Cowboys have Plan B at running back, but they would miss Ezekiel Elliott

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The Cowboys signed Darren McFadden as their feature running back in 2015 after letting DeMarco Murray walk in free agency. Their thinking was they could put any decent runner behind the league’s best offensive line and be fine.

Although McFadden rushed for 1,089 yards, the Cowboys signed Alfred Morris last offseason and drafted Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick. Using comedian Bill Engvall’s line, “Here’s your sign.”

As Elliott led the league in rushing, coach Jason Garrett repeatedly declared, “The runner matters.”

Now, with Elliott facing a possible suspension, the Cowboys may have to turn back to McFadden at least temporarily. Considering McFadden’s age and injury history, Alfred Morris’ value just increased. McFadden, who turns 30 next month, has missed 42 games in nine seasons, including 13 last year after elbow surgery. He has played a full 16-game season only twice — in 2014 and 2015.

Morris was on the trade block for much of the offseason, and it seemed unlikely after the offseason program that Morris would make the roster in 2017. Since Morris doesn’t play special teams, it was a better bet the Cowboys would keep McFadden, fullback Keith Smith and Rod Smith. Rod Smith got more offensive snaps than Morris in the offseason practices.

But with the NFL looking into multiple incidents involving Elliott, the Cowboys are bracing to be without their star running back at least temporarily. Although it remains unknown how long an Elliott suspension might be or when the league might announce it, the Cowboys open with the Giants, Broncos, Cardinals and Rams. Those teams all ranked in the top 10 in total defense last season with the Giants tied for third against the run, the Broncos 28th against the run, the Cardinals ninth against the run and the Rams 16th against the run.

Elliott, with his 354 touches last season, was involved in 35 percent of the Cowboys’ plays and expected to play an even bigger role this season. If Elliott misses any time, Dak Prescott likely will take on more responsibility with McFadden and Morris as the runners.

Morris, though, has three 1,000-yard seasons in his five-year career and should have fresh legs after getting only 72 touches last season.

13 responses to “Cowboys have Plan B at running back, but they would miss Ezekiel Elliott

  1. Another NFL super athlete who’s going to piss away millions and millions of dollars because he can’t follow the rules of society.

    There’s always “that guy” we all just shake our head at and wonder why…🙄.

  2. The “Boys” would be wise to keep a reliable guy as a Plan B, that guy that wears #21 will be out of the league within a few years if he continues the path he is on. Common sense doesn’t come easy for that guy. #ZekeTheSlowLeak

  3. It’s just a matter of time before Jerrah speaks, he just can’t help himself.

  4. Alfred Morris would be a much better “early down” option than McFadden, and McFadden would be a much better 3rd-down/passing down back.

    These two actually would form a pretty good RB committee if Zeke faces a suspension this year.

  5. Man I love my cowboys but this dude’s really starting to piss me off I have four kids a house and truck that’s all paid off and I feel like the richest guy on Earth although I’m not rich at all this dude is a millionaire got the world by the balls and can’t keep his nose clean time to grow up zeke

  6. Refresher: Darren McFadden was NOT signed as Dallas’s feature RB in 2015. The team signed him to be the Plan B to Joe Randle, with the hope that a talented rookie could be drafted at the right spot of the draft. The team never saw the right RB at the right spot, and then after getting off to a solid start (despite a tough schedule and injuries to Romo and Bryant) Randle then suffered a minor injury and began a slide into sad literal insanity. McFadden then took the starting job by default and did fairly well with it.

  7. When mentioning McFadden and the 1,000 yards, that was back in 2014 when the quarterbacks were Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel, and Kellen Moore…not exactly a stellar group of qb’s. Dak Prescott is already better those 3.

  8. The line lost to key players and is not going to be the same. Don’t get me wrong they are still a great line but they are NOT going to be as great as last year’s line was. THAT IS JUST A DACT.

  9. He shows every trait of a gay male. Macho, tough, and unable to hide his hatred for Women. It will soon come to light. Other than that, he can compete in Sports. Another trait.

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