Cowboys face Broncos with Prescott still in limbo

Field Level Media

November 04, 2021 at 12:47 am.

The Dallas Cowboys have a path in mind for Dak Prescott to follow in order for the quarterback to return to the field Sunday against Denver Broncos at Arlington, Texas.

Prescott strained his calf in the waning moments of Dallas’ 35-29 overtime victory over the New England Patriots on Oct. 17. After the bye week followed, the two-time Pro Bowl selection was merely a spectator in the Cowboys’ 20-16 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Cooper Rush stepped in and made the most of his first career start, throwing for 325 yards and two touchdowns, while sending Dallas (6-1) to its sixth straight victory.

Prescott was a limited participant in what was a scaled-back practice session on Wednesday. Coach Mike McCarthy knows what he wants to see out of his quarterback in order to take the next step on the path toward his return.

“Just really how he comes out of today’s practice,” McCarthy said. “It’s no different than any player once he goes through the release to play through the rehab process. So he’s crossed that hurdle. He has a certain number of reps he’ll take (Wednesday) and we’ll evaluate in the morning.”

Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott have each flourished in three home starts this season for the Cowboys, who lead the NFL by averaging 454.9 yards per game this season. At home, the former has thrown 10 touchdown passes while the latter has 371 scrimmage yards and five scores (four rushing, one receiving).

Elliott, who leads the NFC with 571 rushing yards, needs just 45 more on Sunday to become the third player in franchise history to reach 7,000. Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (17,162) and Tony Dorsett (12,036) are the others.

Left tackle Tyron Smith did not practice on Wednesday and, per McCarthy, “would be pressed to play this week” as he deals with an ankle injury. Ty Nsekhe, Terence Steele and La’el Collins are candidates to replace Smith, although McCarthy wasn’t tipping his hand.

“We’d rather (have) Denver find out when they find out,” McCarthy said.

Tight end Blake Jarwin (hip) did not participate practice Wednesday while wideouts Amari Cooper (hamstring) and CeeDee Lamb (ankle) were limited.

Dallas rookie linebacker Micah Parson earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording 11 tackles — including four for loss — against Minnesota.

On the Broncos’ linebacker front, the team will return to the field without Von Miller. They sent the eight-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl MVP to the Los Angeles Rams prior to Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Denver (4-4) is also dealing with injuries, namely to Garett Bolles. The offensive tackle sustained an ankle injury on Melvin Gordon’s touchdown run during Sunday’s 17-10 win over the Washington Football Team.

Calvin Anderson is expected to play at left tackle and make his third career start.

“I need to see him play the way he’s capable of playing, which I think is at a good level,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “I have a lot of confidence in Calvin. I have for a long time. He knows that. I expect him to go out there and play good. I really do.”

Cornerback Bryce Callahan (knee) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday for the Broncos, who will look to either Nate Hairston or Kyle Fuller in his place.

Tight end Noah Fant was moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. He ranks second on the team in catches (37), third in receiving yards (320) and tied for first in receiving touchdowns (three).