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The NFC East title is there for the taking for the Dallas Cowboys. But in a division in which the three other teams are weak at the most important position in football, the Cowboys’ advantage there is slipping away. That’s because a top NFL analyst projects trouble ahead for Dak Prescott.

If the situation doesn’t improve, Dallas faces the prospect of being an also-ran in the weakest division in the NFL.

Adam Schefter gives Dallas Cowboys fans some alarming Dak Prescott news

Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the New York Giants during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 11, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. | Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a pass against the New York Giants during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on Oct. 11, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. | Tom Pennington/Getty Images

ESPN football insider Adam Schefter says the Prescott that fans saw before his gruesome ankle injury last season has not re-emerged as of yet even though the Cowboys are more than halfway through training camp.

Schefter delivered a troubling prognosis, too.

“He’s not fully back, he may not be back all season long,” Schefter said during a break in Friday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Arizona Cardinals.

The ankle became the worry from the moment Prescott left the Week 5 game against the New York Giants on Oct. 11, 2020. Nine months later, Prescott returned to training camp and jumped right into drills. Shortly afterward, however, he developed discomfort in his throwing shoulder.

Fellow analyst Chris Simms speculated that the quarterback did harm to the shoulder by changing the way he plants while making throws, consciously or unconsciously protecting the surgically repaired ankle.

Schefter did not elaborate on whether it’s the ankle or the shoulder holding Prescott back. But he warned Cowboys fans that Prescott might not be 100% at any point of the first 17-game regular season in NFL history.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys open Sept. 9

Prescott and the Cowboys are running out of time to get their star quarterback to where he needs to be. After the final preseason games with the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas opens three days ahead of the rest of the league with a Thursday game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9.

After that, they’re on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers, a fashionable pick for a team to watch. Then, two of their next three games are against the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, NFC East opponents. If the Cowboys squander those home opportunities, they could be chasing their divisional rivals for the rest of the season.

After last season’s abomination, when the Washington Football Team won the division with a 7-9 record, it’s difficult to imagine an NFC East team earning one of the conference’s three wild-card berths. And without Prescott playing effectively, it’s hard to imagine getting to the nine wins likely necessary to have a shot at the division title.

Dallas should have been going into the season with a QB advantage

As concerning as Prescott’s status should be to Cowboys fans considering they don’t have a suitable backup, the rest of the NFC East has its own issues at quarterback.

Third-year Giants signal-caller Daniel Jones regressed in 2020 after taking the starting job from Eli Manning the previous season and looking promising as a rookie. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, the former Cowboys head coach, has at least as much riding on the upcoming season as does Jones.

As for Washington, who doesn’t love Ryan Fitzpatrick, the ultimate journeyman and placeholder? Alex Smith and Dwayne Haskins are gone, and the WFT is handing the keys to Fitzpatrick while trying to determine whether Kyle Allen or Taylor Heinicke deserve more than the cup of coffee they had a year ago.

Philadelphia is purportedly in a better position than New York and Washington as Jalen Hurts has earned good press in training camp. However, Hurts didn’t show much in his four starts a year ago. Ron Rivera would dearly love Hurts to emerge, because Joe Flacco is 36 years old and hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2017.

The scoreboard reads three teams with some questions at QB and one with ongoing concerns.

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