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What To Expect From Cowboys RB Alfred Morris

Sean Martin



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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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 every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

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

What’s the Next Move for Cowboys in Free Agency?

Brian Martin



Cowboys Headlines - The Dallas Cowboys And The 2016 Free Agency Dance 2
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

After sitting out the first wave of free agency, the Dallas Cowboys finally dipped their toes in the free agent pool and signed linebacker Joe Thomas and wide receiver Deonte Thompson.

Signing these two free agents will be viewed as somewhat insignificant moves by the majority of Cowboys fans, but it does prove that the organization isn't sitting on their hands. In fact, they have been bringing in a number of free agents for visits, but haven't been able to close the deal with any of them as of yet.

We are still about a month away from the start of the 2018 NFL Draft, which means the Dallas Cowboys will more than likely sign a few more free agents. They would like to fill as many holes as possible heading into the draft so that they aren't pigeonholed by any specific position.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the next move the Dallas Cowboys could make in free agency and the positions they could be targeting.


Tre Boston

San Diego Chargers FS Tre Boston

It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are interested in upgrading the safety position. There is a definite hole to fill now that Byron Jones is moving back to cornerback and I wouldn't be surprised if Jeff Heath's job is secure either.

This is why the most popular topic of discussion this offseason has centered on the possible acquisition of Earl Thomas. Unfortunately, the Seattle Seahawks asking price is simply too high and likely means the Thomas and Cowboys union is nothing more than a pipe dream.

But, there are still several free agent safeties who they could show an interest in and could upgrade the position. Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro, and Eric Reid are all still available on the open market and could come in and be immediate upgrades for the Cowboys.

Personally, Tre Boston is the safety I would target if I were the Dallas Cowboys. He had a breakout season in 2017 as a member of the San Diego Chargers in Gus Bradley's defensive scheme. Bradley's scheme is similar to the way Kris Richard will use the Cowboys secondary players.

Offensive Line

Cameron Fleming

New England Patriots OT Cameron Fleming

The Dallas Cowboys have already brought in several offensive lineman free agents, which would indicate they are serious about not only finding a new starting left guard, but adding some much-needed depth. Their lack of depth really hurt them in 2017 and they definitely don't want that to happen again moving forward.

Marcus Martin, Cameron Fleming, and LaAdrian Waddle have all reportedly met with the Dallas Cowboys. Martin and Fleming are currently still free agents, but Waddle recently re-signed with the New England Patriots.

Both Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming makes sense for the Cowboys and would be a welcomed addition to the roster. Martin would likely take over Joe Looney's role as the backup center/guard, but could compete for the starting LG position. Fleming could start at right tackle, but would also be an immediate upgrade at the swing tackle position

There are other options still available, but hopefully something can materialize with Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming.

Defensive Tackle

Bennie Logan

Kansas City Chiefs DT Bennie Logan

The Dallas Cowboys currently have enough bodies to deploy along the defensive line if the 2018 season were to start today, but they could definitely stand to upgrade the 1-technique. It's one of the reasons why Vita Vea has been mocked to the Dallas Cowboys as a potential first-round pick on a regular basis.

The Cowboys have shown in the past that they don't particularly value the 1-tech position very highly, which means they will likely be bargain shopping in free agency and possibly wait until the middle rounds to draft one.

There are a few free agent DTs who I believe they should target, Jonathan Hankins and Bennie Logan. Both players would definitely be an upgrade over what the Cowboys deployed last season and probably won't break the bank to acquire.

Unfortunately, they might not be very high on Hankins since he wasn't even on their draft board back in 2013, but he still makes sense nonetheless. I believe they had a third-round grade on Logan however, so they could still be interested in bringing him aboard. Regardless, finding another big-bodied/space eating DT in free agency could be a priority.


Navorro Bowman

Oakland Raiders LB Navorro Bowman

The Dallas Cowboys already added some much-needed depth by signing Joe Thomas, but I don't think they should stop there. Thomas is more of a weak side linebacker, but the Cowboys could still definitely use someone to backup the middle and strong side positions behind Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson.

Unfortunately, the linebacker position has been depleted significantly already in free agency. The only option that really makes sense is Navorro Bowman, who the Cowboys showed interested in bringing aboard last season after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers.

If the Dallas Cowboys were somehow able to convince Bowman in signing, then they would likely have already improved not only the depth, but talent from last season. Add another rookie LB at some point in the draft, and the weakness suddenly becomes a strength.

The Cowboys are reported to have an interest in Bowman, but that's as far as it's gone so far. It might be time to make something happen before someone else snatches him up.

Which position or player would you like the Cowboys to target next in free agency?

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Star Blog

Sean’s Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Cowboys D

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Dallas Cowboys Defense 1

It took some time, but the Dallas Cowboys have their first outside free agent of the offseason, signing Linebacker Joe Thomas to provide depth at a position where Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber have already signed elsewhere.

The fifth-year pro has played exclusively with the Green Bay Packers, but the Cowboys do have some familiarity with Thomas as he spent part of 2015 on their practice squad.

