ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' preseason ended Sunday with a 34-14 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but almost immediately their attention turned to Dak Prescott, who will be playing in his first game in 340 days when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9.
"I mean, not to be Captain Obvious, but it's full-steam ahead to Tampa," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We lost some opportunities to practice with Dak. Now that he's back, our focus really, part of [offensive coordinator Kellen Moore's] focus and Dak's focus really, this past week, we need to get as much in as we possibly can between now and the Tampa Bay game. Our focus is on Tampa."
Prescott returned to team drills on Wednesday for the first time since July 27 because of a latissimus strain in his right shoulder. He missed 10 full practices but continued to go through conditioning and footwork drills to keep sharp.
Per the collective bargaining agreement, players must have three straight days off following the final preseason game. The Cowboys will practice Thursday and Friday and get into a normal week of preparation for the Buccaneers.
In three practices since his return, Prescott completed 29 of 44 passes in team or 7-on-7 drills. He showed no issues with strength in his arm or movement from his surgically repaired right ankle.
"We're going to do everything we can," McCarthy said when asked how the Cowboys get the rust off Prescott.
The Cowboys have 11 days and five practices remaining before playing Tampa Bay. McCarthy said once the final cuts are in on Tuesday, the time will go by fast.
"We talked a little bit last night. We started this quest on April 19, there's 300 days that are available to reach the Super Bowl and in between there you have to keep your eye on the target one day at a time," McCarthy said. "This is the first game, it's the most important game because it's the next game ... But I've played in that game. I've been on both sides of it. The feeling in the opening game, it's a ton of energy, it's a great game to compete in. Our guys, trust me, we're looking forward to it and we can't wait to get there."