Buccaneers vs. Cowboys – Game Preview – September 11, 2022

ARLINGTON, Texas — — Tom Brady retired and then returned to Tampa Bay in the offseason before skipping a big chunk of training camp for personal reasons.

Dak Prescott never missed a day while getting into what he considers the best shape he has ever seen.

As Dallas’ star quarterback prepares to face the seven-time Super Bowl winner at home on Sunday night, what a gap!

Prescott is the face for a long-standing franchise that won five championships. However, he was forced to take a 27-year Super Bowl hiatus.

“You definitely have to embrace it,”Prescott stated. “A guy whose resume speaks for itself, who shows up at his age and is still better than most who do this. The greatest to do this, honestly, to play this position.”

Prescott embraced it last year in Tampa. He threw for 403 yards with three touchdowns in a loss of 31-29. Brady had four TD passes and led the Buccaneers to Ryan Succop’s short field goal in final seconds.

Prescott’s performance was after he had missed nearly the entire season due to a strained right shoulder. Prescott felt that he was still recovering from the horrific ankle injury that ended his 2020 season.

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This year, the 29-year-old had no such setbacks, with the exception of his surgically repaired ankle becoming sore in practice Thursday. The QB attributed the issue to a change in his cleats. He was changing his back, but said he was fine to go for the opener.

“I still feel the best that I’ve felt in a very, very long time,”Prescott said that his team lost a wild card game at home to San Francisco last year. “Not even comparable to where I was last year going into this game.”

Brady opened defense against Dallas last season for his seventh title. He was 44 years old when he lost the divisional round to the champion Los Angeles Rams. However, he threw for 5,316 yards in his career and league record.

Brady, who was absent for 11 days during camp due to personal reasons, is now set to be the first 45 year-old starting quarterback in NFL History.

“I’m going out there with a lot of good players,”Brady said. “That’s the best part for me as a competitor. It’s going with a group of teammates you really believe in. It’s not one player they’re dealing with. They’re dealing with all of us.”


Brady’s unretirement was not the only major story of the offseason involving the Bucs, who promoted Todd Bowles from defensive coordinator to coach when Bruce Arians retired and moved into the front office.

The former New York Jets coach also enters the season as a proud college graduate after completing work for a Bachelor of Science degree in youth and community development from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

Bowles began pursuit of the degree the summer before Tampa Bay’s title season of 2020. The 58-year-old finished online courses last week — more than three decades after leaving Temple, where he was a four-year starter under Arians.

“For me, it was a personal thing as far as a promise I made to my mother before she passed that I would go back and get it,”He said. “Sometimes life gets in the way and things come up and you finally put your foot down and you try and do it.”


Both offensive lines face significant questions. The unexpected retirement of Bucs G Ali Marpet, along with injuries that forced C Ryan Jensen to withdraw and LG Aaron Stinnie to leave the roster during training camp, led to the Bucs having significant questions about both offensive lines. Robert Hainsey is now the center and Luke Goedeke, the rookie left guard, will take over as the starter.

“The chemistry will come over time,” Bowles said. “It’s not going to be exact Week 1, but it will be good enough.”

Due to a torn Achilles tendon, the Cowboys will be without eight-time Pro Bowler LT Tyron Smith until December. Tyler Smith, a rookie pick in the first round, will replace him. Connor Williams was free to go to Miami, but LG Connor McGovern will replace him. Undrafted third-year player Terence Steele is the permanent, instead of temporary, replacement at RT for La’el Collins, who was released in a cost-cutting move.


Micah Parsons, a Dallas linebacker, is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He leads a versatile unit that is looking forward to big things under Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator. Last season, the Cowboys were more opportunistic and less dominant than they were last year. They are more focused on the latter this season.

“What I do love about this group is we got a deep crew and we are going to roll hard,” Quinn said.

Quinn won a Super Bowl in Seattle as the coordinator of a defense-first unit. He isn’t ready for the Cowboys to be called a top-five team.

“We will have to see how well we can communicate into that,” Quinn said. “I would rather show what we can be, rather than talk about it.”


Dallas will be the home of CeeDee lamb, its 2020 first-round selection. In a cost-cutting move, CeeDee Lamb will be the No. 1 receiver following Amari Cooper’s offseason trade.

The Cowboys are concerned about depth, but the Bucs are not. Julio Jones joins Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Godwin has just returned from a knee injury but Jones says he’s a good decision for the game.


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