We are one day away from the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Houston Texans for their annual dress rehearsal, although this particular one doesn’t feel as authentic as others have in previous years. Entering this season the Cowboys are using more caution with some of their starters and have alluded to several not playing on Saturday night during the team’s first bit of competition at AT&T Stadium this year.
On Friday morning, Mike McCarthy took to the podium and confirmed that Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and DeMarcus Lawrence (who recently returned from the PUP list) will all sit the game out. He did note that Amari Cooper, also returning from PUP, will play.
Cowboys WR Amari Cooper is expected to play about 10 or 12 snaps in Saturday’s exhibition vs. Texans, Mike McCarthy said. DE DeMarcus Lawrence, QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott among those who won’t play.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 20, 2021
Seeing Amari Cooper play at all will ease some concerns around Cowboys Nation. Having played sparingly throughout all the offseason work and training camp to this point, his return will certainly be a sight for sore eyes.
While Tank Lawrence will be out for the game it does appear that the Cowboys plan on playing their defensive starters for about a half. This will be the largest body of work that we have seen from them so far and it will be interesting to see who is utilized, and how. It seems that a few former starters could be relegated to special teams duties as well.
In tomorrow’s preseason game against the Texans, Mike McCarthy anticipates the defensive starters playing during the first half. Expect to see young players on offense and substitutions coming in earlier.— Brianna Dix (@DixBrianna) August 20, 2021
Hopefully the turnover momentum keeps working in favor of the Cowboys defense and we see the ball wind up in the hands of the good guys for the third game in a row. With Micah Parsons and Keanu Neal both already on the board, there is certainly room for someone else to join the party.
While the defense will get its chance to shine on Saturday night, there are plenty who are still waiting for things to stabilize with Dak Prescott. McCarthy also discussed this on Friday and gave a bit of a positive update in saying that Dak will pick things up next week and that he likely won’t be on a pitch count come the regular season.
McCarthy does not believe Prescott will have to be on a pitch count during practices once the regular season starts. “I think we’re just trying to get back to the level that he was before the injury,” McCarthy said. https://t.co/MZxHJnxY15— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) August 20, 2021
The Cowboys have been very cautious with their quarterback since his injury on July 28th, and not seeing him in the preseason hasn’t exactly calmed a ton of waters. Ultimately, though, the games that matter don’t start for three weeks (just about) so patience is still an option.