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Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension A Blessing In Disguise?

Brian Martin

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Ezekiel Elliott's Suspension A Blessing In Disguise? 2

Nothing is set in stone just yet, but the likelihood of Ezekiel Elliott missing the next six games is at an all-time high. This news didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation and for good reason. This entire situation seemed like a witch hunt from the beginning, but there was hope Elliott would be exonerated and play the entire 2017 season. That doesn't seem to be the case now, but Elliott's suspension could end up being a blessing in disguise.

Now, I fully understand the mindset a lot of us have regarding Elliott's suspension. I've heard it all and probably thought the same way myself. You know, "Let's throw in the towel now because the Cowboys can't win without Elliott" or "Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden are more than capable of filling in during Elliott's absence". But, I can promise you this. I truly believe the suspension is going to be a blessing in disguise.

But there is a catch. There always is. Right!?

Ezekiel ElliottIn order for Ezekiel Elliott's suspension to become a blessing in disguise, the Dallas Cowboys have to keep themselves in playoff contention through these next six games. I truly believe that's doable because of the six teams they will face during Elliott's absence. Let's take a look.

Week 9 - Kansas City Chiefs
Week 10 - @Atlanta Falcons
Week 11 - Philadelphia Eagles
Week 12 - Los Angeles Chargers
Week 13 - Washington Redskins
Week 14 - @New York Giants

As you can see, this isn't the worst time for Ezekiel Elliott to serve his six-game suspension. The Dallas Cowboys could easily be 4-1 in the NFC East division and go 4-2 during this stretch in the schedule. That would keep their playoff hopes alive, which would be ideal with the start of the postseason right around the corner.

Luckily, that's not all…

During this time while the Dallas Cowboys are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive, Ezekiel Elliott isn't taking a pounding and will be fully rested upon his return December 17 against the Oakland Raiders. That means he will be at full strength for the final three games of the season and the freshest of any starting running back heading into the playoffs.

RB Ezekiel Elliott

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Having Ezekiel Elliott at full-strength or as near to it as possible would absolutely be a blessing in disguise for the Dallas Cowboys heading into the playoffs. This is especially true considering the unreal workload the Cowboys were giving him.

After seven games, Elliott has racked up 690 rushing yards on 164 carries, 19 receptions for 210 yards and eight total touchdowns. He was on pace for 418 touches, which seems like an astronomical number.

As unreal as that number may seem, it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility those numbers could've been inflated even more. In 2014 for instance, the Dallas Cowboys gave DeMarco Murray 449 touches. They made the playoffs that season, but Murray was noticeably worn down.

So, as much as we hate to lose Ezekiel Elliott these next six games, it could actually benefit the Dallas Cowboys in the long run. Of course, this all depends on whether or not they can keep themselves in the playoff race during Elliott's absence. I for one am not counting them out just yet.

Is Zeke's suspension a blessing in disguise?



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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10 Comments
  • Jess Haynie

    Not to get too caught up in semantics, but “blessing in disguise” is a little too positive for this situation. I think you did a nice job of showing some of the silver linings in the situation; mitigating factors that reduce the sting. But overall, it still stings. We’d be better off with Zeke than without him, especially since most of your potential benefits are predicated on us making the playoffs. That will be much harder without Elliott.

    • Brian Martin

      Obviously we would prefer to have Elliott on the field, but it’s highly doubtful that happens. I think the Cowboys have a really good chance to still make the playoffs without Elliott though. The NFC is really wide-open. I was just trying to look on the brighter side of things.

  • Alfredo Martinez

    right now, the Dallas Cowboys looked like a power, thanks to the offensive running game. Everything revolves around the offensive line in Dallas. The defensive line of the cowboys every time looks more fearsome. Without Ezekiel, the cowboys will be only ONE GOOD TEAM.

    • Brian Martin

      Alfredo, the Cowboys OL is definitely the strength of their team and will keep them in contention no matter who is the starting RB. Thanks for commenting.

  • EverybodyTalks

    Great article. I believe that this team is prepared to do this without Zeke for awhile. When asked about the running game without Zeke, Ron Smith stated to the reporter, “We’re gonna take care of that. Zeke’s #1 seat will be nice and warm when he gets back.“ – (note: paraphrasing to ghe best of my recollection.)

