FRISCO - Almost all eyes were on QB Dak Prescott. But there were plenty of other storylines developing inside Ford Center here at The Star during Tuesday’s OTAs.
Yes, we start with the QB, back on the field after his 2020 season-ending ankle surgery. Said Prescott of his day: “I wouldn’t say necessarily limited. I would say, 'cautious' ... (but) “I’m pretty much full-go.”
And from tight end Dalton Schultz: “Seeing him right back where he left off is awesome.”
Prescott said he plans to be more conscious of how he loosens up, and that there will be days off along the way - including on Wednesday.
Our top 10 Cowboys OTA observations …
1 SIDELINED While Dak was present, al handful of other notable Cowboys were not on the field on Tuesday, a group led by Ezekiel Elliott. (Elliott did work Monday.) Rehabbing Zack Martin and Blake Jarwin worked to the side, as did DeMarcus Lawrence and Trysten Hill. Amari Cooper was present but did not appear to rotate in with the receivers.
2 STARTING SAFETIES SET? New Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee, the free agent from Atlanta, looks fine in his Achilles tear rehab - and looks like the starter at free a safety. Based on snaps, it looks like Donovan Wilson is most likely to get a push for the strong safety job from Jayron Kearse.
3 ‘BEST SHAPE’ While Martin isn’t quite ready, tackles La’el Collins and Tyron Smith - both of whom essentially had “lost” 2020 seasons due to injury - are back. Both got involved in 11-on-11 work and in particular, Collins looked to be in much better shape than he was a year ago.
Said Dak: “They are in the best shape they have ever been in in their career.”
Again, for Collins, that is about his weight. For Smith, we’re told it’s about having worked on increased flexibility (as opposed to weight-room strength) and also about that neck surgery that he may have put off for years in order to stay in the lineup.
“A blessing in disguise,” a source tells us of Tyron finally getting the surgery.
4 O-LINE SHUFFLE Elsewhere in the O-line, young tackle. Brandon Knight played some guard, and rookie seventh-round pick Matt Farniok appears to be the second-string center behind Tyler Biadasz.
5 ‘INFECTIOUS’ The influence of new coordinator Dan Quinn? “He’s a guy we all are excited to play for,” said Jaylon, calling Quinn's energy “infectious."
6 JUMP-OUT CBs Two young corners jumped out. Rookie Nahshon Wright jumped a route but dropped the potential pick-six. Second-year man Reggie Robinson ranged wide and left his feet for a pass deflection that showed both athleticism and smarts.
Deante Burton recorded an interception on an inaccurate Dak throw.
7 NUMBERS GAME In addition to Micah Parsons wearing No. 11, fellow linebacker Jaylon Smith has made the switch to Tony Romo’s old No. 9. (Read more here.) Oh, and safety Donovan Wilson is now No. 6 … and receiver Cedrick Wilson looks pretty slick in No. 1.
Said Jaylon: “It’s just a blessing and honor to be able to carry on the 9 legacy. Tony Romo did an incredible job of being elite.”
8 COVID TALK Tight end Dalton Schultz is the Cowboys' NFLPA rep and said of the decision to participate as a group in OTAs in a COVID time, “We need this work in the offseason. We support everything the NFLPA is doing but we're a very young team and can benefit highly from this work. … as long as we do it in smart."
9 THE SWITCH Keanu Neal is switching from Atlanta to Dallas and switching from safety to linebacker. He certainly got a load of snaps - he wants to play at 222 pounds, up from 217 - but Leighton Vander Esch and Smith looked like the top guys.
We know that the Cowboys don't give away numbers 8, 12, 22 or 74. (See above). We know that the Cowboys have their tradition of giving away No. 88. (See below.)
Top rookie pick Micah Parsons is expected to the centerpiece of much of what Dallas does on defense. But not yet, not on this day.
10 THE FINAL WORD Cowboys second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs is suddenly a take-charge guy in this secondary (the starter opposite Anthony Brown, with Jourdan Lewis as the slot corner) and talked like it when talking of playing through injuries.
“If I'm not dying,” Trevon said, “I can go."