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Mick Shots: No Huge Surprises & A Jerry Tale


FRISCO, Texas – No surprise Wednesday.

Dak Prescot practiced on a limited basis, another encouraging sign his strained right calf muscle is on the mend and that he'll be able to play Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

Michal Gallup, with a strained calf muscle of his own, practiced for the first time since straining his in the season opener, starting his three-week injured reserve window of being designated to return.

Dorance Armstrong is back out there with a helmet on, appearing as if his sprained ankle is good to go.

Same for Kelvin Joseph, Trysten Hill, Sean McKeon and Francis Bernard.

Oh, and stop with the conspiracy theories surrounding La'el Collins. He is a better football player than Terence Steele, and that's nothing against how far Steele has come since his rookie season last year. He just is. Collins played at a Pro Bowl level at right tackle in 2019. Problem is, he's only played one game since, this year's season opener before being suspended for those five games. Use some common sense. The guy has missed five games, so five weeks of practice. The team did not practice last week during the bye, so that's six. He will get one practice in pads this seventh week.

Think that has him ready to face Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter, he of six sacks already in six games and 54.5 since the start of the 2016 season? There is no rush here to have Collins ready, and as head coach Mike McCarthy said, "He looked good on Monday. Obviously LC has position flexibility (guard). We're going to start the week with Terence at right tackle … but LC gives us some great competition."

McCarthy points out they will work Collins in at tackle and guard, where he is listed on the unofficial depth chart as backup on the left side, which should not come as a great surprise, though he hasn't played there since 2016. During position drills, Collins was lining up as the second right tackle.

Oh, and stop with the trade stuff. Why would you do anything to diminish the strength of a team that's 5-1 and has a 3.5-game lead in the NFC East? Quit looking down the road. As the guys say, keep your feet underneath you. No Collins for 2022 would mean $13.95 million in dead money on the cap.

Can't take that shot.

  • Dr Lamb: No sense messing around guessing about Dak's availability for Sunday night's game. Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, during his post-practice interview, cleared up any doubt, saying, "Just about 90 percent sure we are going to see him out there Sunday." As for Dr. Mick, my sports writing medical degree suggests Dr. Lamb's prognosis quite accurate, judging from how Dak looked in the portion of Wednesday's practice we got to watch. He was moving just fine. No limp, especially when going through extensive resistance cord drills with Cowboys associate trainer Britt Brown during the early portion of Wednesday's indoor practice. Then he moved over with the quarterbacks, going through all the passing drills, throwing short, medium and then long to receivers, and quite accurately I might say while dropping back. McCarthy was not trying to pull anyone's leg when he said of Dak, "I think he's improved every day," then made a point of standing over there off to the side during practice watching Dak go through all those rehab drills.
  • Calf History: McCarthy points out that he's dealt with a quarterback dealing with a calf injury previously, mentioning this happened to Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers heading into the 2014 playoffs. What he didn't point out was Rodgers had a calf muscle tear heading into the game against the Cowboys at Lambeau Field, most famously known as the C_atch/No-Catch_Gamethe Packers ended up winning, 26-21, thanks in part to the spectacular Dez Bryant catch on Tony Romo's 31-yard, fourth-down pass to the Packers, one overturned by video replay tono catch. Well, in that game, with the Cowboys unable to consistently pressure the one-legged quarterback, Rodgers completed 24 of 35 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns for a 125.4 QB rating. Calf that.
  • By the Way: Just for the record, the NFL, in the spring of 2018, tweaked the wording defining a catch, and then Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron said had the rule change been in effect for that playoff game, Dez's catch would have been a catch as the rest of us realized in the first place.
  • Penn & Tell: Ran into former Cowboys linebacker Jesse Penn the other day out here at The Star, the former 1985 second-round draft choice having played three seasons for the Cowboys before a degenerative neck issue forced him into retirement. He brought up Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons. Can't believe he repeated the same thing I had before the draft when saying the Cowboys needed to select the Penn State linebacker with their first-round pick: "He reminds me of Lawrence Taylor." I was scolded by some for saying that about parson's versatility back then, told "Do you really want to go there?" Yep, and maybe even more so now.
  • Tight End Tony?: Interesting story about former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo heading toward his Dec. 7 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. We all know now, a partial-scholarship freshman at Eastern Illinois, Romo became the 2002 winner of the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS Player of the Year and then as a rookie free agent in 2003 eventually becoming a 10-year starter for the Cowboys, rewriting the franchise quarterbacking record book. Well, in an interview for the National Football Foundation spotlight, Romo tells of how late Eastern Illinois coach Bo Spoo wanted to move Romo from quarterback to tight end after his freshman year. That's how inaccurate Romo was throwing the ball at the time. Same thing plaguing him early in his Cowboys career. But Romo balked at the move, saying he told Spoo, "I understand your honesty, but just give me six months and let's go through spring. I'm going to stay at quarterback, and if you feel the same way, that I'm not good enough to stay at quarterback, then switch me to tight end. But at least give me the opportunity to attack this every day and we'll see what happens after the spring." Well, Spoo saw, Romo leading the Panthers to the FCS playoffs three times while fashioning a 17-2 record in Ohio Valley Conference games and setting the OVC record with 34 passing touchdowns his senior year. And then eventually, the rest of us saw, too.
  • Combine Short: While the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is once again being held in Indianapolis, the 2023 combine is up for bid, and seems it's coming down to Dallas, Los Angeles and Indy. Logically, with the surrounding hotel space and two Baylor Scott & White medical facilities in close proximity, Ford Center at The Star would be a natural choice. Not to mention easy access to two major airports in DFW.

Story time from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and while I've heard 32 years of them, this is a new one, so to me qualifies him for this week's last word. Tuesday during his 105.3 The Fan radio segment, while answering if he owned some sort of priceless memorabilia, he stated he would never give up the football after what took place with the ball Tom Brady threw for his 600th touchdown pass, the Buccaneers fan giving it back.

"I have a baseball that when I was 16 years old, my father was a great friend of Ed Litzenberger, captain of the Chicago Blackhawks. And so Litzenberger let me go in the Cubs' dressing room when I was 16 years old. And I went over to Ernie Banks' locker and Ernie Banks signed a baseball for me.

"Then here in Dallas, I had this great looking gentleman come up to me – I had owned the Cowboys about 10 years – and he comes up to me and says, 'Mr. Jones, I'm Ernie Banks. I played shortstop and (first base) for the Cubs.'

"I said, 'Ernie, I know you. It's great to shake that hand.'

"And he said, 'Well, it's great to meet you.'

"And I said, 'We met before.'

"And he said, 'No. I wouldn't have said that.'

"I said, 'No, we met before.' And I told him, I said, 'Ernie I have a baseball, it's never hit the carpet. I've had it sitting with me all these years, and I've never taken my thoughts off the fact that it's Ernie Banks on that baseball.

"Just telling that story reminds me, going back to the football, I don't know I'd sell that football after all."

Well, the guy who had Brady's ball did in a way, Byron Kennedy, doctor of internal medicine, for what turned out to be a mighty hefty booty.

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