    • Brian Martin

      Luckily, we at least have Zeke for the Kansas City game. But, when he does have to serve his suspension I think the Cowboys backups can be good enough to keep the team afloat until he returns.

  • Hobbes49

    Excellent article Brian. I realize there is going to be a difference with Zeke out, but I think most people may be underestimating how much Morris, McFadden and Smith may be able to accomplish behind our offensive line, which seems to be improving as the season progresses. I also think we are slightly underestimating what Dak can do in Zeke’s absence. That may turn out to be another silver lining, as Dak truly reaches new heights to his developing career. This is as long as our Defense can hold up, or God forbid, maybe even improve with time?!?!

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for the compliment. I was just trying to look for little silver lining. But you’re right, a lot of people are underestimating the other RBs can do in his absence. They don’t have to be great, just good enough to keep opposing defenses honest. I would also expect Prescott to step his game.

  • Wilson Torres

    brian good talking to you now y are they still taking the suspension off you know they must have something you know now three judges on going to hear the case so depending where there from newyork texas etc. he might win the case

    • Brian Martin

      To tell you the truth, I really have no idea what’s going on or what the outcome of all this will end up being. Elliott is going to continue to try to clear his name, so I would imagine he will continue to fight as long as needed.

Star Blog

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Could Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

The NFC East is a wild, wild division. Since 2004, the division that hosts some of the most popular franchises in the NFL hasn't seen the same team winning the NFC East title two years in a row. It's crazy! Who expected the Dallas Cowboys to become the #1 seed in the conference in 2016 after seeing Tony Romo go down during the preseason? Who was able to predict the Philadelphia Eagles' amazing run for the Super Bowl last year?

It's an unpredictable league, but the NFC East side of things can really amaze you on a yearly basis.

Heading into 2018, it all seems to be about the Eagles and the Cowboys. Being the last two teams to win the title, it's only logical to expect them to be the only teams in the division that have what it takes to own the NFC East crown.

But maybe, just maybe, we are overlooking the New York Giants.

Coming from a 3-13 record in 2017, the Giants have quite a bit to prove if they want to become a winning team once again and return to playoff contention. With Odell Beckham missing most of the season and with good ol' Ben McAdoo calling the shots, the team was never able to get a break.

Listen, we all know Eli Manning has been struggling lately. Many thought the Giants should've drafted a quarterback when they held the #2 overall pick back in April. But whether we like it or not, New York seems to have a plan: take advantage of Manning's last years on the field.

Instead of taking a young QB for the future, they drafted the best player available to take the load off Manning's shoulders. Saquon Barkley will probably be able to do what Ezekiel Elliott was able to do in 2016: lead the offense by running the football 20 times a game and have several 100-yard performances.

Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?

New York Giants OG Will Hernandez

Not only that, but the front office did make an effort to re-build a disastrous offensive line by bringing in a talented left tackle in Nate Solder and by stealing the UTEP product, Will Hernandez in the second round of the draft. If the Giants are able to finally groom Ereck Flowers into a decent starter at right tackle, this could be a pretty solid offensive line.

Of course, Manning will not only be benefited from the running game, but his superstar wide receiver will be back on the field. Beckham is one of the NFL's best wide receivers and will surely be back at terrifying opposing secondaries week in and week out.

The Giants are bringing in Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher, who did a nice job for the Arizona Cardinals' defense over the last few years. With some talented defensive players, the team might not have the best squad in the league, but it doesn't seem like a defense that will struggle throughout the season.

Last but not least, the Giants will have a new head coach in form of Pat Shurmur. He's had some success in the league, lately as an offensive coordinator for a Minnesota Vikings team that managed to get to the NFC Championship with Case Keenum at QB. It was a good hire for the team, and I'm pretty sure it will be easy to do a better job than McAdoo's work with the Giants.

If I was to make a prediction, I'd say the Giants will have a handful of wins in 2018. However, I don't see them getting back into the postseason just yet. An 8-8 record sounds about right. Having said that, though, it really seems like a team that could surprise everyone and emerge as a surprise contender in the NFC East.

Do you think the New York Giants could be a surprise threat in 2018?

