Training Camp | 2021

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Practice Points: Birthday Smash, New Injuries, More

Dak Birthday Cake

OXNARD, Calif. – Quarterbacks aren't supposed to get hit at all, even if they're limited because of a shoulder strain.

While Thursday's practice was no exception, the only real contact Prescott faced, was to the face, in the form of a cake.

The birthday boy turned 28 on Thursday and his offensive linemen, along with Ezekiel Elliott and Blake Jarwin didn't forget.
They presented him with a cake, shipped in by UPS. But of course, just delivering the cake wouldn't be fun. The cake was smashed into his face, all in good fun.

"At least it tastes good," Dak said as he wiped off yellow frosting from his eyes and cheeks.

But that wasn't the only action of the day for Prescott, who wasn't a full participant in practice, but wasn't idle as well.

Here are some practice points from the day:

  • Prescott did not throw during Thursday's practice after being diagnoses with a shoulder strain on Wednesday. He did not take the day off, though. Prescott participated in the early portion of practice, working on footwork with the other quarterbacks and timing with the running backs. He even participated in the quarterbacks' daily accuracy contest – though the results seemed a bit skewed, since Prescott was lateraling his passes into the accuracy net from a yard away. When the throwing sessions began, he went off to work on conditioning with the athletic training staff.
  • More evidence that the pads have come on: Ezekiel Elliott lowered a shoulder on Maurice Canady during the team portion of practice, which heavily featured installations of the run game. "Just kind of see what's under the hood a little bit," Elliott said.
  • Prescott was joined in the conditioning work by rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph, who didn't participate in Thursday's practice. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy didn't list Joseph as an injury concern at his daily briefing, so it's unclear what the issue was as of yet. Michael Gallup also went through some conditioning as he works through the ankle injury he suffered in practice Tuesday. Elsewhere, Tyron Smith sat out of practice with elbow tendinitis, and Blake Jarwin took a rest day as he continues to work back from his torn ACL..
  • Better day overall for the offense after two defense-dominated practices Tuesday and Wednesday. The passing game started slow, in part because the offense focused more on run game and short yardage Thursday. But Garrett Gilbert and the first team got going in situational team drills. Gilbert followed up a 30-yard pass to Cedrick Wilson with a 20-yard touchdown to CeeDee Lamb, the first of three TD passes. Another TD pass to Lamb was almost a Micah Parsons interception, but the ball bounced off the rookie linebacker's hands and straight to Lamb. Practice ended with a beautiful one-handed touchdown grab by second-year tight end Sean McKeon, securing a "win" for the offense in two- and four-minute drive work.
  • The "surprise" period that head coach Mike McCarthy referenced Thursday morning appeared to be a team drill with the offense backed up against its on 1-yard line. If the offense could get two first downs, it won the drill. On Gilbert's first rep, he found Ezekiel Elliott on a quick pass for a 30-yard gain. Third-year linebacker Luke Gifford had two would-be tackles to stall the second- and third-team offenses.
  • In what appeared to be the first team-period kicks of camp, Hunter Niswander was 2-of-3 from 25, 34 and 47 yards. His 47-yard attempt bounced off the left post. Niswander is filling in for Greg Zuerlein, who's starting camp on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list (back).
  • One of the first big hits of camp, although it probably wasn't supposed to happen, came from Donovan Wilson, who has established himself as a big-time thumper. He smacked tight end Sean McKeon in an 11-on-11 team drill that kept him short of the first down. It drew some yells from the defensive teammates, but it didn't seem like McKeon appreciated the hit, especially with the coaches reiterating to "stay up" and prevent taking players the ground.
  • First-year tackle Isaac Alarcon, who is on a roster exemption as part of the NFL's International Program, had some nice moments during a blocking drill. Alarcon (6-6, 318) threw his defender to the ground on multiple plays, including nose tackle Justin Hamilton (6-2, 315). Alarcon spent last year on the practice squad but is looking forward to getting a few snaps in the preseason for the first time.

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