NFL

Will Dak Prescott Even Recognize the Dallas Cowboys When He Comes Back?

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones always has high expectations for the team, so when Dak Prescott suffered an ankle injury in Week 5, that threw Jones’ plans for the 2020 season into disarray. Prescott is on injured reserve and expected to miss the rest of the season, which means he won’t take the field for the Cowboys again until 2021.

When he eventually comes back, the team that Prescott was on before the injury may look completely different — both on the field and on the coaching staff. With the team underperforming, especially on defense, an impatient leader like Jones is likely to make big changes to the team.

Dak Prescott’s devastating injury

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Prescott suffered a compound right ankle fracture and dislocation in the Cowboys’ game against the Giants in Week 5, according to the Sporting News. He awkwardly caught his ankle under him while scrambling on a third-quarter play and left the game on a cart, with his leg in an air cast.

Head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that the injury, which is similar to the one Redskins QB Alex Smith suffered a couple of years ago, is expected to be season-ending.

An ankle dislocation usually has a six-month recovery time frame, so with the fracture and dislocation Prescott’s recovery time will be even longer. If things go well with Prescott’s recovery, he should be able to return to the team in time for the start of the 2021 season — assuming he re-signs with the Cowboys, as he will be a free agent after the season.

Changes to the Dallas Cowboys’ roster since Dak Prescott’s injury

The team has not looked good at all since Prescott’s injury, especially with backup Andy Dalton also missing games in recent weeks. Given the lack of wins, the team has already made some roster moves.

The team was shopping some players leading up to the trade deadline, but had trouble finding trading partners. USA Today reports that the Cowboys tried to get deals for DT Dontari Poe and DE Darly Worley, but when no trades materialized the team released the players.

They were both signed in the offseason with the hope of improving the defensive line and secondary, but with the team’s defense being historically bad, both players ended up being expendable in the team’s eyes.

Considering the Cowboys didn’t get any trade offers they liked, other teams likely didn’t see much value in acquiring them either. Those releases came a day after the Cowboys traded DE Everson Griffen to the Lions.

More moves still to come?

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Those are unlikely the only moves the Cowboys will make before Prescott returns to the team next year. With the Cowboys having given up the most points in the league through Week 8, you can expect Jones and the rest of the front office to make more moves on the defensive side of the ball.

The Cowboys won’t win many games if they continue to give up 33 points per game, as they have done in the first half of the season. In what is a lost season, the team is evaluating all options, including the offensive line that is not providing much running room for star RB Ezekiel Elliott, who is on pace to have one of the worst seasons of his career; he has not surpassed 100 rushing yards in any of his first eight games of 2020.

While all the players are being evaluated, members of the coaching staff aren’t safe either. With the defense as bad as it is, first-year defensive coordinator Mike Nolan could be on the hot seat if things don’t improve on that side of the ball in the second half of the season.

Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, in his second season in the position, might also want to update his resume but with the Prescott injury Jones might not blame him for the poor offense as much as he otherwise might have.

McCarthy is probably safe since this is his first season on the job, but if a splashy, big-name coach becomes available — such as Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh — that could change. When Jerry Jones is in charge, you never know what his plans are.