Tell me what you think about "Could NY Giants Be a Surprise Threat in the NFC East?" 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!



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Star Blog

Where Cowboys CB Marquez White Fits In 2018

Kevin Brady

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Dallas Cowboys Draft CB Marquez White at #216

In the 2017 NFL Draft the Dallas Cowboys selected four new defensive backs, three of which saw significant playing time during their rookie season.

Those three, of course, are Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods. That fourth defensive back, however, should not be forgotten about as we enter the beginning stages of the 2018 season. That player is former Florida State cornerback Marquez White.

Rather than playing alongside his rookie counterparts in the secondary, White spent time on the Cowboys practice squad in 2017. The former sixth round pick was signed to a futures contract at the end of 2017, however, and now has a chance to compete in camp once again.

Entering their sophomore seasons the starting secondary already appears to be taking shape. Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones are just about locked in to the outside cornerback jobs, Xavier Woods is expected to start at safety beside Jeff Heath, and Jourdan Lewis is battling with now third year player Anthony Brown for the slot corner role.

So where does Marquez White fit into all of this?

Cowboys CB Marquez White Could Emerge in 2018

Dallas Cowboys CB Marquez White

Well, the aforementioned players are locks to make the 53-man roster, but Marquez White should be the favorite to win the 5th cornerback spot going forward. White's raw talent is undeniable, and he has the ability to play under both man and zone responsibilities.

The main reason we should be optimistic about Marquez White's chances to land on the final roster, however, is his athletic profile. At 6'0" tall, just under 200 pounds, and long arms White fits the mold for what new secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard tends to look for in his cornerbacks.

And, for better or for worse, Richard clearly values these measureables highly. This is evident in how second year corner Jourdan Lewis has been used thus far in mini camp and offseason activities; being relegated to second team and the slot rather than allowed to compete for an outside cornerback job with Awuzie and Jones.

So with the arrival of Kris Richard, the departure of Orlando Scandrick, the underwhelming play of Anthony Brown, and the raw talent he already possesses, Marquez White has a very strong chance of making the final 53-man roster in Dallas.



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Star Blog

Can Jaylon Smith Challenge Vander Esch For Starting MIKE Role?

Kevin Brady

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In Season For Youth, Cowboys Must Make Tough Decision On Jaylon Smith

When the Dallas Cowboys selected Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with their first round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the whole world basically assumed he would be the starting MIKE linebacker week one of the upcoming season.

After all, the Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens to free agency and none of the injury replacements had much success during the 2017 season.

Now just a couple of months shy of that week one match up with the Carolina Panthers, a battle for that middle linebacker spot appears to be occurring.

Former 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith has seemed to find his health, and his movement skills and agility look like they did back when he was at Notre Dame. Whether or not these offseason hype videos will actually mean anything on the field remains to be seen, but just the fact that Smith is working out and playing without the knee brace is obviously a good sign.

Unlike Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith did play for the Dallas Cowboys a year ago. Sure Smith had his share of growing pains, but he seemed to find his groove late in the season. It probably isn't a coincidence, though, that Smith's best games came when coming off the bench in a limited role and when playing beside veteran Sean Lee.How Will LB Jaylon Smith Best be Utilized in 2018?

During the offseason activity thus far Jaylon Smith has gotten the majority of snaps at middle linebacker, but Vander Esch has also been sidelined with an injured ankle. Leighton Vander Esch clearly fits the mold of a MIKE both physically and athletically, but at his best Jaylon Smith does as well.

Despite the resurgence of Jaylon Smith and the injury to Leighton Vander Esch, I still do expect Vander Esch to snag that MIKE role moving forward. While showing glimpses of productive play, Smith did not impress enough to earn him the unquestioned starting job last season, and may best fit as a SAM backer and situational pass rusher/blitzer in the current scheme.

Allowing Jaylon Smith to conserve his energy and provide a boost off the bench is the best way for the Cowboys to structure their defense. Of course, this is only true as long as Vander Esch becomes the player they expect him to be, though.

If Jaylon Smith does return to the player he was at Notre Dame prior to his horrific injury, the Cowboys will possess three incredibly rangy, athletic, and talented linebackers on their roster.

Of course, that if is a very big if at this point, however.



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