FRISCO, Texas – For as much as he knows about football, Dak Prescott gets the way this media game works just as well.
There's been plenty of idle speculation about Prescott's strained calf these past seven days, as the Cowboys sat idle on their bye week.
It didn't feel like a pure coincidence, then, that on the first day of Week 8, as reporters gathered for player interviews on The Star's practice field, the star quarterback ducked out of the facility doors for a quick appearance – wearing no walking boot.
Prescott was on hand to razz the team's director of sports performance, Scott Sehnert about an on-field workout, but he did happen to do it in front of the entire Dallas-Fort Worth press corps.
Asked how he was feeling for Sunday, Prescott joked that if he answered the question so quickly, there'd be nothing to talk about all week.
He's obviously not wrong. But even if Prescott prefers to play it coy, there are other people to ask. And at the outset of the week, the attitude around the organization seems to be one of optimism.
"We all know how driven he is to compete, how driven he is to be great, and certainly how driven he is to want to play each and every game," said Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones on Monday morning. "We've got to calibrate that, too, because no one is going to bet against No. 4, and at the end of the day, he understands that we've only got his best interest here, and we'll evaluate all of that, but we're still very optimistic he can play."
That's been the word since last week's thriller against New England wrapped up. Even decked out in a clunky walking boot, Prescott was in good spirits and adamant that he'd be available in Minnesota.
The mood hasn't changed to this point, though it is fair to admit that the heavy lifting hasn't yet started. As Jones mentioned, Prescott's availability will likely hinge on how well he holds up during the course of the practice week, when he's had ample time to test how he feels in a game environment.
Having dealt with a calf injury of his own, Zack Martin spoke to that aspect of the recovery. To be fair, it's worth pointing out that Martin and Prescott have very different jobs. But it's still worth mentioning the difference between feel good inside and outside the context of playing football.
"It's one of those things, for me at least, where I'd be feeling good, feeling good, then obviously our job descriptions are a little different but feeling good running around, then all of a sudden I've got a 300 pounder pushing me back and it was kind of like, 'Oh not ready to go yet,'" Martin said.
With all of that said, Martin indicated that he's expecting Prescott to play until he's told otherwise. Again, that seems to be everyone's attitude at the outset of the week.
Perhaps that'll change, or perhaps not. It's something to monitor as the Cowboys get back into the swing of their season. And – as Prescott pointed out – it's certainly something to talk about.