Dallas Cowboys: What can Rod Smith contribute to the offense in 2018?
After increased production and performance in 2017, what will running back Rod Smith be able to contribute to the Dallas Cowboys offense this season?
One of the surprising standouts from last season for the Dallas Cowboys was running back Rod Smith.
At the start of last season, Smith was expected to be the teams third running back and primarily be a special teams guy rather than having a legitimate role in the offense.
This all changed once Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games in the middle of the season, and Smith finally got to show off the physical ability that got him to the NFL.
Smith posted very solid production down the stretch of the 2017 season and became Dallas’s most productive running back replacing veteran Alfred Morris.
Smith didn’t run for outstanding overall numbers in the absence of Zeke but what he did do extremely well was get the ball into the end zone.
The Ohio State product scored a touchdown in four of the six games the team was without Elliott and found the end zone twice against the New York Giants.
The play against the Giants where Smith lined up in the slot and was on the end of an 81-yard touchdown pass showed the versatility he can bring to the Dallas offense.
In 2018 Smith will get a considerable less number off carries out of the backfield with Ezekiel Elliott back in the fold, but he did show a knack for getting in the end zone which the Cowboys struggled to do in 2017.
Smith showed in the Giants game that he does have the ability to flex into the slot and be used as a receiver, and the Cowboys will have to do their best to try to get him opportunities to get into the game.
With Dallas also being an extremely run-heavy team, Dallas will need Smith to carry some of the load while Zeke is getting some rest.
Obviously, the team is going to run Elliott 25-30 times a game, but with a team that should be running the ball 35-40 times a game behind the best offensive line in the NFL, Smith should get a decent number of carries in the backup role.
With his physical running nature Rod Smith should be able to feast on opposing defenses late in games when they are run down. If they are able to use him effectively, Smith can be more than just a backup running back for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018.