How Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension changes the Dallas Cowboys in 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on prior to a a presason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 12: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on prior to a a presason game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

While the Dallas Cowboys wait to see how Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal plays out, let’s examine the Boys without the superstar for six games.

I have to admit, I checked my pulse after I heard it was six games. Now, remember this: I was all for a suspension to save Ezekiel Elliott now before it was too late.

The Dallas Cowboys, or more importantly, owner Jerry Jones, wouldn’t supply the necessary medicine Zeke needed, so that left the NFL to provide some care.

It turns out, sadly, that the NFL misread the label and provided too much care. This is what we call an overdose. Six games? Six! Are you kidding?

This was nothing more than selecting a marquee player from a marquee franchise and making an example of him. Way to throw your weight around, Mr. Roger Goodell.

This suspension — however long it is — changes things. It changes things a whole bunch. And in my eyes, the change aren’t good, so stop reading now if you can’t carry the sadness.

The Dallas Cowboys lucky to start the season above .500?

Initially, I had the Cowboys going 6-2 to boot the year. Now, things feel different. Don’t forget: America’s Team has a very difficult 2017 to begin with.

I see the Boys falling to the Broncos in week 2, and the follow week when they visit the Cardinals. They win against the Rams at home, then face the Packers where things might break at AT&T Stadium.

Does Ezekiel Elliott matter much? Absolutely. Other writers and analysts say no problem. I say there is a problem. You just can’t void Zeke’s talent and caliber.

A Giant mistake

Well, let me tell you my early prediction for week 1. Dallas over New York, 27-17. Unfortunately, this was my prediction before Elliott’s suspension.

Not only do I see a messy Cowboys, it wouldn’t surprise me if the team loses to their rival and fall the following two games.

0-3? Yes, yes it can happen my friend.

A line that can’t straighten or strengthen

I’m still not confident about the left guard and right tackle spots. I certainly would feel better had at least the Cowboys kept one of the two offensive lineman in Ronald Leary or Doug Free.

But, as you know, they are bye-bye.

So, how does this hurt Elliott? You’d like to see the star running back develop, under real game minutes, with his teammates who are protecting him. Remember, Zeke struggled the first two games in the NFL.

Though, after he found his flow, history was made. Champagne bottles were opened. For now, though, those bottles may have to wait until mid-season.

What’s Dak got to do with it?

Of course, the football world is waiting for a sophomore slump out of Dak Prescott. And while the schedule strength plays against the quarterback, I felt all along that he was smart enough and capable enough to kick through the walls.

Things are a little different now, wouldn’t you say? Running backs share the spotlight with the quarterback. They help block, provide an outlet in the flat, and help the offense run supreme. Oh, Zeke and Dak happen to be best buds too.

The heat on Dak was already set to high. The notch, unfortunately, just went even higher.

Alfred Morris + Darren McFadden = Zeke?

I think Morris and McFadden are good running backs. They are not great, not great like Zeke. I don’t mean to mess up your nerves, but this is the truth. The other running back numbers won’t equal the production Zeke can put out.

And for this, Dak and the rest of the offense will suffer. Elliott covered up a lot of blemishes by holding the ball, which allowed the team to win out on the clock.

The defense

When the Cowboys selected Zeke fourth overall in 2016, they basically drafted a gifted runner for the offense but more importantly, a Band-Aid for the defense. Now, the defenders, which is made up of several new names, must overcompensate.

Remember how Dak and Zeke struggled a bit the first two games? The Cowboys, made up of rookie defensive backs and defensive lineman, will have to grow up fast if the offense can’t swallow the ball for an extra minute or two.

This won’t be a bad thing, though. Xavier Woods is flashing his light in preseason. I’m still very excited about Chidobe Awuzie at the cornerback spot. Taco Charlton could relieve stress at the defensive end spot.

And don’t forget all the returning players who the Cowboys stole in last year’s draft.

Next: Seven Dallas Cowboys that shined against the Rams

Fired up fan base

If the suspension holds up to six games, or even four, I wonder how fired up the fan base will be. Let’s take it a step further — I wonder how fired up the Dallas Cowboys will be. Maybe this will put a chip on the organization’s shoulder.

Maybe they’ll play harder.

You know how it goes. Take a shot at one of ours and we’ll take a shot at you.