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Dallas Cowboys: Is More Youth Behind Ezekiel Elliott Needed?

Brian Martin

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Do Cowboys Need More Youth Behind Ezekiel Elliott?

The Dallas Cowboys are already deep at the running back position and carrying more RBs on their 53-man roster than they normally do, but I think an influx of youth behind Ezekiel Elliott is needed.

Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris have noticeably lost a step, but are expected to carry the workload if Ezekiel Elliott has to serve a suspension or goes down with an injury at some point during the season. Neither is a bad option, but both players aren't spring chickens anymore.

Darren McFadden has had a long list of injuries throughout his NFL career and I don't know about you, but every time he takes a big hit I cringe. Plus, it's doubtful he returns after the 2017 season, which means the Cowboys will need to find another backup RB.

Alfred Morris is likely only on the roster still because of the uncertainty still surrounding Ezekiel Elliott. Morris would likely have been a roster cut, and like McFadden, he doesn't have a future with the Cowboys.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking. The Dallas Cowboys still have Rod Smith on the roster, but if they were comfortable with him as Elliott's backup, they likely wouldn't have kept Alfred Morris around.

Keeping all of that in mind, I think there are two current free agent running backs that the Dallas Cowboys should seriously consider bringing in for not only the 2017 season, but for the future as well.

RB Jonathan Williams

RB Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams

Just about everybody thought that Jonathan Williams would be the RB2 behind LeSean McCoy, but the Buffalo Bills obviously thought otherwise. Williams ended up being one of the Bills roster cuts so that they could get down to their final 53-man roster. It was a surprising move to many, but it could work out in the Cowboys favor.

Williams was a 2016 fifth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills. He played collegiately at Arkansas and had a pretty good, although injury plagued collegiate career. He played in 11 games last season in Buffalo and ended the year with 27 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown.

I believe Williams would make a good backup RB behind Ezekiel Elliott. He has good size for the position (6'0", 223) and the skill set to be a three down back in the NFL. He has loose hips and nimble feet to go along with outstanding lateral movement to sidestep defenders. Despite what his size would suggest, he is a good slashing back and is a dependable receiver out of the backfield.

Jonathan Williams could be an upgrade behind Elliott and would help stabilize the position for years to come. If I'm the Dallas Cowboys I would at least have him in for a workout and kick the tires so to speak.

*Update: Jonathan Williams signed to the Denver Broncos practice squad

RB Jeremy Langford

RB Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford

It wasn't long ago that Jeremy Langford looked to be the starting RB of the future for the Chicago Bears. But, after an injury plagued 2016 season, he found himself among the Bears final roster cuts. He is now a free agent just waiting for his phone to ring. Could the Dallas Cowboys be on the other end of the phone?

I personally think Langford would be best served as a backup RB in the NFL and that is exactly what he would be as a member of the Cowboys. The former fourth-round draft pick by Chicago still possesses some intriguing tools to entice the Cowboys to possibly bring him aboard.

Langford was a WR before converting to running back in college and he does possess breakaway speed (4.42 40 yard dash). He's not the most physical runner, but he doesn't shy away from contact either. He is solid in pass protection, and as you can imagine, he has natural receiving ability.

Jeremy Langford could be the third down/receiving type RB the Cowboys currently don't have on the roster. I think he would be an upgrade as a backup RB and be a solid starter if he was thrust into action. But, who knows if the Dallas Cowboys feel the same way.

*Update: Jeremy Langford signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice

Do you think the Cowboys need youth at the backup RB position?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. DoubleCraven

    September 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I think its a little early to be talking about more youth. This is probably Morris last season here, but he’s looked really good in the preseason. Dmac has one year left on his contract. Don’t forget we had Ronnie Hillman too. He was only 25. So I don’t think youthing the position is a priority right now for the staff. Seems to me they are taking a wait and see approach with the Zeke suspension first. I’m pretty confident the three Rbs we have can be effective. Having said that, I think they will look to the late rounds next draft to add someone.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 5, 2017 at 10:42 am

      McFadden and Morris didn’t look terribly bad in the preseason, but neither looked all that explosive. The Cowboys currently don’t have that element behind Elliott at the RB position. Hillman could have been that player, but he didn’t really receive very many opportunities. It’s doubtful that anything changes, but they could use a younger player with fresher legs to back up Elliott IMO.

