Connect with us

Star Blog

What To Expect From Cowboys RB Alfred Morris

Sean Martin

Published

on

What To Expect From Cowboys RB Alfred Morris

It appears that we will finally get the answer to just how much Ezekiel Elliott means to the Dallas Cowboys, and just how great Dak Prescott can be, as the Cowboys are preparing for life without Elliott for the next six games. His suspension upheld in court again yesterday, Elliott will begin his ban on Sunday in Atlanta – opening the door for expected RB1 Alfred Morris.

While it will be a team effort in the backfield to replace the 2016 NFL rushing champion, Morris does expect to get the bulk of the workload over Rod Smith and Darren McFadden.

With 14 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown already on the season, Morris has been serviceable in his usual work spelling Elliott on occasional planned drives.

Alfred Morris Vs Rams (2) – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This is not to say that Ezekiel Elliott won’t be sorely missed, but realistic expectations for Morris should be high enough for the Dallas offense to continue putting up points as they’ve done so consistently through this amazing stretch of three consecutive wins.

There is a lot to love about this first Morris play I chose to include, the longest run of his six-year career. After watching all of his carries thus far on the season, the first thing that stands out above is the personnel the Cowboys utilize. Not forcing Morris to move laterally and wait for a hole to open up with extra blockers in the game, the Cowboys pull two blockers to the play side and allow Morris to easily see the crease up the hash.

The lack of ability to change directions quickly and make explosive cuts stood out on Alfred Morris’ tape, but on this play he is able to smoothly evade the safety with a cutback just before finding the second gear to accelerate and bust the play.

This straight line speed and ability to push up the field decisively is the best sign of hope for Cowboys Nation relying on Alfred Morris to keep this offense and this football team on track.

Ezekiel Elliott was averaging 4.3 yards per carry on first down runs, a significant number that has kept Dak Prescott ahead of the chains. As we look at more of Alfred Morris’ tape, there should be little doubt that this number will not drop off substantially.

Alfred Morris Vs Giants – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Even plays like this, where Elliott likely has the vision and speed to bounce outside to the right and score, are positives for Morris on the ground. Showing off the power he still has in his legs, Morris searches for space between Travis Frederick and Jason Witten on the second level to move the pile for a gain of four. It was Geoff Swaim getting ridden back towards the mesh point that likely forced the slower Morris to hesitate as he was just breaking the line, but safe plays like these will always give Dallas a chance over the upcoming six weeks.

Alfred Morris Vs Chiefs – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

All of the traits from Alfred Morris that we’ve discussed so far are on display with this carry against the Chiefs last week. Reading the block of Zack Martin quickly and correctly, Morris finds a seam to attack and does show with impressive finish – carrying defenders for needed extra yards.

A steady dose of this from Alfred Morris paired with splashes from Darren McFadden and Rod Smith, along with some creativity in both the running and passing game by Scott Linehan, and the Cowboys may not miss a beat without the best running back in the NFL.

Alfred Morris Vs Rams – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Ezekiel Elliott has made the absolute most of the offensive line Dallas put in place prior to drafting him fourth overall and throwing the loftiest of expectations on the Ohio State star. It is why plays like this next one above are not as exciting, since we can all envision Elliott sprinting through the hole, making the first man miss, and charging towards the end zone.

So long as Morris and the Cowboys remain in the hunt, a return to the field will come for the well-rested Ezekiel Elliott prior to the playoffs as they host the Seahawks and travel to the Eagles to end the regular season.

Plays like the one above against the Rams will do just that, as Morris bounces off of tackles working his way through a stout Rams defensive front.

Alfred Morris Vs Packers – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

The player to be the most excited about for the Cowboys’ Zeke-less offense is QB Dak Prescott. He will be the one running the show as always, making clutch plays when needed and orchestrating this team’s balanced offensive approach.

Not much that Alfred Morris does will be sexy, but his tape on the season suggests that it will be enough to keep the Cowboys competitive and capable of running the football at defenses that must respect what the veteran power back brings.

There are simply too many good things happening with this Dallas Cowboys team right now to pack up the 2017 campaign because of this Ezekiel Elliott news. Fortunately, it appears that Alfred Morris has no intentions but to add his name to this list of players making a positive impact in the silver and blue.

Tell us what you think about “What To Expect From Cowboys RB Alfred Morris” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

ADVERTISEMENT

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we’re not how you think we are. Host of “Upon Further Review” on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

Advertisement
1 Comment
  • Russ_Te

    Not sure if the game plans now will put more of the offensive load on Dak, but I do think that can be sold to defenses.

