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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 a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin

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Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?


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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" 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

Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys' 2018 Offseason

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Cowboys Nation rejoiced. By some, including myself, the product out of North Carolina was considered a steal by America's Team. Taking a guy who could contribute from day one for special teams and for the offense was something to be happy about.

At the time, WR didn't look like much of a need. Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley were staying in Dallas and Terrance Williams had just been re-signed (little did we know he'd fail to score a single touchdown in 2017) pushing the receiver position down the team needs list.

But the front office had landed a very productive slot receiver from North Carolina. On top of that, they found a guy to replace Lucky Whitehead as a return specialist. However, offseason hype took over a large amount of Cowboys' fans, writers and analysts and the expectations for Switzer were very big.

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Naturally, he was compared to Cole Beasley since people started talking about him as an NFL prospect. His height, skills and playing style were similar and with the Cowboy veteran coming off from a big year in 2016, people were excited for what Switzer could do as a professional football player.

But it wasn't just about the rookie returning punts and kickoffs, it was about him contributing to an offense that already had a great slot receiver. Cowboys Nation was excited to see Switzer and Beasley on the field at the same time.

That never happened.

Switzer barely saw playing time in 2017 and when he was on the field as a WR, he was limited to running or faking jet sweeps. The coaching staff misused him and we didn't get to see him get a lot of snaps until the final week of the season, when #11 was injured.

And it was that same week when we saw what he was capable of. Switz showed how talented he is and how he can beat NFL defensive backs when he was asked to do so.

Cowboys Offense: More Hot Sauce Needed From Cole Beasley 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY)

With a busy offseason and a tight salary cap, the Dallas Cowboys' front office will be considering a lot of possibilities. One of them will be the future of Cole Beasley. Releasing him would free up more than $3M in cap space.

I know a large amount of Cowboys' fans prefer to see Dez Bryant gone over him, but we can't deny that there's already a clear replacement for Beasley in Switzer.

The Cowboys wanted Switzer to be a returner and a receiver for them, but if they're going to use him just as a gadget player on offense... was the fourth-round pick worth it? If you're not going to use one of them, why have two players who are very similar on your roster?

Cowboys Nation loves Cole Beasley, as they should. I for one wouldn't want to see #11 on another team. Even still, it's only fair to admit that it would make sense for Dallas if they were to say goodbye to one of their most beloved players.

Tell me what you think about "Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason" 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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