The Dallas Cowboys are back. With the team’s season opener on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, the Cowboys will take on their division rivals, the Washington Redskins. The game will be aired live on FOX at 4:25 PM CT from FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
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OXNARD (California) — Even though it was just the first walk-through of Dallas Cowboys training camp, quarterback Dak Prescott already knew where he was going to throw the ball before seeing the defense.
Prescott added, “I made sure I threw it to Blake,” referring to tight end Blake Jarwin, who is coming back from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament sustained in the season opener last year. “Obviously, I’m aware of what he’s gone through in terms of overcoming hardship, overcoming injuries, and returning to the field.”
For months, Prescott, Jarwin, and offensive lineman Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins battled ailments that forced them to miss the start of their 2020 season or kept them off the field completely.
Their injuries cost them 62 games, which contributed significantly to the Cowboys’ 6-10 record in coach Mike McCarthy’s debut season.
They are healthy — though Martin is suffering with a sore ankle — and will play a key part in why the Cowboys have such high hopes for the 2021 season as they start to full-padded workouts for the first time this week in training camp.
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They also developed a stronger connection and made a vow throughout their recovery.
Jarwin said, “It was an unspoken norm.” “[Rehab Director Britt Brown] has been on us, and you just have two or three repetitions left, so you look at each other and say, ‘Let’s go do this.’ We must suffer today in order to be great tomorrow. That, I believe, was understood by all of us. It was critical for us, and I believe it will pay off handsomely.”
Because of the position he plays and the $160 million deal the Cowboys gave him to this summer, Prescott’s recovery from a complex fracture and dislocation of his right ankle has been the most well-documented.
Collins required a walker after hip surgery last autumn, and he had to rehab for 18 weeks. Jarwin had high expectations for the 2020 season after receiving a $24 million contract deal, but his season was cut short after just 25 plays.
Smith struggled for years to overcome a neck problem that had plagued him, but he eventually gave up and underwent surgery. Martin had only missed two games in his first six seasons, but a concussion and a torn calf forced him to miss six games.
Collins said, “Really, we simply kept each other responsible every day to be about it.” “There are a lot of things you can do in the offseason, but you have to make the effort and sacrifice to be there every day. It carries through when you have that and that kind of trust.”
Brown, who is in his 25th season with the Cowboys, was the guy they put their faith in to bring them back. McCarthy acknowledged Brown’s work with those returning from injury at the first meeting of training camp, and the players gave him a standing ovation.
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“It’s all about the old school. Special. abrasive “Prescott was characterizing Brown when he stated this. “He’s enthralled. Does his work with real passion, pure love, and true love for the men he’s teaching, and you can feel it every day you walk out there, whether it’s a good day or a bad day, he’ll let you know. He’ll tell it like it is. He’s going to look after you.”
Brown was dubbed a “quiet hero” by Jarwin. Practices, according to Collins, are less difficult than Brown’s rehab sessions. While going through resistance-band training with Brown, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (back), wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle), and defensive tackle Trysten Hill (ankle) are likely to agree.
Last year’s wage cap was breached by a group of five injured players totaling more than $50 million, with Prescott’s franchise tag costing $31.4 million. The number would have been higher if the Cowboys hadn’t restructured Smith, Martin, and Collins’ contracts to free up cap space.
“I don’t believe we’ve ever had that many elite players [skip games] in terms of percentage of salary cap, whatever you want to look at it,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said.
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Injuries are a part of life for any squad. McCarthy needed 77 players to win the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 2010, so there’s a difference between reasons and excuses, even if they reside in the same neighborhood.
The Cowboys will have to cope with more injuries in 2021; all they can hope for is that none of their important players will be injured.
“With our experienced guys returning, we’re a different club,” McCarthy remarked. “Just seeing them go through rehab and feeling optimistic about their comeback will have a significant effect on our roster and squad. We want a healthy, competitive training camp, and they’ll play a key role in that.”
Prescott refers to their reunion as “reuniting the band.”
“As we approached that first team practice, Tyron and I joked, ‘It’s been a long time, huh.’” Prescott remarked. “It’s incredible to have Tyron, Zack, and [Ezekiel Elliott] all healthy, and to have us all back in there with some of those young kids who are going to be great players. We’ve got a fantastic supporting cast. We’ve got some fantastic players coming in when those guys come out…. It’s something I look forward to each and every day, and I’m certain we’ll improve. My enthusiasm is at an all-time high.”
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