Alfred Morris started all 64 of a possible 64 games he could have played during a four-year career in Washington. He has never started a game in his two seasons in Dallas. That changes Sunday when he starts in place of the suspended Ezekiel Elliott.
For weeks, Morris prepared as the starter, not always knowing Elliott’s status until late in the week. But Elliott will not get an 11th-hour reprieve this week. He will miss four games before returning to court.
“Of course I’m excited about [starting],” Morris said, via Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press. “I never know when I’m going to touch the field. Sunday, I have a better idea at least how it’s going to start the game off. We’ll see how everything plays out. Of course I’m excited to get more snaps and more carries, get more opportunities to help my team win.”
Morris, who has three 1,000-yard seasons, has played only 163 snaps in two seasons with the Cowboys and carried the ball only 83 times.
Darren McFadden, who has two career 1,000-yard seasons, also should have fresh legs. He has played only 48 snaps the past two seasons, missing 13 games last season after elbow surgery and being inactive every game this season.
“It’s one of those things of people knew eventually something was going to happen with this situation,” McFadden said of Elliott’s suspension. “It happened this week. For us, we’re going to come together as a team and just go out there and ball.”
The Cowboys had Morris on the trade block before Elliott’s suspension Aug. 11. Once Elliott was suspended, the Cowboys began planning for the possibility that Elliott would have to serve part or all of his six-game suspension this season.
But Elliott’s absence forces the Cowboys to go from a feature back to a running back by committee. Morris will share carries with Rod Smith and McFadden, with Morris unlikely to play on obvious passing downs.
“I’ve treated every single day like I have the past six years,” Morris said. “Nothing changes for me. It’s just, ‘OK, it’s another start. OK, it’s fine.’ Nothing changes for me. The ups and downs, they really didn’t matter to me. So nothing changes.”