Ezekiel Elliott absence would be particularly problematic in September

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If, as some assume, the NFL imposes a short suspension as soon as today on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be livid. For obvious reasons. But Elliott’s absence creates a somewhat non-obvious problem for the Cowboys.

In the first month of each regular season, defenses are routinely ahead of offenses — especially for teams where the offensive lines underwent change. In Dallas, 40 percent of that line is being shuffled around, with La’el Collins sliding to the outside to replace Doug Free at right tackle and guard Ron Leary gone.

So it will take time for the Cowboys to get the offensive line where it eventually will be. And they’ll be facing the Giants and Broncos right out of the gates, teams with potent defenses whose coordinators have had seven months to pick apart quarterback Dak Prescott’s rookie season in search of strategies for stopping him.

Adding to that the potential absence of Ezekiel Elliott, and Prescott could have a mess on his hands to begin his second season, with a work-in-progress wall of blockers and a less-than-optimal running game. Given the way things unfolded for Prescott a year ago, it could be a big deal. As former NFL coach Kevin Gilbride said recently on PFT Live, the dominance of the line allowed Prescott to go through his progressions slowly last year, permitting him to gradually build confidence.

This year, carefully-crafted blitzes and coverages aimed at exploiting flaws in Prescott’s game could change that quickly, with Prescott’s confidence potentially shattering before Elliott gets back on the field.

19 responses to “Ezekiel Elliott absence would be particularly problematic in September

  1. kurdishpats1 says:
    Jul 28, 2017 10:03 AM
    They could have had Jalen Ramsey and Jordan Howard.

    Yes and every single team could have had Antonio Brown 5 times over. Same with Brady. Hindsight 20/20

  2. My prediction on the Cowboys season……

    Sep. 10 vs Giants (W)
    Sep. 17 at Broncos (L)
    Sep. 25 at Cardinals (W)
    Oct. 1 vs Rams (W)
    Oct. 8 at Packers (L)
    Oct 22 at 49ers (W)
    Oct. 29 at Redskins (W)
    Nov. 5 vs Chiefs (L)
    Nov. 12 at Falcons (L)
    Nov. 19 vs Eagles (W)
    Nov. 23 vs Chargers (W)
    Nov. 30 vs Redskins (L)
    Dec. 10th at Giants (L)
    Dec. 17th at Raiders (W)
    Dec. 24th vs Seahawks (L)
    Dec. 31 at Eagles (W)

    ‘Boys come back down to reality this year and go 9-7 and miss the playoffs, if Zeke misses the first 2-4 games I think they’ll go 8-8. They could easily lose to the Raiders or Eagles as well.

  3. ‘boys fans just don’t want to hear it, but Dak is not what they think he is. Will he get better? Probably, but he will not be an elite! “Book it!”

  4. Uh, not really. It just means Zeke will be well rested going into the meat of the season. And any warm body on the roster could run behind that line.

  5. Prescott is going to make a lot people look like fools. Yes it’s great to have all of that talent around but he is hell of a QB.

  6. So to recap…

    1. The woman he allegedly assaulted got caught asking people to lie and say Zeke beat her.

    2. He LEGALLY walked into a legal marijuana dispensary and did not purchase anything.

    3. He was in a bar when a fight broke out and there are no witnesses, video or evidence of his involvement.

    4. He pulled a lady-friend’s top down during a St. Patty Day parade… OK, not a very smart decision but if this had been only a few weeks prior, most of you hypocrites would have been throwing your Mardi Gras beads to them.

    5. The special investigator in charge of the investigation is a LIFELONG Giants season ticket holder and has publicly stated that she has a shrine to the Giants in her home.

    Of those 5 items, I can only find one reason he will be suspended.

  7. Doesn’t matter, Cowboys are a fluke squad run by a clown. They will be lucky to get 8 wins this season.

  8. PRESCOTT will prove people wrong…book it! He will be the NFL’s #1 QB within 5 years

    Amen to that brother.

  9. This article is taking the assumption that the offensive line with 3 All-Pro’s on it is going to “take a step back”. Last year and the year before there was shuffling from year to year and they have maintained being an elite group. Give Tyron Smith, Travis Fredrick, and Zack Martin some credit.

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