The Dallas Cowboys "fully expect" quarterback Dak Prescott to start Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 9, Jay Glazer reported on Fox Sports.
Prescott is dealing with a shoulder ailment that Glazer described as "more of a baseball injury" ahead of Thursday's preseason Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
The 28-year-old is also coming back from an ankle injury that ended his 2020 campaign in Week 5.
Prescott is one of eight Cowboys starters who did not make the trip to Ohio for the preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with wideout Amari Cooper, cornerback C.J. Goodwin, safety Malik Hooker, tight end Blake Jarwin, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, guard Zack Martin and kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Dallas announced it limited Prescott's non-throwing drills in the last week because of his shoulder strain and wants him to rest.
Before his injury last season, the Mississippi State product passed for 1,856 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions in 222 pass attempts (151 completions). That helped him assemble a 99.6 passer rating and 78.7 QBR—both above his career averages.
It was the type of production the Cowboys would liked to see Prescott build on after signing him to a four-year, $160 million deal with $126 million guaranteed in March.
Going up against the reigning Super Bowl champions on the road in Week 1 is a tremendous way to kick off the QB's return. The Cowboys expect to contend for the NFC East crown as long as Prescott remains healthy. There's no need to risk that this early in the preseason.