Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy: Dak Prescott’s Presence Can’t Be Taken for Granted

Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy: Dak Prescott’s Presence Can’t Be Taken for Granted

Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy bumps fists with quarterback Dak Prescott (4) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

For the first time since 2015, the Dallas Cowboys are going to start a game without Dak Prescott in the lineup on Sunday. Head coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged there is already a different feeling around the team.

“You can never take for granted the presence and the command of Dak Prescott. It was definitely noticeable,” McCarthy said Friday, per Todd Archer of ESPN. “It hit me from the practice structure when I went out to the quarterback school, not having him there with the two quarterbacks.” 

Prescott suffered a compound fracture and dislocation in his ankle during last week’s game against the New York Giants. He has already undergone surgery and will miss the rest of the season, leaving the team in the hands of Andy Dalton.

“You have to turn the page on all injury situations,” McCarthy added. “I think we were so fortunate and blessed to have Andy Dalton … I thought we had a good day and that’s a real credit to Andy.”

A fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Prescott has started every regular-season game for the Cowboys over the past four years, earning two Pro Bowl selections in that span. He was off to an even better start in 2020 with a league-leading 1,856 passing yards in five games.

Losing him to an injury hurts even more with the Cowboys struggling to a 2-3 start to the season.

Dallas at least ensured it had an experienced backup, signing Dalton in the offseason after he spent nine years as a starter with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 32-year-old has 133 starts and three Pro Bowls on his resume, guiding his team to the playoffs four times.

Even with a drop-off from Prescott, Dallas is more equipped for this type of injury than most teams in the NFL.

Still, it’s clear overcoming the emotional loss of the starting quarterback could be as significant as losing his on-field contributions. 

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