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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
  • DoubleCraven

    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

      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.

  • Randy Martin

    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

      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.

  • Will

    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

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

  • Javier Enrique Zetina Pinelo

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

Star Blog

The Cowboys Blueprint for Success has been Set

Shane Carter

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Monday Morning Hangover: Cowboys Dominate Jaguars Top-Ranked Defense 1

The Cowboys victory against the Jaguars was a reminder to everyone just how good Dak Prescott & Co. can be. They ran and threw all over the Jaguars defense like they were high school level. It was a one-sided, lambs to the slaughter type of game.

At the end of the game, it left all of us wondering, "where has this team been all year?"

Throughout the season, the Cowboys showed both dominance and incompetence on the offensive side of the football. One game the team moves the ball up and down the field with ease, the next game the offense looks inept. Last Sunday’s game versus Jacksonville shows that Dallas can be successful the rest of the season, if they continue to play as such.

Run the ball

This team was built to run the football. Look at the offensive line, their type of tight ends, their quarterback, and of course Ezekiel Elliott.

The line is full of first round talent, the tight ends are block-first types (sans Rico Gathers), Dak Prescott gives them another dimension with the mobile ability in and out of the pocket, and Elliott is one of if not the best running back in the league.

The concept of running the football should not be lost on this team.

If they let Elliott run 20 or more times per game, allow Prescott to run outside of the pocket and not just be a stand-still passer, and mix in some of Rod Smith and Tavon Austin (when healthy) to give their main runner a break, they can run on anyone.

Let Dak Move Around

What makes Dak Prescott so special to this team isn’t just his leadership, but also his ability to extend plays. He stays in the pocket if he has to but he’s so skilled outside with his legs. Zone read, play action, tuck and run, throw on the run, etc., any excuse to get Dak Prescott on the move is a plus. Defenses respect his ability to move so much that the Cowboys receivers get open more as a result.

The worst thing a coaching staff can do to a mobile quarterback is to keep him standing still when he can do so much more with his feet. Don’t buy a Corvette and keep it locked up in the garage. The best way for Dak Prescott to stay consistent and succeed as a passer is to let Dak be Dak.

Keep Blitzing

The Cowboys have found a serious advantage that they’ve lacked in years past. Led by DeMarcus Lawrence and Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys have 18 sacks through the first six games of the season.

Throw in the contributions of players like Taco Charlton, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory, among others, and you’ve got the deepest pass rush the Cowboys have had in years.

The team is 7th in the league in sacks and there seems to be no sign of stopping and no shortage of players who can get to the quarterback. These numbers look like they’ll only go up from here and with the amount of players the Cowboys have to do so, Jacksonville looks like it was only a taste of what’s to come.

Creative Play Calling

A little more than a week ago Jerry Jones stated that the Cowboys offense looked similar to the L.A. Rams - a hilarious notion by most accounts, right?

The Cowboys offensive scheme had been mocked all season for being both predictable and out of date. I’m not sure how many times you can run a three tight end set and expect success when it hadn't happened yet.

The team would run then throw on first and second downs, and depending on yardage, would set up a predictable third down attempt.

Against Jacksonville, we saw more read option than we’ve seen all year. Dak Prescott was vintage. His ability to move the ball with his legs made the secondary shaky against the Cowboys receivers - especially Cole Beasley - and that opened up the playbook.

Ezekiel Elliott couldn’t be stopped and just about every receiver got in on the action. Even rookie receiver Michael Gallup got in and showed some of what Cowboy fans had been waiting for.

Hopefully, that game showed just how dangerous the Cowboys can be when they are unpredictable and let their quarterback be himself. If they game planned for today the same as they did against the Jaguars, the rest of the season will be much more winnable.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly for Cowboys Against Jaguars

El mejor juego de los Dallas Cowboys en 2018 vino la semana pasada, cuando recibieron a los Jacksonville Jaguars y los vencieron 40-7. Un resultado que tomó a todos por sorpresa demostró la mejor cara en el año de este equipo que apenas tiene un récord de 3-3.

Por más dominantes que se vieron en el emparrillado el domingo pasado, esa actuación no termina de reflejar lo que realmente son los Cowboys. Son un equipo con potencial en la ofensiva y con una defensiva bastante fuerte, pero ¿pueden ganar constantemente como lo hicieron contra Jaguars?

De entrada, la respuesta a esta pregunta parece ser no. Aún en esa victoria, se vieron problemas evidentes en la ofensiva. Para empezar, la falta de ejecución en la segunda mitad en series ofensivas que incluso llegaron a iniciar en territorio enemigo. De gol de campo en gol de campo se juntan puntos, sin duda, pero en partidos cerrados eso termina costando victorias. Hace falta que Dak Prescott y compañía puedan mover el balón una vez en rango de gol de campo y convertir esas oportunidades a touchdowns.

Otra preocupación que no podemos subestimar es que el juego aéreo sigue sin funcionar apropiadamente. Cole Beasley dominó con nueve atrapadas para 101 yardas y dos touchdowns, pero el resto de los receptores se fueron sin  más de una recepción por cabeza. El único jugador que logró más de una fue el TE Geoff Swaim, quien se llevo dos en todo el juego.