  2. Randy Martin

    September 5, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Both McFadden and Morris are on the last year of their contracts and I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them gone after this year. So obviously there will be additions through the draft and perhaps even a FA move. Jonathan Williams was on his rookie contract and it seems very odd that Buffalo just cast him off…but it is Buffalo. He only rushed for 94 yards on 27 carries his rookie year so a lot to be desired. He has cleared waivers but I don’t see them doing anything this year. I want to see what we really have in Rod Smith. He runs angry and I like what I’ve seen. A guy I was interested in, thought again the timing isn’t right was Alex Collins, but like Langford both have been picked up and on practice squads. Something will happen next year.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 5, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      I completely agree with you. Nothing will probably happen this year, but like you said McFadden and Morris are longshots to return next season. I also really like Rod Smith and would like to see more of him. Maybe he gets a shot next off-season. I was high on Alex Collins as well. Both Collins and Langford are on the ravens practice squad right now and can be poached away at any time. The future of the backup RB position is really what concerns me the most, not so much their current situation.

  3. Will

    September 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Mc and Mo can handle the backup job this season. Both are gone in 2018, and a cheap vet and low round rookie/undrafted free agent will occupy those spots

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      September 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      That is the likely scenario, but I wouldn’t mind going ahead and getting a head start if there is an upgrade available.

  4. Javier Enrique Zetina Pinelo

    September 6, 2017 at 1:56 am

    tenemos como agente libre a alvin kamara le daria otra dimencion a la ofensiva

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Star Blog

3 Things We Learned About The Dallas Cowboys In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

Coming into the 2018 season, loads of questions surrounded the Dallas Cowboys and the future of their roster.

Could their defense stay intact when the annual Sean Lee injury occurred? Was Kris Richard going to lead the Cowboys young secondary to places we thought they could be? And would Dak Prescott earn a contact extension and become the official franchise quarterback of America's Team.

Of course, there are tons of other questions that may have gone unanswered, but these three critical areas seem to find clarity in 2018.

Leighton Vander Esch And Jaylon Smith Are Legit

The Dallas Cowboys caught a lot of flack for their selection both of these linebackers, each for different reasons.

When they snagged Jaylon Smith in the second round of the 2016 draft, it was still unknown to the public if Smith could ever even play football again. When they took Leighton Vander Esch 19th overall last April, fans questioned how valuable an off-ball linebacker would be on a defense that already had Sean Lee.

Well, after their first full season together, it's easy to say that both Vander Esch and Smith are the linebacker options of the future in Dallas. Named to the Pro Bowl during his rookie season, Vander Esch took the world by storm in 2018. When Lee went down, he was there to not only fill his shoes, but to outplay the veteran all year long.

What is fun to consider is that as good as Vander Esch was this season, Jaylon Smith might be even better. Both posses insane sideline to sideline pursuit ability, and are some of the surest tacklers in all of football.

Watching these two grow together will be a pleasure over the coming seasons.

Their Young Secondary Is Coming Together

Like their linebackers, the Dallas Cowboys secondary is a young group, who fans are excited to watch grow throughout the years. It seemed like more pressure sat on the shoulders of young cornerbacks Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie than of Smith and Vander Esch, however.

With Kris Richard joining the staff and making the decision to move Jones to cornerback full time, it was do-or-die for the former first round pick. Byron Jones answered all the doubters, earning not only a Pro Bowl selection but also First Team All Pro honors for his performance.

Opposite him, Awuzie had a rough start to his sophomore campaign. While typically right there in coverage, wide outs too often made contested catches over him. Over the final few weeks of the year, however, that changed and Awuzie played some of the best football yet.

Xavier Woods, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis (in much fewer snaps) all had fantastic seasons as well, giving the Cowboys great hope and confidence in their secondary moving forward. They may need to add another safety during the offseason, however, though Jeff Heath remains more than just a viable option.

Dak Prescott Is Here To Stay

Whether or not you think it's justified, Dak Prescott is the quarterback of the future in Dallas. And he earned that right the back-half of 2018 and during the postseason. After a shaky start to his 3rd season, Prescott turned things around nicely, leading the Cowboys to a 7-1 finish to the regular season.

Prescott played the best football of his young career down the stretch, and showed just how valuable he is both on the field and in the locker room. It seemed like every game he made 2-3 winning plays that put the Cowboys over the top that afternoon.

Dak is going to get a contract extension, and will be locked in as a Cowboy for the foreseeable future, and with the way he played the final 10 games of his season, I can't second guess this decision much at all.



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Jason Garrett Can’t be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?

Brian Martin

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Jason Garrett Can't be Serious About Retaining Scott Linehan, Can He?

One of the few positives most of us were looking forward to after the Dallas Cowboys Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams was the fact that Scott Linehan would no longer be the offensive coordinator for America's Team. Everything was pointing to his dismissal, but that may not be the case according to Head Coach Jason Garrett.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Jason Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan that offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will return in 2019. "We don't anticipate any significant changes on our staff," Garrett said.

I can't say that I was happy upon learning Jason Garrett plans on retaining Scott Linehan as the Cowboys OC in 2019. In fact, my first thought was… Well, something better left unsaid. I'm sure many of you can kind of read my mind, because I'm pretty positive you had all that the same thoughts running through your head as well.

