Say what you will about the value of the running back position, but this offense runs through Zeke. And to think just anyone can be seamlessly plugged into his role is madness. With that said, a Zeke-centric offense is medieval, and the Dallas Cowboys would be better served reducing his touches (both running and receiving) considerably.
Would a more pass-happy attack happen with Zeke here? Probably not. Would it be more likely to happen without him? Yes, we’ve seen it happen when he’s missed games in the past and that’s why the offense was so much more productive without Zeke (31 points per game = 3rd best in the NFL). It positively impacted play-calling.
The worry about Zeke is understandable given the enormous role he’s played on this offense, but the role needs to be reduced in order to achieve maximum output and that’s why Zeke is not my biggest worry heading into the season.
Note: it’s understandable why Zeke is the top concern to many. Those that aren’t eager to embrace analytics see a workhorse that unquestionably drives the offense. And while the mathematicians and gut-feeling folks may never see eye to eye on the running backs position, Zeke’s individual greatness is something all of us can agree on.
The Cowboys are a better team with Zeke than without Zeke. That much is for sure. The argument at hand is how to use him (and how much), which explains why some are more worried about him than others.
Concern level: 4/10