Barry Church: Ezekiel Elliott “helps out the defense a lot”

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The Cowboys are reportedly talking to veteran linebacker Justin Durant about a return to the team to help them cover for the absence of suspended starter Rolando McClain this season, although that’s just one of the holes they’ll need to plug on defense early in the season.

While McClain is serving his 10-game suspension, defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence will be banned for four games and the team is unlikely to find enough players on the street to eliminate the downside of losing what safety Barry Church calls “three key, key slices” of the unit. That’s not to say that Church thinks all is lost, however.

Church is buying into Jerry Jones’ assertion that the selection of running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick will be a boon to the defense because the offense can get back to the long drives that made things work so well for the Cowboys in 2014.

“He’s definitely a three-tool player that can just play on every single down,” Church said on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Tom Pelissero and Erik Coleman. “And it helps out the defense a lot. It takes up our play downs by a lot. That also happened in 2014 when we had DeMarco Murray. He was punishing defenses and we were three-and-out here, three-and-out there and we were fresh in the fourth quarter. That’s how we won all of our games, by getting takeaways in the fourth quarter, but that was because we were fresh. Hopefully, we can get back to that same formula, where we’re just grounding and pounding people and then we’re just coming in there and cleaning things up. So we’ll see what happens, but he has all the talent in the world.”

That 2014 defense came into the year with plenty of doubts, but they held up well thanks in large part to the success of the offense. It looks like the route to wins in Dallas will be a similar one this year.

29 responses to “Barry Church: Ezekiel Elliott “helps out the defense a lot”

  1. hey barry, you on the other hand don’t help the defense a lot….kinda ironic huh?

  2. I know when my team needs help on defense, I pray that they choose a RB to fix things. only a GM who is also the owner can get away with idiotic philosophies like these. Now his players are buying into it too. I guess they have to believe in something!

  3. The Cowboys essentially permanently suspended Hardy (rightfully so) and now the league suspends 2 more of their DEs. Great that they anticipate an improved running game, but the teams they play will have running and passing games too. The Boys will be interesting to watch this year.

  4. Barry Church: Ezekiel Elliott “helps out the defense a lot”

    Can he sack a quarterback?

  5. I hope Durant comes back, I loved him. Wish he would have never left. Still no idea whats gonna happen on our D-Line. Cant pressure QB, makes it very hard to win big games.

  6. How about we see 1 piece of film on Elliott playing in the NFL before we start with all this. Kijana Carter, Ron Dayne, the list goes on and on.

  7. Yeah, the RB will fix a bad D. And I’m the Pope!
    Todd Gurley was a great rookie RB and the Rams had a good D – and a 7-9 record.

  8. Too bad there isn’t a safe way for fans to bet on their teams on line. I would love to bet on the Skins against the boys week two. I don’t feel like going to Vegas just to place a bet. A tip to Boy fans: Don’t bet on your team week #2, they are going to loose.

  9. Can he play at least one down in the NFL before we keep hearing about him every 5 minutes?

    At least point Im hoping hes the next trent richardson. The hype machine has got to stop

  10. r8rsfan says:
    Jul 11, 2016 11:10 AM
    How about we see 1 piece of film on Elliott playing in the NFL before we start with all this. Kijana Carter, Ron Dayne, the list goes on and on.
    You make a good point, but Ron Dayne never had the chance to start more than 8 games in an NFL season as he was drafted by the Giants and backing up Tiki Barber. Despite that, he still had four seasons with over 700 yards, and lasted 7 seasons averaging 4-5 yards per carry in his final 3 seasons.

    If there was a betting capability on PFT I would be very comfortable wagering that Zeke finishes the seasons with more rushing yards and touchowns than Latavius Murray

  11. Elliott helps extend drives so defense stays fresh. Really nothing tricky about the thought process.

  12. The lack of understanding by some posters here is predictable. When a team wins time of possession battle it wins 75% of the time. Controlling the ball is essentially a function of running the football. While Elliott has never played in the NFL, and I agree with, as Parcells put it, those who want to ‘put away the anointing oil’ on Elliott what they can’t argue is that Dallas has a tremendous O- line and Elliott is a truly talented player. Even if he is just marginal, I am sure that we all agree that Morris is not as he does have a body of work to draw from.

    In short, a ball control offense can help a defense. Is it a panacea? No, but the story was about ‘helping’ the defense.

    For the record, Dallas’ defense ranked middle to lower middle of the road on D last year, while at the bottom of some big categories like turnovers. If that just regresses to the mean, it would make the D serviceable. Dallas was a top team in ’14 in turnovers when they controlled the clock, rock bottom when they didn’t. You decide.

  13. I`ve already decided……The Cowboys are very over rated….And that defense is stinking already and the season has`nt even started yet!!!!

  14. How did we win 14 games 2 years ago and lets face it were unstoppable until the refs took us out in GB……Run the rock and we might go 16-0 and win 2 consecutive SB’s.


  15. So instead of getting better personnel on the defensive side of the ball, the solution is that teams should all draft Oline and runningbacks to hide their defense on the sidelines. Got it

  16. jerryyouradisgrace says:
    Jul 11, 2016 10:57 AM
    The real key is Romo…lose him and the whole house of cards comes down


    I’m no Romo guy – but this is absolutely true. The Cowboys are at minimum, very competitive when he plays. When he doesn’t, they’re terrible. Simple as that. Of course, you can say this with any team when they lose a good quarterback. The point is he perhaps doesn’t get enough credit for how good he is.

  17. Agreed about Romo.

    This team is one serious hit away from being winless.

    And you know that the three teams in that division are going to go all out to remove that clown from the lineup. Mr. Regular season is the chokemeister of the first order and now he is so fragile that he’s lucky to be able to take a snap without going on IR.

  18. boysroll says:
    Jul 11, 2016 4:19 PM
    How did we win 14 games 2 years ago and lets face it were unstoppable until the refs took us out in GB……Run the rock and we might go 16-0 and win 2 consecutive SB’s.

    I’ll take two of whatever he’s having.

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