Joe Thomas has served as a core special teams contributor and sub-package LB for the Packers out of South Carolina State, and will now look to bring these services to a Cowboys team in need of play making ability on both defense and special teams.

Using film from this past season, here is Joe Thomas' full scouting report.

LB Joe Thomas: Strengths

Thomas1 - Streamable

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Joe Thomas lined up at all three LB positions for the Packers, taking the majority of his snaps on defense at MIKE or WILL. The WILL position is where Thomas should fit best in Dallas.

Not overly physical with a shorter but square frame, Thomas is a rangy player with light feet and fluid movement ability. Shifting laterally along the line of scrimmage to "pick through trash" is not a problem for Thomas, nor is flipping his hips and running to the football.

It may take Thomas more effort than it should to get in position on most plays, with false steps and late reads being an issue, but once he establishes his sight on the point of attack this is a downhill missile of a player.

Thomas2 - Streamable

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Joe Thomas uses his length well to disengage from blocks and finish off plays, doing a nice job of not allowing blockers into his chest consistently.

With Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith expected to be the Cowboys' primary starters at WILL and MIKE respectively, Thomas could supplement these two physical, well-rounded players extremely well given his athleticism.

LB Joe Thomas: Weaknesses

Thomas3 - Streamable

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There is a reason a player with the raw traits of Joe Thomas goes un-drafted, and in this case it is because of awareness and anticipation issues in Thomas' game.

Far too often on tape, Thomas is forcing himself to recover from false steps against the blockers in front of him. I would have loved to see a player with this movement ability get more clean opportunities to finish at the football, but it was simply not there for Thomas.

When Thomas wasn't late to the ball against the run, he was getting caught flat-footed in space trying to compensate for this reactionary ability. This led to Thomas' fair share of missed tackles, where the LB failed to break down correctly.

Overall, Thomas did a decent job of avoiding blocks and disengaging, and does play with better-than-expected stopping power. The strength and technique to shed blocks was rarely seen though, relying on his quickness to outrun opponents to the spot.

LB Joe Thomas: Summary

Sean's Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Dallas Cowboys Defense

This is a player that should help the Dallas Cowboys in two phases of their game this season.

Signed for both 2018 and 2019, the Cowboys have clearly seen enough from their former practice squad linebacker in Green Bay to bring back an athletic ST ace with upside on defense.

Joe Thomas shouldn't be taking Lee or Smith off the field regularly this season, but at his best he will factor into Rod Marinelli's defense on passing downs.

Thomas gives a unit predicated on flowing to the ball even more speed on the field, and is an ideal depth signing with the versatility to cover punts and kickoffs.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Cowboys D" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Star Blog

Could a Special Coach Help Dez Bryant’s Route-Running?

Brian Martin



Could Special Coach Help Dez Bryant's Route Running?

Dez Bryant's career with the Dallas Cowboys may be in limbo, but that's not stopping him from trying to improve his game and on-field performance.

Bryant will reportedly train with personal wide receivers coach David Robinson, who specializes in route-running, according to reporter Jane Slater of NFL Network. This should come as good news to a lot of Cowboys fans, because Dez Bryant has often been criticized throughout his professional career for his route-running.

If anything, this news should indicate that Dez Bryant is more determined than ever to rebound from his disappointing 2017 season and prove his critics wrong that he is no longer one of the top receivers in the league. I for one am not going to bet against him.

Bryant's work ethic and passion for the game have never been questioned. His desire to be the best is evident anytime you turn on his film, whether it is in a game situation or on the practice field. He takes the "practice like you play" mantra to heart.

Everybody should be encouraged that at this point in his career, Dez Bryant is still looking at ways to improve his game and seek help. Hopefully, working with a well-known receivers coach like David Robinson can take Bryant's game to the next level.

Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

You may not know who David Robinson is (I certainly didn't), but he is well respected around the league and has helped other receivers under his tutelage. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Reed, and even Cowboys former WR Brice Butler have all benefited from Robinson's coaching.

Dez Bryant has always been regarded as one of those types of receivers who is always open regardless how tight the coverage is around him. His ability to go up and snag the ball out of the air is arguably his best trait, but he could become more dangerous if he can create separation on his own with better route-running.

Unfortunately, Bryant is entering the stage in his career where age becomes a factor and some regression is to be expected. This is why improved route-running could improve any deficiencies Bryant maybe dealing with.

But, what exactly will David Robinson be working on with Dez Bryant?

Robinson told Jane Slater that in his workouts with Dez Bryant, he will concentrate on the expansion of Bryant's route tree, shaking defenders at the line of scrimmage, and improving footwork technique to compensate for any natural loss of speed due to age.

I don't know about you, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing how Bryant responds to Robinson's coaching, hopefully still as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

We all know that Bryant's status with the Cowboys is unknown, at least to those of us on the outside looking in, but I don't see him going anywhere in 2018. There just aren't any vet WRs or rookies who I can see replacing his production. Of course, I could be wrong.

One thing is for sure though, Dez Bryant isn't going to sit on his hands while he waits to find out what his future holds.

Do you think improved route-running will help Dez Bryant's game?

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