The Dallas Cowboys need to find a new workhorse

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back Alfred Morris
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Running back Alfred Morris /

The Dallas Cowboys are going with a running back by committee while Ezekiel Elliott serves a six-game suspension, but that could change soon enough.

After a painstaking appeals process, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will finally serve his league-mandated six-game suspension and the Cowboys will have to find a way to replace his monstrous production.

For the time being, Dallas is going to roll with Alfred Morris as their starter, with Rod Smith and Darren McFadden also garnering some touches. It appears Dallas is going to go with a running back by committee, at least until a hot hand develops.

While all three backs appear capable of shouldering the load for the ‘Boys, they’ll be better off following the system that’s worked for them the past several seasons– finding a workhorse back to ride for the game.

This dates back to pre-Elliott days when DeMarco Murray was churning out tough yards on his way to becoming the Cowboys’ all-time single-season rushing leader. The same was true the following year, albeit, a lost year, after Tony Romo went down. McFadden took over for an ineffective Joseph Randle as a starter, and despite only staring 12 games, managed to garner the fourth most rushing yards of any back in the NFL that season.

The following season, the Cowboys selected Elliott with the fourth overall pick, and immediately gave their rookie a whopping 322 carries en route to a 13-3 record.

Other than their mostly Romo-less 2015 season, the Dallas Cowboys have found great success on the ground when they’re utilizing one every down back. In the Cowboys balanced, zone rushing scheme, it’s important for the lead back to develop a rhythm running the football.

The Cowboys don’t have a multi-faceted running back on the roster like Elliott, but then again, what team does? Elliott is a special talent, and it’s going to take multiple pieces to replace his outstanding production.

However, the Cowboys will most likely fare better if they eventually settle on a single runner to gobble up most of their carries. It’s worked for them in season’s past, and this year will be no different.

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That being said, someone is going to have to separate themselves from the pack. If Either Morris, Rod Smith or McFadden proves they can run between the tackles, pass block, and catch passes out of the backfield, one of them should be able to take full reigns of the starting running back position, and become the workhorse back Dallas needs.