Writer: Garrett Shadwick
As everyone knows, Ezekiel Elliott has an ongoing fight with the NFL about being suspended due to Domestic Violence allegations. Twice the league has suspended him for 6 games and twice Zeke has obtained an appeal to postpone the suspension to keep playing. While Zeke is not ready to back down on the fight against the NFL, there is still the question “Do the cowboys stand a chance without star running back Ezekiel Elliott?” The answer is yes.
While Zeke was the leading rusher in the NFL last year with 1,631 rushing yards, it’s important to remember why those yards were possible, the offensive line. I am in no way discrediting Zeke’s rushing ability, between him pushing his way through a pile, to his speed and agility in the open field there’s no question he’s a great back, but it’s important to remember why those big boys up front make good money. Current Tennessee Titans running back Demarco Murray ran for 1,845 yards with the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. Again, Murray is a great back, but the very next year in Philadelphia he ran for only 702 yards. This is all to show that while having an elite running back is a great weapon, having a pass threat and a good offensive line can make a world of difference.
Now having established that the Cowboys still have a great offensive line and passing threat, let’s look at who will be replacing Murray if the suspension sticks. The Cowboys will play with Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris rotating out to lay down the running game. While they may be Zeke’s backups, they both have experience as starters, McFadden with the Raiders and Morris with the Redskins. From 2012 to 2014, Morris had over 1,000 rushing yards for each season. McFadden had over 1,000 rushing yards in 2015 with the Dallas Cowboys. Clearly both backs can handle the job.
The Dallas Cowboys will certainly miss having Zeke around, no question about it, but they won’t be completely lost without him. With the great offensive line, dual threat quarterback, good receiving core and 2 backs who have starting seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards the Cowboys are still in good hands. No doubt the Cowboys may lose a game that they may have won if they had Zeke, but either way America’s Team will carry on.