Si bien Beasley tuvo uno de los mejores juegos en su carrera, más receptores tienen que involucrarse para llevar la ofensiva al siguiente nivel. La buena noticia es que en esta ocasión se enfrentaron contra una de las mejores secundarias en la NFL. Los números son malos, pero tienen la oportunidad de demostrar mucho más contra otras defensivas.

Los Dallas Cowboys tienen que repartir más la bola y seguir buscando maneras creativas de utilizar a su RB Ezekiel Elliott. Pases pantallas en tercera y largo no es ser creativo. Lo vemos funcionar dos o tres veces al año pero mandan esta jugada semanalmente. En cuanto a Dak Prescott, hay mucho donde mejorar. Deberíamos estar viendo pases más arriesgados, al centro del campo y mucho mejor posicionados.

Sean's Scout: Measuring Randy Gregory's Potential Impact on Cowboys Defense

Para la defensiva, las cosas se ven muy bien. Puede que veamos la mejor versión de esta unidad esta semana, cuando viajen a Washington. Maliek Collins, Sean Lee, David Irving, y Randy Gregory estarán jugando mucho más sanos y preparados. Este es un frente defensivo lleno de talento que intimidará constantemente a Alex Smith este domingo.

A pesar de que los Redskins no tienen una ofensiva muy explosiva, el área de oportunidad principal para la defensiva de Cowboys está en la profundidad defensiva. Tanto Jeff Heath como Xavier Woods han hecho un trabajo decente, pero tienen sus momentos en los que no logran asegurar una tackleada y permiten jugadas largas.

Hace unos meses no esperábamos que fuera la defensiva y no la ofensiva la que cargaría a este equipo a muchas victorias, pero ese ha sido el caso en las tres victorias de esta temporada. Y en las tres derrotas, la defensiva fue la que mantuvo a los Cowboys en el juego.

Sin duda alguna, lo que tiene que mejorar es la ofensiva. Los receptores tienen que desmarcarse, Prescott debe ser más preciso y tener una mejor conciencia en la bolsa de protección.

Pero sobre todo, es la inconsistencia del equipo. Esto se comienza a sentir como la temporada del año pasado, cuando los Cowboys se fueron 9-7 y nunca terminaron de establecerse como contendientes a los playoffs. Aún en una NFC East donde todos los equipos tienen récords similares y débiles, no pueden continuar perdiendo una semana y  ganando a la otra.

Ganarle a los Redskins sería la primera victoria de Dallas jugando de visita. También sería la primera vez en el año en la que tendrían victorias consecutivas. Por esto y muchas otras razones, incluyendo el potencial liderato de la división, este juego es de suma importancia.

Si ganan, podría ser el momento en el que los Cowboys terminen de darle la vuelta a la página y si pierden, podría ser un indicador de que esta temporada será igual que la del 2017.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: ¿Dónde Tiene Que Mejorar Dallas?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

Brian Martin

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Time to get FB Jamize Olawale More Involved Offensively?

The Dallas Cowboys are coming off arguably their best and most complete offensive performance of the season after playing the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, but there is still quite a bit of improvement that can be made. The need to get more playmakers involved is apparent, which is why I think it's time to utilize Fullback Jamize Olawale's unique skill set.

I know many of you will argue that getting Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup going is a higher priority, and you wouldn't be wrong, but Jamize Olawale's playmaking ability could be a huge asset for Quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense. I know it sounds a little strange, but hang in there with me for little bit.

As things stand right now, Olawale has only played 38 offensive snaps (10%) in 2018. That's the exact amount of offensive plays Wide Receiver Terrance Williams has played this year and he's missed the majority of the season. It's not exactly the kind of production I was expecting when the Cowboys decided to bring him aboard via trade with the Oakland Raiders earlier this offseason.

I don't know about you, but I was expecting Olawale to be more involved in the offensive game plan. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and isn't too shabby as a runner either. But, we haven't seen him utilized in either fashion this season and I think that's an injustice that needs to be corrected.

Now, I fully understand there are other offensive weapons ahead of him in the pecking order who need to see more targets, but I also really think he can make a difference maker, especially in the passing game. That is where his strengths lie, not as a lead blocking fullback.

Jamize Olawale

Dallas Cowboys FB Jamize Olawale

Olawale was a bit of a Swiss Army knife during his time with the Oakland Raiders. He played a little running back, fullback, tight end, and even a little slot receiver. I really thought the Cowboys would take advantage of his versatility in the passing game, but as of yet they have failed to do so.

I'd like to see the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan utilize Jamize Olawale's unique playmaking ability a little bit more on offense. I think they should try to utilize him like the San Francisco 49ers use their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. He's much more involved and has played a total of 263 offensive snaps (63.68%) this year.

Juszczyk is a better lead blocking FB then Olawale, but that's not where he makes the most difference in the 49ers offense. He does it as a receiver and has already caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. That's some pretty solid production from a position that is being phased out in the NFL.

Now, just imagine the Cowboys offense getting similar production from Olawale and how that would help open up things for everybody else. It's not out of the realm of possibility because the 49ers offense and the Cowboys isn't all that dissimilar.

Unfortunately, I think Jamize Olawale is pretty much an afterthought in the Cowboys offense right now. It's truly unfortunate because I think he can be a difference maker if given the opportunity. And with a division foe like the Washington Redskins next on the schedule, what better time to unleash a new and unseen element of the offense?

Do you think Jamize Olawale needs to be more involved offensively?



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