With running back Ezekiel Elliott suspended for the first six games of the season. who will step up to the plate as the Dallas Cowboys workhorse back?
Losing Ezekiel Elliott is a big loss for a Dallas Cowboys team coming into the season with sky- high expectations. They still have a plethora of capable running backs on their roster, but none of them have the overall ability of a guy like Elliott.
The Cowboys have done so well in the past with a workhorse back, so ideally they would want to have a guy that can tote the rock at least 20 times a game. The running back who would seemingly be the most effective in this role is Alfred Morris, who has carried a load for his team before.
Ignore the fact that Morris’ yards-per-carry have dwindled each of the past few years. The problem has been, he hasn’t been able to ‘feast’ like he once did as a full-time starter. Morris is the type of back that needs to establish a rhythm over the course of the game. If he gets thrust into the game for just a few plays, he’s generally ineffective.
And although Morris isn’t necessarily known as a strong receiving back, he can be subbed out for a guy like Darren McFadden on occasional third downs.
Morris certainly showed he still has some burst left in last Thursday’s Hall of Fame game, when he gashed the Cardinals for a beautiful 25-yard scamper. He finished the game with 7 carries for 42 yards.
Ultimately, the Cowboys shouldn’t alter their rushing gameplan too much when Elliott is out. Dating back to when DeMarco Murray was in town, Dallas has managed to have their most success with one guy toting the rock and the occasional third-down sub, as opposed to a running back by committee.
Morris is the lone guy on the roster that has proved he has the ability to do such, as McFadden has been injury prone, Ronnie Hillman’ has mostly split carries, and Rod Smith has been a career backup. It appears to be a no-brainer for Jason Garrett and company, but we’ll have to see how the rest of the preseason plays out.