And for good cause. The final time he was on a soccer subject, his proper leg was in an air forged due to a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle. He had two surgical procedures. His rehab was intense, however what he did in spring practices would carry weight, particularly after signing a four-year, $160 million extension this past March. There was nothing noticed in Prescott’s efficiency that will counsel the ankle will probably be a difficulty when the season begins.
As necessary as Prescott’s return will probably be to the Cowboys’ success in 2021, so will the return of three offensive linemen who didn’t do a lot on-subject work throughout spring practices: Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and La’el Collins.
And Prescott is aware of it.
“They’re the most important, if you ask me,” Prescott stated. “From the time that I got drafted until now, this offense is built off of those guys. They’re the three most veteran guys on this team, and that’s for a reason. Those guys are walk-in Pro Bowl guys when they’re healthy, future Hall of Famers. Just to have those three guys lead the five guys up front, everything starts with them. The run game, that allows the pass game to open up. When you have those guys back healthy, energized, it’s special.”
For all the Cowboys’ offensive glitz — Prescott, operating again Ezekiel Elliott and large receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb — they won’t be the identical with out Smith, Martin and Collins, who mixed to overlook 36 video games in a misplaced 6-10 season in 2020.
Smith performed in two video games earlier than present process season-ending neck surgical procedure. Martin missed a profession-excessive six video games due to a concussion and calf damage. Collins didn’t play in any respect due to hip surgical procedure.
Because of their significance to the Cowboys’ line, all three had been held out of the aggressive drills within the offseason program. Instead, they labored principally off to the facet with the Cowboys’ energy and conditioning workers. They lined up in drills that didn’t have an opposing line of defense, engaged on their cross units and footwork.
“I’m loving the positive vibes. They look great out there,” Dallas coach Mike McCarthy stated. “Tyron, going off last year’s experience, I have never seen him smile as much. A big part of it is he is healthy. He is pain-free. He looks great. LC looks great and the big man can run. … We definitely are a different line when those two guys line up. There is no question about that. It will be great to have them out there on an individual basis [after] what they have gone through last year. It definitely makes our line, our whole process up front, move a lot smoother.”
When McCarthy took the job in January 2020, the Cowboys had what was thought-about the most effective offensive traces in soccer. Then Pro Bowl heart Travis Frederick retired and Smith, Collins and Martin had been injured. The Cowboys had been compelled to make use of 13 completely different offensive line combos a 12 months in the past.
It wasn’t a simple job for the veterans to look at from the sideline.
“You see somebody rough up your quarterback, and me not being able to step in and calm that out, that was tough,” Collins stated. “Any time your team takes the field, and as a true competitor and you’re not out there, it’s always tough. But it really gave me something to look forward to when I came back. It just gave me a lot of motivation and everything that I need to just keep moving forward.”
Added Smith: “Honestly, it just pushed us to be better and just know what we have to get done.”
Smith has had a recurring neck and again problem for the previous few years that brought on him to lose energy in his left arm. He has not performed a full season since 2015. Following the surgical procedure final fall, he stated he feels higher.
“It’s no longer a lingering injury or something I have to worry about,” Smith stated.
Collins’ hip damage was a difficulty he had been coping with over time. It affected his capability to work out final offseason, resulting in extra issues, equivalent to added weight, as he entered coaching camp. He stated he has dropped about 10 kilos and is shifting nice now.
“To be honest with you, I’m just starting to feel like myself again,” Collins stated. “It feels good. I’m working overtime just with treatment and physical therapy to make sure this thing is right, and all the hard work is definitely paying off.”
Martin, the most effective guards within the NFL since arriving because the Cowboys’ 2014 first-spherical draft decide, moved to proper sort out for a spell final season, proving adept in that spot as nicely, however his calf popped in opposition to the Washington Football Team and he missed the ultimate 5 video games.
When coaching camp begins subsequent month, Martin is predicted to be a full participant, together with Smith and Collins.
“That’s definitely a big thing, getting our O-line back, getting a lot of guys we didn’t have — a lot of key guys, like Pro Bowl O-linemen, you know, La’el Collins, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin,” Cowboys operating again Tony Pollard stated. “All three of those guys are big for us.”