The million-dollar question for the Dallas Cowboys right now may not be about a supposed “QB controversy” but rather when Dak Prescott will be ready to play again, especially considering the team’s upcoming NFC East showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football.
After Prescott fractured his thumb in the Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay, backup Cooper Rush has carried this team to four straight victories and even broke the franchise record for getting four wins in his first four starts as a Dallas quarterback.
Before all of that, people were very apprehensive about Rush and his capability. Jerry Jones even refused to put Prescott on IR because he (not a doctor) was so convinced that his QB1 would be back before four weeks (that fourth week was last week’s game against the Rams) despite the initial timeline for an injury like this being four to six weeks. Thankfully, Rush’s ability to bring this team wins has allowed Prescott to properly heal his hand and not get forced back into things before he’s actually ready.
So, will Dak Prescott play against the Eagles? Likely not, according to Mike McCarthy. There are still a few days left to decide but the team is preparing for Rush to be the starter.
The “according to Mike McCarthy” part is important. Jones, the Cowboys GM, isn’t a doctor, but he is a spin doctor. In other words, he spins stories and words to get himself and his franchise more attention. For the past four weeks, he’s continued to give incredibly vague answers about whether Dak may or may not play.
This Tuesday, Jones told 105.3 The Fan that the reason his QB1 wasn’t throwing was because of his inability to “spin the ball.” This was a narrative the GM had never mentioned prior to that interview. I personally think that Jones is letting up a little bit because Rush has been able to bring in wins. If this team was 2-3, the narrative would be far different.
The head coach, on the other hand, has remained steadfast in the constant questions about Prescott: he wants to trust the doctors and he wants his QB1 to be able to throw for an entire week of practice before he starts. Given he wasn’t a full participant in practice on Wednesday, it makes sense that McCarthy is thinking that Rush will start on Sunday night.
However, Prescott did make some major progress in his recovery this week. McCarthy told reporters on Wednesday that not only would the 28-year-old do individual drills and participate in a “quarterback school” walkthrough, but he would also do some light throwing to receivers after the practice.
The moral of the story is that, as of today, the Cowboys starting quarterback isn’t medically cleared to play yet. Here’s more from McCarthy:
"“I think we’re still in the medical rehab phase. So once he clears this phase and he’s fully activated, then I think that’s when we have our conversation.You’ve got to trust the medical process. This is a 17-game season. That was my immediate response. I know Dak didn’t want to hear it, but you’ve got to make sure that he’s right for the long haul, too.So I’m not saying we’re being conservative because that doesn’t line up with him, with the way he approaches preparing to play. But, yeah, this really is following the medical timeline. He’s doing all the things you can possibly do and more to get ready. But I don’t think it would’ve changed, from my view.”"
Despite early rumors (mostly sparked by Jones) that Prescott would be back earlier, it seems that his initial injury timeline was more accurate. The quarterback has a strong chance to play in Week 7 or Week 8, paralleling the initial prognosis from doctors. More than anything, we are just glad that this franchise isn’t forcing Prescott back too early and risking further injury.
Whenever he’s ready to be back, expect to see No. 4 on the field and No. 10 back on the sideline.