As the Dallas Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott sit an impasse, worry grows because much of the team’s success hinges on this one talented player.
Boosting one of the youngest and most talented rosters in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys are predicted to make some noise this season. Depending on which sports network you watch, the Cowboys are either favored to make the playoffs, win their division or make it all the way to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida.
The main reason the Cowboys are predicted to have a successful season is because it returns a top-10 defense, an All Pro offensive line, a legit wide receiving corps, a game-winning signal caller, and the best running back in the NFL bar none. Is that enough for ya?
Even with all of those alpha dogs on both sides of the ball, the Cowboys need one particular alpha dog do to make their long, awaited Super Bowl dreams come to fruition.
That player is ultra-talented running back Ezekiel Elliott.
And because Dallas’ offense runs through Zeke and they’re depending on Zeke heavily, this dependence is faulty planning and will come back to haunt Dallas if Zeke isn’t available in 2019.
Zeke knows he’s the focal point of the offense and that its not going to operate correctly without him!
To put it more bluntly, Dallas’ success should not rest squarely on the shoulders of one player, even if he’s the best running back in the league and a two-time rushing leader. In today’s NFL, having a Plan B is a must-especially in a pass happy league.
Admittedly, I’m a huge Zeke fan (being a fan since his playing days at Ohio State University) but Dallas’ offense relies so much on Zeke that it’ll be hard to duplicate his success if Zeke misses a lot games. Sadly, Dallas’ offense does not have a Plan B to replace their most lethal weapon.
Dallas’ front office was caught off guard with Zeke wanted to be the highest player running back, but Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones should have had a contingency plan in the event Zeke got injured or held out like he’s doing at the moment.
Having a more than one capable back on the roster would be more than suffice.
One team that had their Plan B in place was the Pittsburgh Steelers. At the end of the 2017 regular season, then running back Le’Veon Bell already had been franchised and was seeking a longer contract with more guaranteed money. The Steelers knew this and were beyond prepared if Bell sat out the season.
The Steelers already had drafted running back James Conner because of Bell’s injury-prone history and suspensions. So when Bell missed the entire 2018 season, the Steelers offense didn’t skip a beat with Conner toting the rock.
As for Dallas, their immediate “Plan B” is to use a combination of Alfred Morris, Tony Pollard, Darius Jackson, and Mike Weber. And I’m not sure if Jackson or Weber will make the team. As good as Pollard has played this preseason, the multi-purpose back is not on Zeke’s level, yet.
I do believe Dallas can win several games without Zeke. I wrote an article explaining how Dallas can win without Zeke. However, asking Dallas to win a Super Bowl without Zeke will be a tall mountain to climb unless something miraculously happens.
Site expert Reid Hanson explained how Dallas can win without Zeke. It’s a great read and makes sense on how Dallas can put together a Super Bowl winning season.
Dallas would not be in this position if the team had a diverse and creative offense that incorporated different schemes tailored to the players’ skill set. Instead, Dallas has always used Zeke as its bell cow-handing him the ball 25 times or more and sprinkling in receptions.
That’s plenty of touches for any running back.
To avoid a Zeke dependency moving forward, Dallas needs to develop a system where they can plug in any running back, wide receiver, and tight end to be successful. Even if teams feature a premier running back like Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley, they don’t lean solely on Gurley. Heck, as good as Gurley is the Rams’ offense doesn’t completely center around him. Gurley’s talent makes him more of a luxury in an offensive system that benefits the skill position players.
Head coach Sean McVay made sure of that.
That’s why Gurley’s backup, C.J. Anderson, was so successful after Gurley’s injury (remember how Anderson ripped through the Cowboys’ defense in the playoffs and had an outstanding postseason).
Maybe offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will develop a system that spreads the ball around and not be so heavily dependent on one specific player. In today’s NFL, a player of Zeke’s ilk should be utilized to his fullest capabilities because he’s so talented, but be more of a luxury than the center piece of the offense.
More from Dallas Cowboys
- Dallas Cowboys Linebackers: 2023 Position Overview
- Ballhawk University: Why the Cowboys will be takeaway leaders
- Dallas Cowboys Player to Watch: Sleeper TE John Stephens, Jr.
- Dallas Cowboys: The impact of Micah Parsons and a well-rounded secondary
- Dallas Cowboys still unsure about their left guard position for 2023
In the event said player is not available, the offense continues to dominant and win games. Period.
In an era where the running back position is devalued, Dallas decided to draft a generational talent, run their offense through him, behind an All Pro offensive line, watch him collect rushing titles, and then decide not to pay him his worth.
Duh! Zeke knows he’s the focal point of the offense and how its not going to operate to its maximum strength without him!
But their offense is heavily depended on Zeke! What kind of sense does that make? Now Moore must revamp an entire system without Zeke at the last hour!
Hopefully, Reid Hanson’s article will come to fruition and Dallas will shock the world and win it all.
If not, just remember dependency on one player can be faulty.
- Published on 08/22/2019 at 12:45 PM
- Last updated at 08/22/2019 at 06:54 AM