The Dallas Cowboys got some horrible news on Friday regarding the upcoming football season.
The NFL sent shock waves throughout the NFL on Friday!
The NFL’s decision to suspend Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was not a popular one, but the league won’t stop for it. The Cowboys are obviously a better team with Elliott in the back field, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have success with someone else back there.
The Cowboys have a deep group of running backs that they can rely on during the Zeke suspension!
If this suspension is upheld, the Cowboys will need to find his replacement for six games. Luckily for this team, they have one of the better running back committees in the league. Behind Elliott, the Cowboys have Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith, along with recently signed Ronnie Hillman. Three of the four have been starting running backs in this league and can carry the workload, if asked to do so.
So, with the suspension out there, who is the better fit to carry the bigger workload? Will this truly be a committee group during Elliott’s absence? Originally thought of as a dead man walking player, Morris was viewed with one foot out the door, but that is likely not the deal anymore. The Cowboys will need him during this time for both depth and experience.
First, let’s think about what will happen with the appeal that is going to happen. The league will allow Elliott to play, but eventually some sort of punishment will need to be served. I thought the suspension would originally be four games. Elliott would appeal it to get it down to two games. That isn’t the case anymore, with the six-game starting point. With the appeal, I would imagine he can get it down to three or four games. It will be a long drawn out process, but a punishment is almost a guarantee of some sort. I think it would be a miracle to get all six games back.
Morris was thought as a player on the outs. That likely changes with this shocking decision!
So, what do the Cowboys do with those games they will miss their star running back? As odd as it sounds, the man that they thought of leaving this team, might be the man they rely on heavily. Morris is a back that can take the heavy workload during Elliott’s absence, but I feel it will be closer to a committee style ground attack. That would allow McFadden to continue his change of pace back status. I would expect to see a 50-35-15 split between Morris, McFadden, and Smith/Hillman.
Smith is an interesting name to keep an eye on. With his great camp and Hall of Fame game, he could push that 35/15, to a 25/25 split. But he will need to prove it a during the next couple games of preseason, not just the single output he threw out there last Thursday.
Of course, this is my opinion on the matter. Only time will tell what the Cowboys will do in the backfield. One thing we do know is this team has the talent to survive in Elliott’s absence.
It’s not ideal, but the Cowboys should be okay with the running backs they have in house!