FRISCO, Texas – Turns out, Mike McCarthy undersold Dak Prescott's participation in practice.
The Cowboys' head coach told reporters Wednesday morning that Prescott would participate in seven-on-seven reps during the team's upcoming practice. That turned out to be incorrect, as Prescott bypassed seven-on-seven in favor of full team reps.
Prescott took 18 reps across four team periods during a hot and humid practice. Most notably, he threw 12 passes and looked sharp, completing 11 of those throws. His only incompletion was a bat down by Jayron Kearse, who managed to stick his long arms into Prescott's throwing window right over left tackle.
"Dak looked really good, man," said Ezekiel Elliott. "He's throwing the ball with some pop. He looks like he's progressing good."
It definitely didn't look like Prescott is a guy still limited by a strained shoulder. Among those 12 passes was a 30-yard completion to Blake Jarwin down the left sideline, outside the numbers. He also had a pretty completion to Dalton Schultz on a 20-yard crossing route, with Prescott making the throw on the run toward the left. He also had a pretty completion to Aaron Parker over the middle of the field, threading the ball between two defenders to pick up roughly 15 yards.
It's still only one step, but it was an awfully encouraging one. If there are any remaining concerns that Prescott is on track for the start of the regular season, Wednesday's work should go a long way toward easing them.
Here are some more notes from Wednesday's practice:
- Greg Zuerlein is back at practice, though his first showing wasn't his best. During a field goal session at the beginning of practice, Zuerlein connected on 5-of-8 kicks, with a couple of those missing fairly wide. Zuerlein is planning to kick this weekend against Jacksonville, so he'll have plenty of opportunity to bounce back. "It was Day 1," he said. "It was a bad day, but we build from there."
With Rico Dowdle headed to injured reserve, both Ja'Quan Hardy and Brendan Knox seemed to get a larger workload than usual behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. It's an excellent guess that neither Elliott nor Pollard is going to play Sunday against Jacksonville, so both rookies could be facing a heck of an opportunity to make a favorable impression just ahead of roster cuts.
- The Cowboys' safety depth improved Wednesday with rookie Israel Mukuamu cleared to return to practice from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Mukuamu had a pass breakup during team drills.
- After three and a half weeks of Oxnard temperatures in the 70s, the Cowboys have practiced outside the last two days to re-adjust to the Texas heat and prepare for likely hot, humid Tampa Bay weather in the Sept. 9 season opener. "It's an arena that we need to be comfortable in and get ready for," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "So it's more the mental and the focus component as the reason. I have great confidence in our players how they prepare as far as the hydration and so forth."
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott sometimes practices in a sweatshirt with his jersey, and he didn't change his routine Wednesday even though the heat approached 100 degrees. "If it's too hot I'll cut the sleeves off," he said. "I'm used to being in layers. I ran track all growing up. As soon as you get done with your race, no matter how hot it is, the track coach is like, 'Put your sweats back on. You've got to stay warm.' I'm a little used to it."