    As in, open in spread sets 4 / 1. Defenses will definitely play pass and the Dallas OL will only have to deal with 5 or maybe 6 in the box. That should crack open 1st downs and give Morris the seams he needs to start the game fast.

    There was speculation in preseason about seeing these sets a lot more, then it didn’t really happen. But this might be the time to use it as a changeup, then get back into more TE and power sets as the game wears on.

    I think they can take their choice to either run less or not for these 6 games, and either can play out fine. I expect McFadden is the 3rd down RB, and he probably wants out of Dallas rather than sit deactivated with Elliott and Morris in front of him. So there might be some angst let loose when he gets on the field, in the form of a motivated RB with fresh legs.

Star Blog

Is 3-3 Without Ezekiel Elliott A Win For Dallas?

Kevin Brady

Published

on

Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Preseason Week 2
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s funny how quickly perception can change in the NFL.

A little over two weeks ago, the sky was falling on the Dallas Cowboys. They had just been blown out three straight times, twice at home and twice against direct NFC playoff competitors. Cowboys Nation wanted firings – whether that meant head coach Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, or all of the above.

Dak Prescott couldn’t survive without Ezekiel Elliott, and all of the change made to the defense was beginning to be called a failure by the masses.

Fast forward to this week. The Cowboys have now been the deliverers of butt-kickings the last two weeks, and now sit at 7-6 with an outside chance at a playoff spot. And while the team looked like a complete mess without Elliott previously, a win Sunday would put them at 3-3 over the course of the Pro Bowl running back’s suspension.

And is that really all that bad?

Heading into the suspension, most fans probably would’ve taken 3-3 without Elliott and 8-6 overall. Most fans would’ve though that would put the Cowboys right in the thick of the things in the NFC playoff hunt. And most would’ve assumed we’d be happy with an 8-6 Cowboys team.

Unfortunately, 8-6 most likely won’t be good enough in this year’s playoff race. Especially considering the return of Aaron Rodgers and previous losses to both the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Plus, the entire NFC South has been fantastic this season (besides Tampa Bay) and two teams from the West look legit as well.

So maybe this just isn’t the Cowboys’ year. But, the success of other teams in the conference shouldn’t cloud our perception of what the Cowboys have done this season if they were to win Sunday night. A win over the Raiders this week would qualify the team’s handling of the Elliott suspension as a “success” of sorts (in terms of on the field, at least) in my opinion.

They would have kept themselves alive in a deep NFC playoff race, discovered a legitimate offensive weapon in Rod Smith, maintained a solid rushing attack over the majority of the six games, and allowed for some real growth from their young quarterback Dak Prescott.

I know the first three games of the suspension were awful, and a team with the talent of the Cowboys shouldn’t be losing that way three times in a row, or three times in a season at all. But, something should be said about how the team has weathered that storm, and kept themselves above water in this competitive conference.

But, of course, the result Sunday night could change all of this if the Cowboys come out and lay an egg in Oakland, effectively ending their season before Zeke even gets back. In that case we will more vividly remember the three horrific losses in which the team was out-coached and embarrassed. But, still those games should be remembered regardless of Sunday’s outcome.

So maybe success is a bit of a strong word.

This week’s game is not only a huge one in terms of the 2017 playoff race, but also may be an important one for determining what the 2018 Cowboys will look like.

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?

Mauricio Rodriguez

Published

on

Cowboys 2017 Roster Projection: Training Camp Begins

For the Dallas Cowboys, the playoffs have begun a bit earlier. After putting themselves in a tough position, they need to win out in order to have a shot at playing in January… and even then, they need a ton of outside help to make it.

Less than a year ago, we saw the Cowboys become the #1 seed in the conference with a 13-3 record under rookie QB Dak Prescott. So naturally, it’s fair to say that the fact that after 14 weeks the record of this football team is 7-6 is very disappointing.

Some have even questioned, are they even worthy of being a playoffs team? 

Despite suffering from some key injuries and well… suspensions, the Cowboys shouldn’t be left off the hook. Players and coaches should be blamed. But even still, it’s hard to believe that Dallas wouldn’t have win at least one more game with Tyron Smith, Sean Lee or Ezekiel Elliott available.

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

I’m convinced that if Zeke hadn’t been suspended, the Cowboys would at least have one more win. If that were the case, we probably wouldn’t be suffering thinking about what combinations would get our favorite team in the postseason.

All of this makes me wonder… Do we know what this team is capable of? 

I think not. Let’s take a quick look at the games Dallas has lost this year.

