The Cowboys don’t know whether they will have Ezekiel Elliott for the season opener. So with the Giants coming to town in 10 days, the Cowboys are preparing to play without him.
“Yeah, I mean, we’ve been preparing for that,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said of Elliott’s holdout continuing into the season. “That’s why we brought Alfred in. As we’ve said, we’ve been so pleasantly surprised, Pollard has been even better than we expected. We’re very comfortable with what we have there.
“. . .We’re comfortable with that group if that’s what it is. Obviously, we’re still going to be doing everything we can to do something with Zeke.”
The Cowboys’ tone has changed in recent days. Earlier in the offseason, they expressed optimism at getting a deal done before Sept. 8. Now, they seem to be steeling themselves for Elliott’s absence to continue into the regular season.
Although the Cowboys list Darius Jackson as the starter on their depth chart, the job belongs to Pollard until Elliott returns. Pollard had a career-high 117 touches last season at Memphis, which is only 8.3 per game. So the Cowboys likely go with a running back by committee.
“[Elliott’s holdout] is why we brought Alfred in. We felt good about that,” Jones said. “Obviously, Pollard is even better than we even expected him being. We’ll be prepared to go to work if that’s what we have to do.”
The Cowboys open with the Giants, Washington and Miami, three games they likely will be favored to win, with or without Elliott.