At some point, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension was supposed to be enforced, and Dallas has been preparing for it. That moment has come, as the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the injunction which allowed the running back to play for the Cowboys. Now Elliott is about to serve the six-game suspension NFL came up with in late August because the player violated league’s personal conduct policy.
The real question here is what the Dallas Cowboys will do. They currently have a 2-3 score and are into their bye week. So far, Dallas has struggled with Elliott as one of the best runners in the entire NFL, so who is going to replace him in the games to come?
Although the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers, Elliott proved his worth with 85 yards on 13 carries in the final quarter. In the first three quarters, Zeke recorded just 31 yards on 16 carries but exploded in the last one putting the Cowboys in the position to win the match. However, despite good yardage and satisfactory games, Elliott has struggled, and Dallas’ running game has not been on the expected level. They were relying on the opposing defenses to get tired, but that hasn’t happened, especially early in the season.
Some of the possible replacements for the All-Pro running back are Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith. Each of these players is weaker, slower and less powerful than Elliott, but is their collective effort the key to success? Perhaps Dallas will turn to all three running backs to help them advance on the offense, and they must transform from a one-man squad in the backfield to the three-man team. Just to mention that Zeke has had 105 out of 115 carries for the Dallas so far.
Alfred Morris is an experienced running back with three 1,000-yard seasons, which he had while he was a member of the Washington Redskins back in 2012-14. So far for Dallas, Morris has recorded 87 total yards, 70 out of which were in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He hasn’t got the right chance, but he can only run the ball, and Prescott cannot count on him as a passing target.
On the other hand, Darren McFadden was supposed to be the first replacement to Elliott in case the suspension had been enforced at the beginning of the season. Even though Elliott played for the Cowboys, McFadden was not his replacement – he was inactive in the first five games, which came as a surprise. This guy struggled with the broken elbow before, but he proved that he could be a threat with multiple 100-yard games back in 2015. He has the experience and knowledge to run and handle several other roles.
Last but not least, we don’t know what to expect from Rod Smith. In his career, he has had 13 yards on four carries. Also, last year, he was a fullback for the Cowboys, but if he gets the starting position, he will power his way through the defense and catch the ball effectively. However, lack of experience is the downside.
After all, it is up to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to see what the best solution is. He is going to play all three of them and combine things. Perhaps switching between running backs can lift the Cowboys’ running game back to the higher level. This season has been a nightmare for the fans of the America’s Team because Elliot has 393 yards on 105 carries, which is just 3.7 yards per carry. It will be interesting to watch what the Dallas Cowboys’ running game is going to look like in the upcoming matches. If the running game becomes even worse, Dallas might end up having a disastrous season!