If the Dallas Cowboys can not figure out how to win without Ezekiel Elliott, then they better find themselves another transcendent running back as a backup.
There is often talk about a NFL team being one dimensional. They can do one thing really well. But when pressed to do something else, they fall apart. But how often do you hear about a team that is too reliant on a single player for their success. Is this the case for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys?
We all know how important a quarterback is to a franchise. And if you lose your starter, your season is likely over. The Cowboys themselves experienced this only two years ago, when starter Tony Romo was limited to four game appearances in 2015 due to two different collarbone injuries. Dallas finished with a 4-12 record that season despite posting a mirror-opposite 12-4 record the year before.
But this season, the 5-6 Cowboys seem all too reliant on running back Ezekiel Elliott. Without Zeke in the lineup, as he is in the midst of serving a six-game suspension for suspected domestic violence, Dallas has lost it’s last three games. All of them in blowout fashion.
Although the losses also coincide with injuries suffered by veteran linebacker Sean Lee and several members of the Cowboys vaunted offensive line, Elliott’s absence seems to be the linchpin to the team’s success. Both offensively and on defense.
Through these losing streak, the Cowboys offense has been historically bad. Scoring in the single digits for three straight losses for the first time in franchise history, Dallas hasn’t been unable generate points despite adequate rushing yardage provided by back-up running backs Alfred Morris and Rod Smith.
Despite the duo averaging nearly 100 yards on the ground per game without Zeke, they appear to be hollow yards. Meaning they are not getting in the end zone on these runs or converting the shorter third downs Elliott did with ease.
In turn, the Cowboys defense is suffering from overexposure. With Dallas’ lackluster offense limping off the field at a far more frequent rate, their young, inexperienced defense runs out of gas after halftime.
In the second half of each of the Cowboys past three losses, Dallas has been outscored a shocking 72-6 by their opponents. And many believe that is due to the absence of one player.
If this is really true, and the fate of America’s Team is that closely tied to Elliott being on the field, than Dallas need to draft a running back in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Why? If Elliott makes a bad decision off the field or gets injured, it appears the Cowboys’ season is in the tank without another transcendent runner in the backfield.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the Dallas Cowboys may need to consider using a high draft pick to double up at the running back position if they can’t figure out a way to win a single game without Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield.