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Rested & Ready: Zeke, Tank Preview TB Matchup


FRISCO, Texas – Hasn't taken a single snap in the preseason.

Hasn't really been hit at all since the regular season finale last January.

But, he's ready to go against the Bucs.

Sounds a lot like something to describe the quarterback. But Dak Prescott isn't the only player in that boat.

The same can be said for Ezekiel Elliott and DeMarcus Lawrence, a pair of veterans who have also received the "let's not risk it" approach.

But neither one of them sounds anything but "chomping at the bit" to play this week.

While Lawrence was held out mainly because he was still rehabbing from offseason back surgery, he said he's "full go" for Thursday and expects to play the whole game.

Zeke was limited because the Cowboys mainly wanted to keep him fresh and not risk injuries.

"I'm definitely excited to start a new chapter and redeem myself from last year," said Elliott, who had a career-low 979 rushing yards. "Just excited to get back out there and put my best work on film."

Speaking of last year, Lawrence said he's also excited about not only getting on the field again, but playing in Dan Quinn's scheme that is better-suited for his style. Last year, he often played in a 3-4 pass rusher role that had him standing up before the snap, rather than the three-point stance he's accustomed to playing.

"Everybody's got their own way of playing this game of football," Lawrence said. "Last year wasn't my way. I accepted it. But being able to get back to the way I know how to play the game, it's going to be exciting."

Lawrence reflected on the Cowboys' 6-10 record that saw them miss the playoffs for the second straight year.

"Looking back on what we had to go through last year, it was tough," he said. "But if it don't kill you, it makes you stronger. I'm just ready to see how strong we are."

And they're going to see right off the bat as they face the defending Super Bowl champs in Tampa Bay with Tom Brady at quarterback.

To make it even tougher on the Cowboys, one of their best players – guard Zack Martin – is not expected to play because he was placed on the Reserved/Covid-19 list.

Still, the Cowboys are standing behind their "next man up" philosophy.

"You have to be ready for the inevitable," Zeke said. "You just have to go be yourself. It's going to be tough not having Zack out there. We still have a lot of good players on our offense – a lot of guys that can help out. We just have to go play with who we've got."

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