The Dallas Cowboys will lose star running back Ezekiel Elliott for a good chunk of the season after all. The appeals court recently ruled against Elliott, meaning he will have to serve the six-game suspension the NFL imposed to Elliott prior to the season for his domestic abuse accusation.
As Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams notes, the Cowboys will now have to rely on a running back by committee with Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith in Elliott’s absence.
While losing a back of Elliott’s caliber will be a blow to most teams, the Cowboys are better equipped than most to cope. Apart from their capable running back options, Dallas still has one of the best offensive lines in the league, one that can make just about any back look better.
Morris and McFadden are experienced backs who have each put up multiple 1,000-yard seasons and know how to carry a heavy workload. However, they won’t have to in Dallas as they will likely share the majority of the carries.
Morris will be relatively fresh after getting limited touches playing behind Elliott. McFadden will have even more gas in the tank after being inactive for the first five games of the year.
Smith is the unknown quantity among the three, although he will also likely have a part to play as a third-down back due to his ability as a pass-catcher.
The Cowboys will almost surely suffer some sort of a dropoff without an elite back like Elliott. But they can minimize the damage if they can effectively utilize their running back committee.