. 11. Keeping that in mind, it's hard to imagine him playing too much of a role against Houston.
"I don't know that we've come to a total conclusion on that. We do want to be very mindful of the fact that we got to have him for our opener," Jones said. "So, that's the limitation of having this game on Thursday is that we have a lesser time for somebody to heal up from a nick, and I'm not trying to be elementary here, but we'll be very mindful of that. And Dak is our man going into the opener. So, we'll take that into consideration."
In the end, the Cowboys will err on the side of caution and sit Dak for the game.
Dak Prescott nor any other Cowboys starter will play Thursday— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 30, 2016
There is another complicating factor for the Cowboys, they only have one other quarterback on the roster. Jameil Showers will have to play the full game. The Cowboys sound like they're going to wait for more waiver wire cuts to happen before signing a veteran quarterback. So what happens if Showers is injured. The Cowboys could turn to Prescott, or they could go to an emergency quarterback. And who might that be? According to Jason Garrett:
Who could play QB for Cowboys in an emergency situation? First two names from Jason Garrett: Cole Beasley and Darren McFadden— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 30, 2016
With McFadden's injury, it looks like Beasley would be the next man up!