In all honesty, I didn't think there was a snowball chance in hell Scott Linehan would return to Dallas after the conclusion of the 2018 season. After all, the Cowboys nearly fired him during the bye week earlier this season, meaning his job security was already on thin ice. He didn't do anything to improve things in my opinion.

I know Jason Garrett has said Scott Linehan will return as the OC in 2019, but not for a second do I believe it. We are less than 72 hours hours removed from the Cowboys exit from the playoffs and I highly doubt any of Dallas' decision-makers has had the time to sit down and discuss who stays and who goes. In fact, I know they haven't.

Jeff Cavanaugh on Twitter

Stephen Jones says they won't comment on anything with coaching staff but that they need to take a deep look at why they fell short. Says it a little early to speculate about players or coaches. They haven't had a meeting about it yet.

I think once the Cowboys brass sits down and reevaluates the 2018 season, they will come to the conclusion they can do better than Scott Linehan as their offensive coordinator. There were just too many times throughout the season where the playcalling was a problem just. It's just time to move on, despite the vote of confidence by Jason Garrett.

Of course, this could just be me trying to read between the lines hoping and praying Scott Linehan is finally fired. Like many of you, I've grown way too tired of his predictable and dated playcalling. It's time to move on and find someone more innovative who can maximize the talent the Dallas Cowboys have on the roster, much like Kris Richard did with the defense.

You can either choose to believe Jason Garrett or not. I for one have a hard time seeing the Dallas Cowboys staying status quo with their coaching staff, especially their offensive coordinator. But, only time will tell.

Do you think it's time for the Dallas Cowboys to fire Scott Linehan?



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Star Blog

Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright

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Cowboys Rammed Out of Playoffs but 2019 is Bright

If you were to have clicked over to Sportsbook Review, you could have seen what all the premier online sportsbooks were dealing on the Cowboys/Rams game before kickoff. Sites like Bovada, which incidentally you can read a Bovada Review at Sportsbook Review as well, had the Rams favored in every quarter, in both halves, and installed LA as seven-point favorites over Dallas. As is often the case, the number was nearly spot on as the Rams bounced our 'Boys out of the postseason 30-22. It was a heart-wrenching loss for Dallas fans everywhere but for those who put their money where their mouths were, it was particularly painful in what turned out to be a one-point difference between losing and pushing.

Let’s look on the bright side, though. The Cowboys not only copped the division crown but the draft picks from April bore fruit this season. Linebacker and No. 19 overall pick Leighton Vander Esch is a certified stud while third-round pick Michael Gallup proved he is a bona fide NFL receiver. Second-round offensive lineman Connor Williams had difficulties at left guard, but at the very least, has a season under his belt at the next level and could turn into a legitimate bodyguard for Prescott in 2019.

And let’s not forget about the trade for Amari Cooper, which turned Dallas from a squad struggling to find its identity to an NFC East champ in winning seven of its last nine games since Cooper arrived. This year’s edition also bested a tough Seahawks team in the first-round of the playoffs.

Let’s face it, folks, no one expected the Cowboys to win a Super Bowl this season and what we got was about as much as we could have hoped with the current roster as it is presently constructed.

Dak Prescott has one more year on his rookie contract and will be looking to score a big payday at the end of next season, if not sooner. The Cowboys could enter negotiations and lock Prescott up for the foreseeable future, but it might be best for both parties to see what 2019 brings and go from there. Either way, Dallas will pay beaucoup bucks to keep Prescott in a Cowboys uniform so watching and waiting will most likely be the tact management takes with their star quarterback, with a franchise tag in 2020 as an option as well.

In the team’s immediate future will be signing their second-round pick in 2014, DeMarcus Lawrence. The talented defensive end provided the Cowboys with the edge rusher they needed for parts of this season and his combined 25 sacks over the last two seasons would be nearly impossible to replace. Dallas franchised him this season but will most likely put together a long-term deal for Lawrence in the offseason.

Ezekiel Elliott has also reportedly been hinting at his own contract extension even though he is contractually committed to the Cowboys for next season with a team option in '20.

Ironically, one of the strengths of the Dallas Cowboys in recent years was a relatively weak link this season. The offensive line was decimated by injuries and Pro Bowler Travis Frederick missed the entire season. But those wounds will heal for next season and the old gang will be back together again.

The Cowboys have loads of cap space but are without a first-round pick due to the trade for Amari Cooper. Nevertheless, the young blood on the team looks poised to contribute for many years and there will be money available to woo free agents to a club now viewed as a legitimate contender.

If you want to look at next season’s odds, make sure to educate yourself on which online sportsbooks are the most reputable, trusted, and reliable. Read the Bovada Review over at SBR and see what customers are saying about one of the industry’s top sportsbooks. Then, when the lines come out on next season’s division, conference, and Super Bowl winners, you can be informed and maybe throw a few bucks on the 'Boys from Dallas!



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