Dak Prescott hasn't played a game since early October 2020, but is ready to make his return to the gridiron against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL season opener next week.
"I'm definitely ready. I'm excited," Prescott told Dallas media on Friday. "I put in a lot of work to get to this point ... I'm ready to go."
The Cowboys' franchise quarterback went down with a fractured ankle against the New York Giants in week five last year and would miss the remainder of the 2020 season following surgery. To make matters a bit scarier, Prescott did not play in the preseason - despite his ankle having fully recovered - as he's dealt with a latissimus strain in his throwing shoulder.
Prescott has since returned to practice and is operating at 100 percent, though, meaning he's on track to play against the defending Super Bowl champions on Thursday night.
"Whether it was months ago, rehabbing the ankle, to the last few [weeks] keeping the feet working while I was letting my arm rest," Prescott explained, "there is so much work I put into this, I'm just excited to go out there and be a part of the full game. Just being out there with my brothers and being able to do something I love."
At full health, Prescott paired with Cowboys' offense will present one of the biggest challenges the Buccaneers will face all season long, as Tampa Bay aims for a second consecutive championship appearance. Prescott threw for over 400 yards in three of his four and a half games a season ago, while the Buccaneers' pass defense ranked 21st in the league, allowing 246.6 yards through the air per game.
To give Tampa Bay credit, it's secondary hit its stride in the 2020-21 playoffs, paired with an electric pass rush that gave future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and, probably, Patrick Mahomes fits all postseason long. The Buccaneers' defense posted seven interceptions compared to five passing touchdowns given up.
The hope for Tampa Bay is that its passing defense will pick up in 2021 where it left off in the playoffs, because the pass-catching trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup being reunited with Prescott will require the entire unit to be at its best right out of the gate.
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