The Cowboys will be without Ezekiel Elliott for the first six games of the 2017 season – appeal pending – but the sky is not falling in Dallas, or at least it shouldn’t be.
The Cowboys still have Darren McFadden, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, and they still have Alfred Morris, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons from 2012-14.
“It’s not like you’re having to run an undrafted free agent out there and an aging veteran that’s seen his better days,” dallascowboys.com analyst Bryan Broaddus said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I felt like they’ve done a nice job to protect themselves. They’re going to have some options here. Is it going to be Ezekiel Elliott? No. But the offensive line is still one of the better ones in the National Football League.”
Dallas has also an array of talent at the skill positions.
“They’re going to lean on Dez Bryant, they’re going to lean on Jason Witten, they’re going to lean on this offensive line, and they’re going to hope that Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden can piece together some quality runs,” Broaddus said. “And then the growth of Dak Prescott from year one to year two, I think you’re going to see the quarterback that you saw in the second half of that playoff game against Green Bay when he was going toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers.
“So those are the positives that they have to look at,” Broaddus continued. “They’re not going to put their heads in the sand. They’re going to figure out a way to continue on, and they’re doing that right now in camp.”
Jerry Jones was confident that Elliott would avoid suspension, but that wasn’t the case. Broaddus said that Jones is similar to Al Davis in that he always stands by his players – both in good times and in bad.
“In his heart, I guarantee you he believed what information was presented to him, that the NFL would have a hard case to prove,” Broaddus said. “I know for a fact he’s very, very disappointed right now in what’s happened. But they will figure out what they need to do as their next plan of action.”
The Cowboys open the season at home against the Giants on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 10. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. ET.