Sports

Dak’s Back, Loss Stings, Lions Roar

FRISCO, Texas – After watching Dak throw Sunday prior to the Cowboys’ 26-17 loss to the Eagles, was pretty evident he is ready to go now five games removed from fracturing his right thumb in the season opener.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy simply confirmed that Wednesday afternoon.

Dak Prescott has officially been medically cleared to return to football.

He went through a throwing session on Tuesday, similar to Sunday’s.

Took part in Wednesday’s late afternoon walk-through practice, working with the first-team offense, followed by another 50-pass throwing session and listed on the official injury report as a full participant.

Then will take “the majority” of the first-team reps in Thursday’s padded practice, the Cowboys’ heaviest workload of the week.

Go ahead, unless something highly unforeseen takes place, ink Dak down to start Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we give him every opportunity to get ready,” McCarthy said.

And if any further confirmation is needed, listen to James Washington, still on IR, but one of the receivers running routes for Dak early Sunday evening.

“He’s definitely got his grip back,” Washington said. “He was ripping it. Dak’s got his grip back.”

Ripping it but good, quite obvious standing there watching him take those shots down the field.

  • Leftovers: A few more thoughts on the 26-17 loss to the Eagles. First, not sure how the officiating crew so badly botched that first down call when CeeDee Lamb stretched out on third down to plop the football down right on the 35-yard line, only for the spot to come up a yard short, the side judge telling Mike McCarthy they had his knee down prior to Lamb reaching out. Well, a mistake on their part, and too bad the head coach never got a chance to see a replay before the Cowboys snapping the ball to challenge the call. Next, the ensuing fourth-and-1 play where Eagles linebacker Haasan Reddick beat the block of Noah Brown, causing intended receiver CeeDee Lamb, coming around in motion, to bump into his teammate, busting up the play leading to the incompletion. All that leading to a Philadelphia field goal they should not have had, gaining all of one yard to do so. And then the touchdown the Eagles scored when drawing the Cowboys offsides at the 10 on a fourth-and-4 at the end of the first quarter. They had no intention of running a play and were going to settle for a field goal. There is four more points. That’s seven gifted points. Might have changed the Cowboys approach if trailing by only two at the end instead of nine.
  • Getting Closer: After watching Washington run routes for Dak on Sunday before the game, sure seems the veteran wide receiver is about ready to come off injured reserve and jump back into practice. Washington suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal on his left foot at the end of August, placed on IR Aug. 29, the fracture surgically repaired by inserting a screw to facilitate healing. He has missed the required four games and now is eight weeks removed from the injury. He says he’s close. He says, “It’s all in Britt’s hands,” referring to Cowboys director of rehab Britt Brown, who will be responsible for releasing him into practice. “I feel great.” Cowboys sure can use his deep speed of him on the outside.
  • Toughest Stretch: Before the season began, was asked to identify the toughest part of the schedule. Chose the four-game stretch from the Monday night game Sept. 26 at the Giants through this past Sunday night’s game at Philadelphia. That entailed a span of playing three of four games on the road, all three on a coast, going East Coast to the Giants, home against Washington, West Coast to the Rams and then back to the East Coast vs. Philly. And the Cowboys survived, winning three of the four games without Dak in all four, Cooper Rush helping to keep the season afloat.
  • Cage The Lions: Don’t get fooled by the Lions’ 1-4 record heading into Sunday’s game at AT&T Stadium. And the Cowboys better not get caught “eating the cheese” as Bill Parcells would warn. The Lions own the No. 2 offense in the NFL and No. 3 in average points scored, averaging 28 points a game, already putting 35 on Philly, 36 on Washington, 24 on Minnesota and 45 on Seattle, though getting shut down by the Patriots, 29-0. And the Dan Campbells will run right at you, averaging 5.4 yards a carry.
  • Shorties: Return man KaVontae Turpin is averaging 24.6 yards on his eight kickoff returns and 12.2 yards on nine punt returns, the only player ranking in the top five in both categories as he has this unique speed to reach top mph within a few steps… Turpin Time will strike real soon, taking one to the house if opponents will just cooperate giving him return opportunities they are guarding against… Been awhile since this has taken place, but after six weeks the Cowboys lead the NFL with 24 sacks, on pace for 68 over 17 games, which would eclipse the single-season team record of 62 set in 1985… Another guy getting closer to returning is fifth-round draft choice Damone Clark, the linebacker still on Non-Football Injury, but still has one week remaining on his three -week practice window. McCarthy says if he’s activated, the linebacker would start off on special teams… And this is a good one, Ezekiel Elliott is one of only two running backs so far this season (Buccaneers’ Rachaad White the other) to convert 100 percent of his third – and fourth-down rushing attempts (six) with a minimum of five required.

And for this week’s last word, well, I get it, and this is so well deserved. Wednesday marks the final day on our staff for Rob Phillips, moving on to hopefully bigger and better things for him, not to mention a more normal lifestyle now married and with a young daughter, no longer having to patrol locker rooms, attend press conferences and return from those Sunday, Monday, Thursday night road games on either coast at like 4-4: 30 in the morning.

Talk about a great teammate, Rob has always been there with a helping hand, no matter the ask during his 17 years with the organization, starting way back in 2003 as my intern while still in college at Texas A&M, then a part-time guy after graduating and finally hired fulltime. Sure, has been a joy to watch him grow, mature as a writer and become quite a talented scriptwriter for many of the Deep Blue documentaries, along with helping to produce those Making of the Dallas Cowboys Swimsuit Calendar TV shows.

His commitment and versatility will be hard to replace.

So will his daily friendship all these many years.

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