  • @ DEN Broncos 
  • vs LA Rams (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 35 points)
  • vs GB Packers (No Sean Lee, Cowboys’ defense allowed 28 points)
  • @ ATL Falcons (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored seven points)
  • vs PHI Eagles (No Tyron Smith, no Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored nine points)
  • vs LA Chargers (No Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys scored six points)

I believe in the “next man up” mentality. But not when you’re talking about going from Tyron Smith, who is arguably the best LT in the league to Chaz Green and Byron Bell. Sure, the coaching staff should’ve made a change earlier when Green was getting Dak killed, but Bell wasn’t much better.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make excuses for this football team at all. In fact, it’s the same thing when you take a look at wins. Through 14 weeks, the Cowboys have just been able to beat one NFL team with a winning record: The Kansas City Chiefs. The thing is, despite being 7-6, the Chiefs are 2-8 since week 6. I’m not sure I’d qualify that as a winning team.

We haven’t seen this team face a strong, winning opponent and actually beat them. The Cowboys have one more game to win without Zeke, and then they’ll be on to face the Seattle Seahawks. If Dallas gets to that game with an 8-6 record, the outcome of the Seattle game could define the Cowboys’ 2017 season.

With Ezekiel Elliott, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith all ready to go, it’d be the first time this year we see the Cowboys go against a quality opponent with all of their star players. Will this defining game come too late? Perhaps. It’s no secret that the Cowboys need a ton of outside help in order to get into the playoffs with 10-6 record.

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Denver Broncos 1

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten #82, QB Dak Prescott #4. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

But at least, it’d be nice to see our team at least doing the job they can control and winning out. Even if it’d be painful to see them go 10-6 and still miss the playoffs… as fans, we probably want to see them doing their job.

For now though, it’s all about the Oakland Raiders. One more week without Ezekiel Elliott. After surviving a trap game against the Giants, the Cowboys must do the same again as they prepare to face a football team that has also been disappointing this season but still has dangerous play-makers, such as Derek Carr.

And then, we might find out just how good the 2017 Dallas Cowboys really are.

Tell me what you think about “Do We Know What The 2017 Dallas Cowboys Are Capable Of?” in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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!

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott Long-Term?

Brian Martin

Published

on

Should Cowboys Be Concerned About Ezekiel Elliott's Future?

It’s funny how quickly some players are able to establish themselves as professional athletes and grow their fan base. That is exactly what Ezekiel Elliott has done in just a little over a years time since becoming a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Unfortunately, given his current situation, it’s that fan base that might be starting to turn on him a little and doubt his long-term future in the NFL.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are fully aware of the six-game suspension the NFL slapped Ezekiel Elliott with based on nothing more than accusations of possible domestic violence. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, it happened and there is no taking it back. But unfortunately, because of the suspension Elliott will now have to walk the straight and narrow if he wants to have any kind of career in the NFL.

I honestly don’t think Ezekiel Elliott is a bad guy, but the slightest slip up will more than likely put his career in jeopardy. It doesn’t matter how big or small the infraction, the NFL has already decided they are going to make an example of him.

RB Ezekiel ElliottFrom here on out, Elliott is going to have to live like he is under a magnifying glass. Any kind of slip up, big or small, will likely cause the league to suspend him an entire season. This unfortunately has been weighing on the minds of a lot of Cowboys Nation and has to be at least a little bit concerning for the Cowboys organization.

You see, the Dallas Cowboys have Elliott under contract for at least three more years after this season. He has already proven how important he is to the offense and how much production dips without him in the lineup. They absolutely want him on the field because he makes them better. But, any kind of slip up would pretty much erase one of those three years. Look no further than what has happened with Randy Gregory.

I’ve heard many fans voicing their concerns about Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term availability with the Cowboys. They are afraid Elliott’s immaturity will end up getting the best of him and Zeke unfortunately has done nothing to ease those concerns so far.

I for one am not all that concerned about Zeke’s future in the NFL. I think his six-game suspension has served as an eye-opening experience and that he will do better from here on out to put himself in better situations and surround himself with better/more trustworthy people.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel ElliottYou can see anytime Zeke is on the field his passion for the game and how much he enjoys it. I don’t think he’s going to put something he cares so much about in jeopardy. But unfortunately, he already has a bull’s-eye on his back and can’t afford to take a misstep. That will without a doubt put his future career in jeopardy.

I personally can’t wait to see how #21 responds when he is able to suit up once again next week against the Seattle Seahawks. I think he is going to play with a chip on his shoulder and run angry. That is the best way he can stick it to the league for suspending him based on accusations and another reason why I’m not concerned about his future in the NFL.

I know if it was me, my mindset would be to turn myself into the best player possible and once again become one of the more popular athletes in the league. That is about the only way he can say “F U” to the league, and I think that’s exactly what he will do.

Are you concerned about Ezekiel Elliott long-term?

ADVERTISEMENT

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Advertisement
Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here

Trending