In some sense Saturday marks the most important day of the preseason period for the Dallas Cowboys as they will host the Houston Texans in their dress rehearsal to properly ready themselves for the regular season (which begins in 19 days).
As the day began things were a bit rocky for the Cowboys in terms of the league’s national media. During Friday night’s preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs, ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculated that Dak Prescott “may not be back all season long.”
Ultimately this is an opinion, but it is from one of the league’s foremost insiders which gave it enough merit to at least talk about out loud. Of course, the ambiguity of the statement sort of protects Schefter from any real blowback as he isn’t really declaring anything. He’s pontificating.
It seems that we have stumbled upon an insider war, though, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero took his own turn on Saturday afternoon. He reported that Dak Prescott has had “absolutely no setbacks” in his rehab and that he remains on track to play in Week 1. Pelissero added that Prescott could have played tonight against the Texans, but that the Cowboys feel there is no reason to risk anything.
#Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (shoulder) has had “absolutely no setbacks” in his rehab and remains on track to start the Sept. 9 opener against the #Bucs, per source. Prescott could’ve played tonight vs. Houston, but no point risking anything in preseason. He will throw pregame again.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 21, 2021
Dallas has been extremely cautious to avoid setbacks, and doctors feel good about Dak’s progress. Plan is to ramp up his practice workload again next week, then cut him loose the week of the opener. Dak told me recently “there’s no doubt” he’ll be 100% in Week 1 and all season.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 21, 2021
Pelissero added that medical professionals feel “good” about the progress that Dak is making and noted what Mike McCarthy did earlier in the week in that the Cowboys are planning to give Dak more work next week.
On the subject of Mike McCarthy, the fact that this report comes from Tom Pelissero is notable in that the insider is the one who led “The McCarthy Project” when the head coach was looking to return to the NFL in early 2020. Pelissero also had an exclusive interview with both McCarthy and Prescott while the Cowboys were in Oxnard. This is admittedly also speculation, but if there is an insider that McCarthy trusts, it is seemingly Tom Pelissero.
None of this is being said to finger-point or say that one insider is better than another, however, it seems that Tom Pelissero is the more trustworthy person here given how close he has been to the Cowboys under Mike McCarthy.
Update: 3:40pm ET
ESPN’s Stephania Bell added that Dak Prescott’s lat strain is reportedly unrelated to his ankle injury from last year.
Per source: Dak Prescott’s lat strain was completely unrelated to his ankle. He has had zero setbacks and remains on track with a progressive throwing program designed to increase volume of work. Will be full go for Week 1 contest, Sept 9th.— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) August 21, 2021
This had been a popular couple of dots to connect. Seems as if it is not the case, though.